It was ALRC and St Paul’s to begin the start of Memorial Day weekend. St Paul’s was seeking their first win of the season, while ALRC was looking for some consistency as they were hopeful to pull-off back-to-back wins for the first time this season. The preview talked about how the Green&White seem to have different player attendance scenarios each game, which often causes several players to have to move around, and play a position that they don’t normally play. During his entire 13-years with the team, Coach Botbyl has always tried to spin these moments into a positive, often telling his team “it’s an opportunity for others to step-up, help the team, and lead us to victory, and it makes me happy when guys take advantage, seize the moment, and get rewarded”. Botbyl has battled thru many different injuries during his career, but missing a game had never entered his mind, until this game, which potentially put his own personal attendance streak in jeopardy. Botbyl did take his usual place, on the mound, making it 162 straight games (regular season and playoffs). However, Botbyl says that “physically, I didn’t care if I had a broken jaw or several fractures in my ankle, I always knew I wanted to play thru it, yet entering this game, I knew my son Brett had a Remax Junior Boys game, I knew my son Brandon had a PBA game, and those kids all mean a lot to me, I wanted to be there for them, I wanted to be there for my ALRC players too, so I talked to a couple different people to seek their input, and ultimately, I decided about 48 hours beforehand, that I would take the field with ALRC”. Luckily for Botbyl, that decision would have been made for him anyway, since both Hawthorne Little League Games were postponed earlier that day, due to the Wagaraw Ballfields being ruled unplayable for the children. The Goffle Brook Park infield was muddy, but the outfield was dry, so this game was played. Most importantly, no one got hurt, and that’s always what is on players mind when they see questionable field conditions.
ALRC scored one run in the top of first inning. Nick Schroeder hit a double and then scored on an RBI single by Scott D’Alessandro. St Paul’s was unable to score in the bottom of the first inning, registering just one hit. ALRC was leading 1-0 after one inning.
In the top of the 2nd inning, ALRC got two men on base thanks to two singles by their two new players this season (Yrvy Gonzalez and Chris Cohen). With two outs, the designated hitter Wayne Eicher, came to the plate. Even though it was early in the game, Eicher delivered a clutch 2-run double to give ALRC a 3-0 lead. St Paul’s was able to score one run in the bottom of the 2nd inning, which made it 3-1 ALRC after two innings.
ALRC had a big inning in the top of the 3rd inning. Dan Bosgra hit a lead-off single, and then scored on an RBI double by Scott D’Alessandro. Brian Churco’s RBI single scored D’Alessandro. Scott Botbyl hit a single. Yrvy Gonzalez hit an RBI double scoring Churco. Chris Cohen capped off the inning with a 2-RBI single, scoring both Botbyl and Gonzalez. ALRC was now leading 8-1. However, St Paul’s answered right back with a 5-run inning of their own. It was St Paul’s best inning of the game. It all started with a lead-off double by their catcher Bob. Coach Botbyl said, “it was like their entire team fed off his energy that whole inning”. It was 8-6 ALRC after three innings.
In the top of the 4th inning, ALRC would add another run. Wayne Eicher started things off, hitting another double! Eicher advanced to 3rd base on a single by Pastor Chris Jacobsen. Eicher eventually scored on an RBI sac fly by Nick Schroeder, which made it 9-6 ALRC. In the bottom of the 4th inning, St Paul’s Catcher Bob again got another hit, this time a single. This time though, the ALRC defense didn’t allow momentum to change, as the Green&White were able to hold St Paul’s scoreless that inning to keep the score 9-6 ALRC after four innings.
ALRC tacked on a few more runs in the top of the 5th inning. Brian Churco hit a single and then Scott Botbyl followed with a double. Both Churco and Botbyl scored on a 2-RBI triple by Yvry Gonzalez. Chris Cohen hit an RBI single scoring Gonzalez. Mike Cohen and Wayne Eicher each hit singles before the inning ended. The 3-run inning increased the ALRC lead to 12-6. The ALRC defense was then able to send down St Paul’s in order 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 5th inning. It’s the 2nd time this season that the Green&White were able to do that, and both times it was the 5th inning too, and for back-to-back games now. Coach Botbyl says that “all the outs this inning were in the outfield, two of them by ShortFielder Nick Schroeder, and he had a huge game at that position, and this was the first time too that we got a glimpse as to what our outfield could look like in the post-season”. ALRC will likely try and find the right chemistry in 2017, especially considering this is the first time ever for the Green&White that they will not have 12-year veteran Matt Ferri in the outfield during the playoffs.
In the top of the 6th inning, the ALRC offense again produced a big inning. Nick Schroeder hit a lead-off double and then scored on an RBI double by Scott D’Alessandro. Brett Fritzsch hit a single. Brian Churco then blasted a 3-run HR. Chris Cohen and Mike Cohen each hit two-out singles. Wayne Eicher’s RBI single scoring Chris Cohen capped off the 5-run inning, which increased the ALRC lead to 17-6. St Paul’s didn’t quit though, scoring 3 more runs in the bottom of the 6th inning. Yet again, the St Paul’s offense this inning was led by their Catcher Bob, as he had another single and another run scored in the inning. St Paul’s Catcher Bob was the only player to post a PERFECT 1.000 Average in this game for St Paul’s, going 3 for 3 with 2 singles, a double, and 2 Runs scored. Coach Scott Botbyl said, “he had a great game, we couldn’t stop him, he was also solid for them behind the plate all seven innings, so sometimes you just tip your cap to the other team’s best player, he deserved the game ball, clearly their best player in this game”.
ALRC scored 3 more times in the top of the 7th inning. Dan Bosgra hit a lead-off double and then scored on an RBI double by Nick Schroeder. Brett Fritzsch ripped a 2-run HR to cap off the inning. ALRC now had a commanding 20-9 lead. St Paul’s managed one hit in the bottom of the 7th inning, but they were held scoreless for the 4th time in the game. ALRC gets the win by a score of 20-9 as they record back-to-back wins and improve to 3-1 for the season.
Coach Scott Botbyl considers this game “our most complete game thus far this season”. ALRC hit well the entire game, showing consistency as they were able to score at least one run each inning. Botbyl also felt that, “we needed players to step-up today and two guys in particular were PERFECT, as I couldn’t have asked them to do anymore than what they did”. Chris Cohen not only filled in at catcher for the first time, but he played catcher for all 7 innings, a position that often gets overlooked, and he was rewarded too, going 4 for 4 (4 singles, 2 Runs, 3 RBI’s). Wayne Eicher remains red hot at the Designated Hitter position, going 4 for 4 (2 singles, 2 doubles, Run, 3 RBI’s).
It’s been a decade, but these two teams have never met in the playoffs. The Green & White are 9-1 all-time versus Saint Paul’s during the regular season. ALRC won the first 6 games, then Saint Paul’s got the victory in 2014, and now ALRC has won the past three contests. Botbyl jokes that “just saying that is probably a jinx, so now we are almost guaranteed to meet in the post-season later this year, and that’s just a great situation, because these guys are great to play with and fun to play against, obviously I would want to win badly and advance, but if we lost to them in the playoffs, I would be extremely happy for a lot of those guys, especially Eric, Greg, Patrick, etc, those guys certainly have played a long time and deserve a deep playoff run one of these years, just like we had last season, and I’ll never forget that these guys were sending me congrats texts and good luck texts, so knowing that they were pulling for us all along the way, I would definitely do the same and return the favor toward them”.