Rogers sparks Stanners over Holy Cross
Mike Rogers was determined to play in Archbishop Molloy’s decisive third game of its CHSAA Class AA third round qualifying series against Holy Cross Tuesday.
Nothing, not even 45 stitches on the side of his face, was going to stop the junior catcher.
So as soon as Rogers received clearance from a doctor, he texted teammate Tyler Roberts with remarkable news.
“Bring my bat, I’m cleared to play.”
Rogers joined his teammates at Coffey Field on the campus of Fordham University and helped guide the Stanners to a 9-5 victory.
Molloy wins the series, 2-1, and advances to the Class AA championship tournament where it will face second-seeded St. Raymond at Fordham Wednesday at 4 p.m.
“I’m happy for this team,” legendary Molloy coach Jack Curran said. “They deserve it. They work pretty hard and I think they’re pretty good.”
Rogers had two hits and two runs scored as the designated hitter, but more than anything his presence provided a spark.
“You can just tell by his appearance, his attitude, his personality,” pitcher Jonathan Ramon said. “He’s such a nice kid, but at the same time you can tell he’s got that certain amount of toughness in him.”
Rogers needed the stitches to close a gash he received on the final play of Game 2 Monday afternoon when he was accidently cleated in the face on Stephen Wolfring’s winning slide home.
Holy Cross celebrated a dramatic 3-2 win and Rogers was off to Long Island Jewish Medical Center to meet a plastic surgeon.
“I went to my ear and saw blood,” Rogers said. “I initially thought maybe I’m bleeding from my eardrum. Luckily I wasn’t. Thank God.”
It could have been much worse, according to legendary Molloy coach Jack Curran.
“He’s a lucky boy, another inch and it might have cut his carotid artery and he’d be in trouble,” Curran said.
Instead, Rogers said, doctors told him he might not even have a scar as a souvenir.
He provided punch in the middle of the Stanners lineup Tuesday, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Rogers’ two singles came in the only innings Molloy scored – a seven-run third and a two-run sixth.
Ramon was huge, both at the plate and on the mound. The Evansville-bound senior had a double, a triple and two runs scored, while striking out 10 and allowing just two earned runs on seven hits.
“My approach always, either on the mound or at the plate, I always try and set the tone,” Ramon said.
Chris Piteo had a two-run double, Mike O’Dwyer had two hits and two RBIs, Mike Fuchs had three RBIs and Thomas Hackimer had a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the third, as Molloy (13-7) led 7-0 after three innings.
Holy Cross (11-10) wouldn’t go down without a fight, scoring four times in the fifth highlighted by Zach Cruz’s two-run triple to right. However, the Stanners came right back, tacking on a pair of huge insurance runs in the sixth after Rogers led off with a single.
As humble as he is tough, Rogers deflected his impact back to his teammates.
“I don’t think they needed to [be inspired by me],” Rogers said. “The atmosphere in this dugout the last couple of games was phenomenal. We really want to win this…We have a great bunch of guys here.”
All Hallows 1, St. Francis Prep 0 (postponed)
The decisive third game of the third round qualifying series between All Hallows and St. Francis Prep was postponed because of rain and lightning Tuesday night. The game will resume at Archbishop Molloy Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. with the Gaels leading 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the fourth.
Lance Montano’s bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the first put All Hallows in front. The winner faces top-seeded Xaverian in the Class AA championship tournament 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. John’s.
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