Photo courtesy of Anthony Lavala
To honor their six seniors and graduating managers, the Pirates faced the Riverside Rams under the lights tonight at Memorial Park and triumphed with a final score of 4-2, making the boys’ record 11-7 for the season.
Riverside and Cinnaminson had the same record going into this game, which head coach Kevin Merrill noted while preparing for their match-up.
“It’s a battle between the Patriot Division leaders and the Freedom Division leaders so this is a good match-up. Riverside is a very good squad,” he said. “We made one more play and got one more hit, so hats off to the guys. They worked their butts off this year.”
In the first two innings, the Rams scored two unanswered runs. The Pirates got on the board with three of their own runs in the bottom of the second, allowing them to grab the lead with a score of 3-2.
All three of the Pirates’ runs scored in the second inning were due to RBI’s and were hit by seniors Brandon Staub, Mike Hess and Nick Mahoney.
The Pirates’ fourth and final run came in the bottom of the fifth inning with a home-run by senior Mike Bednarek, a highlight of the game.
“I was pretty angry going into that at-bat,” Bednarek told Cinn City Sports after his team’s victory. “I struck out the first two times. … I thought I was going in for number three but I got something to hit and got one out. … I’ve been in a slump recently so it felt good.”
Senior Mike Hess’s pitching was “outstanding”, according to Coach Merrill, during the first five innings in Hess’s first time pitching this season after coming off of an injury. Due to solid pitching and teamwork on the infield and outfield, the Pirates were able to keep Riverside from rounding the bases another time in the remaining innings.
“I wanted to focus on hitting the zone, throwing strikes and not walking people,” Hess told Cinn City Sports.
Senior Anthony Lavala took over the pitching mound in the fifth inning and also had a strong showing.
Besides not allowing any runs in the fifth or sixth inning, Lavala struck out three of Riverside’s batters in the top of the seventh inning to secure Cinnaminson’s victory. Lavala spoke to Cinn City Sports about the team’s goals going into their senior night.
“We were looking forward to having a good game, winning and having fun,” Lavala said.
For Coach Merrill, tonight’s game was a victory not just because of the score, but also as a way to honor the seniors.
“The goal was for the seniors to be responsible for the outcome of the game,” Coach Merrill said. “That includes on the mound, at the plate…All six seniors contributed to the outcome of the game and that’s all I can ask for as a coach. I’m very proud of them.”
“We have a lot of baseball this week,” he added. “This is like a play-off tuneup. This is the time of year we want to be playing.”
In another close match-up tomorrow, the Pirates will face the Delran Bears on the road in an effort to move closer to the division title.
They also have a game this Wednesday and Friday before their final week of the regular season, which ends at Pemberton High School on Thursday, May 19.
“This win brings momentum into tomorrow to help us have a better game, get another win and stay on a roll,” Lavala said.
Riverside 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 (4 hits, 3 errors)
Cinnaminson 0 3 0 0 1 0 X (6 hits, 2 errors)
WP: Mike Hess (1-0)
LP: Eddie Salkowski
Save: Anthony Lavala
2B: R: Kasey Getz; C: Mike McAndrews
HR: C: Mike Bednarek
Mike Hess 4 inn, 3 K, 2 hits, 3 BB, 1 HBP (1st pitching appearance of season due to injury sustained in preseason)
Anthony Lavala 3 inn, 3 K, 1 BB, 2 hits
Mike Bednarek 1-3, Solo HR in bottom 5th
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