The word “consistent” is defined as follows “acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate, unchanging in nature, standard, or effect over time”. ALRC entered this game looking to begin the season 2-0, after a dominant Opening Day win over HeritageTwo. As for HeritageOne, they were looking to bounce back, after losing their first game of the season by a wide-margin against Pompton Plains. Coach Scott Botbyl, who played in the 160th consecutive game for ALRC, told his team before the game, “no one should approach this game thinking it is just the second game of the year, this is one of those games that has playoff positioning written all over it, because I’ve seen it countless times thru the years, I fully expect that when the playoff seeds are finalized in July, this is one of those games we will look back on and think either winning this game earned us a first round bye or losing this game cost us significantly in the standings”. ALRC was going to be without 3 of their top players (Scott D’Alessandro, Brett Fritzsch, and Dave DeWaalMalefyt). Coach Botbyl often says that “it is an opportunity for other guys to show that they can perform well against a quality opponent”.
In the top of the first inning, HeritageOne scored a pair of runs to take a quick 2-0 lead. ALRC answered right back in the bottom of the first inning. Dan Bosgra and Nick Schroeder hit back-to-back singles. Jason Young’s RBI sac fly scored Dan Bosgra. Brian Churco’s RBI double scored Schroeder. It was 2-2 after one inning.
HeritageOne scored three more runs in the top of the 2nd inning to take a 5-2 lead. ALRC was unable to score in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Joe Bosgra and Chris Cohen each hit singles, but they were left on the bases.
In the top of the 3rd inning, HeritageOne added four more runs, increasing their lead to 9-2. After back-to-back outs to start the inning, ALRC scored two runs, generating all the offense with two outs. Nick Schroder hit a double, while Jason Young hit a single. Both players scored on a 2-RBI triple by Brian Churco. It was HeritageOne leading 9-4 after three innings.
In the top of the 4th inning, the ALRC defense was finally able to hold HeritageOne scoreless for the first time in the game. Trailing 9-4, it was a great opportunity for ALRC to get back into the game. They loaded the bases with only one out, thanks to singles by Yrvy Gonzalez, Mike Cohen, and Chris Cohen. However, the Green&White were unable to score as well, so it remained 9-4 after four innings.
HeritageOne was presented with a great opportunity to put the game away in the top of the 5th inning, however, they were only able to manufacture one run, which increased their lead to 10-4. ALRC then had their best inning of the game in the bottom of the 5th inning. With one out, Nick Schroeder hit a solo HR. Jason Young hit a double. With two outs, Scott Botbyl hit a 2-run HR. Yrvy Gonzalez and Joe Bosgra each hit singles. Mike Cohen’s RBI single scored Gonzalez. Chris Cohen hit a single to load the bases, but the inning ended with ALRC scoring four runs. It seemed like they were back in the game, trailing 10-8 after five innings.
After failing to put the game away in the previous two innings, HeritageOne wasn’t going to let that happen for a 3rd inning. HeritageOne scored NINE RUNS in the top of the 6th inning, delivering the knockout punch. Botbyl says, “they are a great group of guys, they play hard, most importantly they play the right way, it was a complete team effort for them, it’s hard to focus on one player when everyone is contributing, but I give their leadoff hitter a lot of credit, he was 5 for 5, we couldn’t get him out, and I think that really set the tone for them to be successful throughout the game”. A stunned ALRC was held scoreless in the bottom of the 6th inning, as only Jason Young got a hit (single). HeritageOne had a commanding 19-8 lead after six innings.
In the top of the 7th inning, HeritageOne had two hits, but they were unable to score. It was just book keeping in the bottom of the 7th inning. Scott Botbyl hit a leadoff solo HR. Yrvy Gonzalez hit a single. Joe Bosgra followed with a double. Mike Cohen was able to bring home Gonzalez on an RBI groundout. Chris Cohen hit another single before the inning ended. HeritageOne gets the victory by a final score of 19-10.
The game was very reminiscent of the 2014 game, which was mentioned in the preview. Cut and pasted: “HeritageOne got the win against the Green & White in 2014 by a score of 17-9, as the best player in a losing effort for ALRC was Scott Botbyl (3 for 4, single, 2 HR’s, 2 Runs, and 4 RBI’s)”. Therefore, the really odd statistic is that HeritageOne is now 2-0 against ALRC in games when Botbyl hits two HR’s. Botbyl admits “I take pride in my game, both hitting and pitching, their catcher shows a lot of respect when I come to bat, he does a great job of positioning the defense and signaling to his teammates where they should play, but for me he just says Botbyl can put it anywhere, so in games like this when the outcome isn’t in doubt, I think I just get frustrated that we are losing, so I swing as hard as I can, I’d rather go 0 for 4 and win, then hit good and lose”.
ALRC is now 4-2 all-time versus HeritageOne. The two teams have never met in the playoffs.
Coach Botbyl didn’t hold back after the game when speaking to his team either, as prior to the huddle, one ALRC player said, “that was bad softball right there”. Bad softball indeed for the Green&White. There was poor baserunning, not once, but twice. There were probably at least 10 errors. And maybe the most runners left on base in team history. Botbyl called it “yet again, our storyline for 13 years, we just have to figure out a way to be more consistent, there’s no excuses”. Botbyl wasn’t just referring to this season, following up their big Opening Day game win with a bad game, but also all of their playoff runs in team history. The Green&White has shown countless times in the post-season that they are the complete opposite of “consistent”.
Last year, huge 2nd round playoff win over Faith Hill, then terrible against Midland Park, big win over Pompton Plains, then can’t follow it up again versus UnityOne.
Back in 2012, after an exciting final four win over Midland Park, we score just one run against the Sixers.
And of course, in both 2005 and 2006, the Green&White put forth fantastic performances in the 2nd round, only to not follow it up in the Final Four, in either year, sending them home early.
Botbyl said, “it’s no secret, if we can’t be consistent, we will never win a championship”.
The best hitter for ALRC in the loss was Mike Cohen’s son Christopher. In only his 2nd ever game, Chris was 4 for 4 with 4 singles.