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May, 2022

The Bears Rally late in the 8U Silver Bracket

The Bears Rally late in the 8U Silver Bracket

The 8U Golden Bears team was in action for the first game of the Silver Bracket for the travel season. The team entered as the 2 seed, with a 2-4 record, taking on a Wyckoff team that they were able to hold on to a 10-7 victory against.

One of the heroes from that game, Michael Rotondo was the starter for the Bears. In the previous game, Michael had 1 RBI and the save for the game, when Wyckoff had all the momentum. Things started rough for Michael as he hit the first batter with the 3rd pitch of the game. That batter stole second, but Michael fielded his position with the second batter and got the ball to Liam Joubert at first for the first out of the inning. That out allowed the leadoff man get to 3rd. The next batter kept Joubert locked in, as Liam fielded a ground ball and stepped on first for the second out. A run did score, making it 1-0 Wyckoff. Rotondo walked the next batter and then a hard ground ball between the second baseman and the bag, ran on the turf field and resulted in a 2 run home run. 2 singles laters and a stolen base had runners at the corners for Rotondo’s first strike out of the game, bringing the home team up with a 3-0 deficit.

The Bears were without two of their better players thanks to injury and a scheduling conflict, but they are a talented scrappy team and hoped to fight their way to a victory. Carmelo Aguirre started things off offensively for the Bears, and work a walk to find his way to first base. Aguirre stole second and 3rd before Dimitrios Vlachos was hit by a pitch. Meech stole second as the starting pitcher for the Bears worked a walk to load the bases. Liam Joubert, the clean up hitter, grounded the ball hard to 2nd, who got the ball to 2nd for a fielder’s choice, but Aguirre and Vlachos both scored thanks to some strong base running. Joubert was on second thanks to the throw home that was fired in a hope to catch Meech. Joubert Stole 3rd as Patrick Beldowicz walked. The inning ended with Joubert and Beldowicz stranded on base, with the Bears having cut the lead to 3-2.

Rotondo last the strike zone some in the 2nd, walking the lead off batter. It took 1 pitch for the second batter of the inning to line a single past the out stretched Joubert at first. That put runners at the corners, and a walk loaded the bases. Rotondo got his second strike out of the day for out number 1. A run crossed the plate when the next batter was hit. By a pitch to make the score 4-2. The next batter grounded a dribbler to Rotondo, who came off the mound and raced to touch home plate for the 1U fielder’s choice. With 2 outs, the Bears could not get out of the inning, 2 singles, a hit by pitch and another single ended the inning with a score 9-2.

The Bears managed but a whimper in the 2nd as Enzo Mena worked a lead off walk, but the next three batters all struck out. Thanks to some great catcher play, Mena was able to only get to 2nd on steals.

Anthony Cafaro came on in relief of Michael Rotondo, and Cafaro performed admirably. It started with a leadoff strike out. The next batter walked and was standing on second after Cafaro’s second strike out of the game. With a 3-1 count, Cafaro hit the next batter. A single later, the score was 10-2. Cafaro walked a batter before his 3rd strike out of the game and inning brought the Bears to the plate.

The 3rd inning did nothing to help the cause as it resembled the 2nd inning for the Bears. Meech walked but the next three batters sat down on strikes looking.

Liam Joubert was the 3rd pitcher to come to the mound for the Bears, and we has the light in the fog for the Bears. Joubert started by inducing a ground out to himself. The lead off hitter for the fourth dribbled the ball to Joubert who got off the mound and when it was clear he could not beat the hitter to first, flipped the ball to Anthony Cafaro for out number 1. It took 3 pitches for out number two by way of a strike out swinging for Joubert. Joubert lost the third batter, and despite that batter stealing to 3rd, he struck out the last batter of the inning, freezing the score where it was.

The Bears loaded the bases in the 4th with walks from James Gibbons, Tommy McDonough and Enzo Mena. The next batter struck out, but Anthony Cafaro walked in a run for an RBI. Unfortunately, the bases were left loaded with only the one run having crossed the plate, the score now being 10-3.

Joubert was back at it in the 5th. Here is the situation for those keeping track at home. The inning started at 11:34 with the start of the game at 10 AM. Games are not permitted to start a new inning after an hour and forty five minutes of game time. That would make the 5th inning the final inning of the game, which would remove the 6 run inning limit. That said, with a 10-3 score, Wyckoff was 3 runs away from ending the game on the mercy rule. With all that in mind, Joubert hit the first batter. That young man reached 3rd base as Joubert struck out the second batter for out number one. The third batter of the inning worked a full count walk and stole second. Joubert locked in after that and struck out the next two batters. Joubert finished the game with 2 innings pitched, having given up no hits, hitting 1 batter, walking 2 but striking out 5. Most importantly, he did not allow a run to score in Wyckoff’s uncapped inning.

The Bears came to the plate on the wrong end of a 10-3 score. Michael Rotondo started things off for the Bears and fell behind 0-2 quickly. Rotondo fought back to work the count full before he was hit by the pitch to reach first base. Rotondo stole second and third as Joubert worked a full count walk. Another stolen base by Joubert had runners at 2nd and third. With a base open, Wyckoff walked Patrick Beldowicz to load the bases. James Gibbons singled up the middle to score 2 and Beldowicz was on 3rd, and Gibbons on 2nd thanks to the throw. The lead having been cut to 10-5. Tommy McDonough walked to load the bases back up. Enzo Mena walked a run in, as did Carter Guzman. Wyckoff changed pitcher as that point, with their lead cut to 10-7, Guzman representing the tying run. The final hitter of the line up, Anthony Cafaro picked a great time for his first hit of the season, as he singled on a pop fly that found space between the 2nd baseman and the right fielder. Only one run was scored on the hit, so the bases remain loaded. Melo Aguirre walked in another run to put the score 10-9 with 1 out. Michael Rotondo found himself in the batters box with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Rotondo was patient and worked a walk to score Carter Guzman and even up the score at 10. Liam Joubert was up next. This is what all young players dream of. Bases loaded, 2 outs, tie game, victory on the line. Joubert swung hard at the first pitch he saw to fall behind 0-1. 3 straight balls had Joubert in the drivers seat before a called 2nd strike loaded them up. With the count full, Joubert JUST missed the payoff pitch fouling the ball straight back. That left the count full, as the pitcher for Wyckoff missed low to put Joubert on. Anthony Cafaro crossed the plate for a walk off walk. The 8U Bears rallied from 7 down and scored 8 runs to seal the victory. They will take on Maywood next weekend for the silver bracket championship and a chance to move to 4-4 on the year.

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