FREEDOM PLAINS, N.Y. — To a man, the Arlington High School baseball team feels like the early-season slump the squad suffered through is now over. And with two critical games looming against defending Section 1 Class AA champion Roy C. Ketcham next week, it’s perfect timing.
For the second straight day the Admirals dominated Our Lady of Lourdes, scoring six times in the bottom of the first inning en route to a 9-0 win over the Warriors on Thursday afternoon at the Fritz Jordan Athletic Complex.
Arlington, expected to be a section title contender this year, beat OLL on Wednesday as well by the score of 10-0, and has now won three in a row to improve to 8-5.
“We started bad. We had some ups and downs in the beginning of the year but right now we’re on the upswing and we’re going to try to keep it right there in terms of momentum,” said Arlington coach Al Hammell. “We have as good a club as anybody out there and it’s just a matter of us staying focused and going out and playing like we have the last three ballgames.”
Ironically, Arlington’s good fortune has come at the expense of the school that Hammell not only attended during his high school playing days, but the school that also plans to honor him in the fall by inducting him into the Lourdes Athletic Achievement Hall of Fame.
In this game, it was a one-out error by OLL that opened the floodgates for the Admirals in the bottom of the first as Arlington strung together five hits and a fielder’s choice to score six times. Joe Boland and Mike Scocozza had run-scoring hits in the first inning, and then had back-to-back RBI doubles in the second inning to make it 8-0.
“I was happy to see we didn’t let that error sit out there,” Hammell said. “Good teams take advantage of that and we knocked in some runs behind it.”
Said Boland: “We were ready to play. We hit the ball early and we just kept stroking it.”
That made things easier for starter Tyler Bruno. Staked to an 8-0 lead, Bruno went three innings of easy, one-hit ball, and then Hammell ran four more pitchers out there to save Bruno for Ketcham next week.
“I felt good. I just wanted to pound the strike zone,” said Bruno, son of former Cincinnati Reds organization pitcher and assistant Arlington coach Joe Bruno. “I was going to go as long as I could but once we got all those runs I think coach wanted to save me for the next couple of games. All I really had to do was throw strikes.”
“Throughout the course of the year we’ve had guys who are legitimate pitchers on this club,” Hammell said. “We try to give them as much work as we can and figure out who’s going to be our frontline guys as we move toward the end of the season and sectional play.”