Joseph Carpanzano talked to his Jane Addams baseball team for 20 minutes after the Jaguars’ disappointing 6-2 loss to Clinton at Crotona Park in the Bronx.
The post-game meeting, held beside the pitcher’s mound, was longer than usual. Carpanzano had plenty to go over, stressing everything from fundamentals to the quiet bench.
The message was simple: Little things are just as important as the big ones, particularly since Addams is now in Bronx A West, one of the city’s toughest divisions, after compiling a three-year record of 38-9 in Class B.
“Moving up to ‘A’ definitely gives you less room for error,” he said.
Despite Friday’s setback against Clinton, it has been a surprisingly good start for the Jaguars. They won four of their first five league games, including a split of the two-game season series with Gompers, who made the ‘A’ semifinals last year. The upcoming few weeks will determine Addams’ fate. Clinton assistant coach Felix Villalon has already seen enough from the Jaguars to know they won’t go away anytime soon.
“They’re a threat,” he said.
Addams faces perennial contender John F. Kennedy twice next week and offensively lethal Walton once. No. 2 starter Alex German, the Jaguars’ shortstop and top hitter, is nursing a sore elbow and may not be available. Ace Jimmy Bermudez took his first loss on Friday, so he will likely not be available for either of the games against Kennedy.
The rotation certainly will be tested. But Carpanzano is more concerned with his leaky defense, which allowed four unearned runs against Clinton. Of course, getting on the field more often would help. Because of inclement weather, the Jaguars have spent too much time fielding grounders in their gymnasium instead of taking infield and outfield practice.
“Guys aren’t used to their positions,” Bermudez said. “We got to play together and communicate better.”
Said Carpanzano: “If we don’t play better defense, we won’t win.”
Carpanzano would like to see more production from those other than Bermudez and German, his senior leaders and two of the best players in the city. It puts too much pressure on the pair, he said, thinking they have to be at their best for the team to succeed.
Addams’ confidence, however, remains high. They didn’t leave the field with their heads down. Several Jaguars still felt they were the better team. No matter what happens the rest of the year, there will be no pining for Class B.
“I’ve been waiting four years for this,” said Bermudez, who struck out 12 in a complete-game effort.
The biggest difference, said German, who had two hits and team-leading ninth RBI, is the quality pitching the opposition has. He was confident at the start of the year despite the increased competition. Still is, in fact.
“I felt we would have a good record,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll keep it good.”