James Monroe didn’t turn in its best performance in the season’s biggest and final game. The lack of execution didn’t stop the Eagles from putting forth a gutty outing that ultimately came up short in an extra-inning affair.
Top-seeded Monroe fell 7-3 to No. 9 Grand Street Campus in the PSAL Class A baseball quarterfinals at John Adams on May 27. The Wolves scored five times in the ninth inning to grab a 7–2 lead and never looked back.
The Eagles pitching was erratic all afternoon. Turo had to use seven different pitcher, including ace and starter Dariel Checo. A patient Grand Street order collected six hits, drew 13 walks and saw four batters hit by pitches. It was an aberration of what the Monroe staff did all season.
“You can’t do it,” Eagles coach Mike Turo said of all the free passes.
Still the pitching was able to give the Eagles bats a chance to win the game. Reliever Kany Santos induced 6-4-3 double plays to end the fifth and six innings and Inoel Nunez did the same in the seventh. It gave Monroe a chance to tie the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the thanks to three Grand Street errors.
The Eagles order were quieted most of the game by Grand Street starter Emanuel Castellano, who allowed just two hits and one earned run over six innings of work and reliever Alex Cuas, who surrendered a run on two hits in three frames. Turo lamented the fact this his team left 10 men on base and his two through five hitters went a combined 0-for-15 with a walk, a run scored and nine strike outs.
“They hit all year,” Turo said. “3-4-5 banged all year. I was good all year for minimum four hits between the three of them all game.”
Monroe (18-1) grabbed a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Johann Paniagua drove in Jason Pineda in the second. It missed a chance to expand the advantage in the third when Castellano wiggled out of a second and third and no out jam. Grand Street (17-3) plated two runs in the fifth off Cuas to grab a 2-1 lead.
“I’m looking for two or three runs out of that inning,” Turo said.
It was all part of day where things didn’t go as expected for Monroe.