Bronx Science was just a few feet away from a city baseball title as Ben Kravitz tagged up from third base, preparing to score what could have been the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Instead Kravitz was cut down at the plate by a perfect throw from Beach Channel centerfielder Antonio Moccia. The PSAL Class B baseball title game headed to extra innings. It took until the ninth for No. 9 Beach Channel to score twice to claim a 7-5 victory over the No. 5 Wolverines in the championship game at at Yankee Stadium June 12. Despite the tough defeat, Bronx Science took solace in reaching the final and playing in the home of the Yankees after losing in the semifinal a year ago.
“We did what we had to do,” said Wolverines ace pitcher Glen Price. “We got to Yankee Stadium. It was a great experience. It would have been better coming out on top, but just the thrill of playing was enough for us.”
The Wolverines (17-4) fought to keep their season alive after heading into the bottom of the seventh and trailing 5-3 against Beach Channel ace Kely Aponte. Singles by Kyle Shultz and Kravitz and a walk to Simon Lehrer loaded the bases with one out. Daniel Bonfiglio, who had two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored, lined a two-run double to tie things up at 5-5. The ball went off the glove of a leaping Moccia in center.
“I wasn’t really feeling the pressure that much,” Bonfiglio said. “I’ve been in big situations before. I really like pressure. I feed off of it. I was waiting for a fastball because that’s basically what he was throwing. When I saw it and I made contact, I know I hit it pretty good.”
Alex Grun also thought he got enough of the ball to bring a runner home when he flew out to shallow center, but it didn’t keep Moccia from making a game-saving throw. Two innings later a high throw to first after a strikeout allowed Aponte to reach second. Beach Channel (17-2) took the lead on a bases loaded walk and got an insurance run on a double by David Polanco to make it 7-5 against Bronx Science reliever Michael McLaughlin.
Price, who started the game, was the Wolverines’ rock on the mound all season. He dominated in the first three innings by striking out six and allowing just one hit. Price began to struggle with his control in the fifth. Five straight walks and a two-run single by Aponte off Bronx Science reliever Kyle Cassara helped Beach Channel grab a 4-0 lead. Bronx Science made it 4-2 in the bottom of the frame thanks to RBI hits from Bonfiglio and Price.
“He’s been lights out all year, even his bad outings,” Bonfiglio said of Price. “I think he had his stuff today. He just stumbled.”
Falling in the title game was just one defeat in an overall successful season for the Wolverines. They won their division for the second-straight year and reached the championship round for the first time in school history. The final milestone just wasn’t in the cards for Bronx Science.
“We had a great season,” Bronx Science Coach Michael McGrath said. “We just came up short today.”