Monroe rallies past Grand Street into tourament semifinals

There was certainly some nerves on the James Monroe bench down three runs, entering the bottom sixth inning, but never panic.

Instead it was the Grand Street baseball team that folded under he pressure of trying to close the Eagles out on the their home field in the quarterfinals of the Monroe Tournament. The Eagles capitalized on three Wolves errors and scored four times in the frame for a thrilling 6-5 comeback victory on April 28. The advanced to play Beacon in the semifinals 9 a.m. today back on Monroe.

“I was telling the guys don’t worry about it we are always down in the fifth inning and we come back,” senior Henry Heredia said. “We have come back a couple of times.”

The Eagles needed just one hit – Heredia’s single to start the frame to turn their fortunes in the sixth. Heredia knew something small could get something big started.

“I wasn’t looking for the fence, just contact,” Heredia

The prospects of advancing to the final four looked bleak early with starter Andrew Pena struggling with his control. Grand Street scored two runs in the first inning thanks to fourth walks and a pass ball. In the second, an Angel De La Cruz RBI-single and an error plated two more runs to make it 4-0.

Monroe did scrape a run across in the second on a Heredia RBI double against Grand Street starter Jose Perez, who was superb until he put the first two men on in the sixth. The Eagles made it 5-2 on a run-scoring single by Jason Pineda, but Perez was able to get the next two outs to leave the bases loaded.

The Eagles wouldn’t have been able to come back with out a stellar outing from reliever Danny Betance. The junior, who tossed four innings, began to trust his fastball and curve after allowed just a run in the fourth that made it 5-2.

“Aft that first inning I was like, ‘Man I have to wake up,’” Bentances said. “They were already winning so I had to wake up.”

The victory may give the Eagles the momentum it needs to win the tournament crown. It’s the only goal on their minds right now.

“It’s means a lot,” Heredia said. “All of us are working hard just for this.”

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