Breathe easy: Grand St. scrapes by Madison
Geraldo Gonzalez didn’t see the pass from his catcher Kevin Martir in time as it struck him in the shoulder and then the face in the third inning. Luckily for the senior Grand Street pitcher, it wasn’t as bad as he thought.
Unluckily for James Madison, the miscue only motivated the pitcher to finish the game stronger.
“The ball hit my nose and at first I thought it may have been broken,” Gonzalez said. “I saw that I wasn’t bleeding and all I had was a little bump. It was a big sign of relief. They checked to make sure I was ok and I felt like I didn’t have any problems. I actually felt like it was more motivation for me to throw harder.”
For much of the game, Gonzalez was a big reason why the Wolves would hold maintain their lead on their home field and defeat James Madison 4-3 Wednesday afternoon in the PSAL Class A match-up.
“Jerry did a fabulous job,” said Grand Street coach Melvin Martinez. “When he’s on, he’s on. He’s been doing that all year long. Whenever we need a big win, he knows how to hold on.”
“He has on the money today,” added senior catcher Kevin Martir. “He was hyped, he was pumped, and after every strikeout he kept pumping his fist in the air because he was so fired up. He had a great game.”
Gonzalez finished the day by pitching 6 1/3 innings, with nine strikeouts, and four hits.
In their second consecutive game against Brooklyn A East rival James Madison, the Wolves capitalized off a bevy of errors committed by the Knights.
“It’s important that we punish our opponent when they give us the extra out,” Martinez said. “We would not be a good team if we didn’t do that.”
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, senior outfielder Christian Duran hit an RBI single up the gut to bring Martir home for Grand Street’s first score. The Wolves would score two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and their final in the bottom of the sixth when senior shortstop Jose Cuas scored off an errant throw to home plate.
With a looming 4-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning, Grand Street was on the verge of sweeping the Knights following a 3-0 win on Monday.
James Madison (12-3) made its push after the Wolves switched pitchers in the seventh inning. The Knights earned their first run when junior catcher Raymond Draxdorf hit a RBI single to left field that drove in senior shortstop Joseph Cali.
Two plays later, with the bases loaded and only one out, senior James Madison pitcher Matthew Zalon hit an RBI double off a blast to right field that brought home sophomore Sean Moore and Draxdorf.
Despite the late run, the Wolves were able to grab two outs before James Madison could score again. Martinez was confident that even if his team had lost the lead that they could gain control of things in their next at-bat.
“I knew that if they tied the game or even went ahead, that we would definitely have another chance at bat,” Martinez said. “And we’ve come back before. We did it through the Monroe tournament and throughout the season. I have the utmost confidence that our guys will hang in there and find a way to win.”
The Wolves (15-1) will now await their seeding for the PSAL Class A playoffs and are looking to get over their hump after last season’s disappointing semifinal loss to Tottenville.
“We're really looking to go back and prove that we deserve to be in the semifinals again and hope that we get over the obstacle of not making it past that hump,” Martinez said. “But we have to focus on the way there and take things one game at a time.”