by Andrew Garda
In baseball, you have to make the most of the chances you get, and the Montclair Kimberley Academy Cougars absolutely did that in their 6-4 NJSIAA Non-Public B first round win over Eastern Christian on Thursday, May 24.
It’s a good thing too, as they manged to score six runs despite having only three hits for the entire game.
Those hits included one massive double by John Sweetwood, in the second inning which drove in three runs and deep ball to centerfield, which allowed Chris Lewis to drive in another two runs, including himself as he rounded the bases.
Those two hits helped the Cougars overcome some initial shaky early pitching, as Lewis seemed to struggle with his location while on the mound. While he struck out four, Lewis also walked another four, gave up four hits and allowed a run. He moved onto the field one with out in the second, replaced by Aidan Okamoto-Wolf, who would go four and a third innings, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out three.
According to head coach Ralph Pacifico, some of the rough start was due to a game against Woodbridge the Cougars had played the previous day.
“We played a great team yesterday in Woodbrige, who are sound from one to nine. Great venue and they played well,” Pacifico said. “And that’s always a bad sign when you’re coming off a of a good game, and it was a clean game. Through six innings it was 1-0, we were winning. We ended up losing 4-1 but against a Group 4 school.”
After a close loss, sometimes you get a bit of a lull.
“I don’t think we really played well defensively today. Our at bats were not as good as I would have liked them,” Pacifico said. “And today we played down to the level of our competition. Not taking away anything from them, but I think we play a better schedule then they do.”
Pacifico praised the Eagles and the way they fought though.
“Their kids gutted it out, but we found a way to win. We have to play a bit better if we’re going to play against St. Mary’s.”
Which is who they took on Tuesday afternoon in the quarterfinals.
However, while the Cougars played hard against the Gaels Tuesday they fell just short, losing 4-3 to end their season and their run in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Non Public B quarterfinals.