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LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Some days, you skin the bear. Other days, the bear eats your lunch.
Bill Kirk, Sullivan West’s varsity baseball coach, nailed it, when he summed up the Bulldogs 6-2 loss to the visiting Bears of Tri-Valley on Tuesday, April 23.
“Some days you’re the hero, sometimes you’re the goat,” he said, adding, “Hat’s off to Tri-Valley, they are a good ball club.”
Tri-Valley drew first blood in the opening frame once they scored one run. In the second inning, they sent two more runners across the plate, making it a 3-0 ballgame. In the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs got back in the battle, scoring two runs from second base and one from third after a poke fell into left field. The following three frames were scoreless, until the Bears sent a runner home in the sixth and added two more in the final inning.
Jake Yager, Tri-Valley’s sophomore ace on the mound, pitched a 2-hitter, striking out nine and yielding five bases on balls.
Austin Delaney was 2-for-3 at the plate, and posted three RBI.
Sullivan West’s starting pitcher Bryce Reimer hurled for five 2/3 frames, striking out 12 on a 3-hitter and giving up two bases on balls, until Kyle Reime closed it out.
“Bryce did well for us, but we made a couple of mistakes in the field, and they scored on it… we got behind right away,” said Kirk. “He kept us close, and when Kyle came into relieve him, he did a good job [and] got us out of a jam with the bases loaded to minimize the damage.
“Obviously the goal is to win, but I’m satisfied with the way we played,” continued Kirk, who went on to praise Tri-Valley’s winning pitcher. “Yager is a top-notch pitcher. He’s got a big future ahead of him.”
According to John Rusin, coach of the Tri-Valley varsity swatters (5-0, 1-0 OCIAA), “The kids had a good approach today. We had a little hiccup in one inning, and Sullivan West scored twice, [but] our guys didn’t hang their heads and came back,” said Rusin.
Speaking of his pitcher, Rusin noted, “He battled all day, mixed up his pitches. He’s a phenomenal pitcher, does really good things on the mound.”
Rusin said Yager seemed to get stronger as the afternoon wore on and the pitch count increased. “He settled in and did a heck of a job… He looks effortless when he throws up there, he’s very confident.”
Well, if your idea of effortless is watching a cobra coiling up, ready to unleash a deadly strike.
After racking up a pitch count of 101, Yager, a 15-year-old sophomore, summed up the game. “It felt good, it was a normal start for me, doing my job.” When asked about his goals for the season, he replied, “Keep winning ball games.”
Meanwhile, up in the bleachers, as the game unfolded under a pesky rain that created soggy sneakers on both sides of the aisle, the Sullivan West Bulldogs (4-4, 0-1 OCIAA) were cheered on by chatter: “Get your RBIs right here folks, get you’re RBIs right here!”