The Regis baseball team’s batting order isn’t filled with big boppers who are going to put crooked numbers up on the scoreboard.
“We don’t have a lot of guys who are going to hit 10 home runs,” coach Mike Skrapits said.
The Raiders are a small-ball kind of squad, one that manufactures runs, works the count and gets great starting pitching. That formula was on full display Sunday.
Regis managed just two hits, but utilized a sacrifice fly, a suicide squeeze and some patience at the plate to work out a 4-2 win against Cardinal Spellman in a CHSAA Class A match-up in the Bronx.
“We’ve been known for not being a big-hitting kind of team,” centerfielder and leadoff hitter James Friel said.
Of course, a team like that needs to pitch very well and Regis (3-1 CHSAA Bronx/Manhattan) got that against Spellman (2-3 CHSAA Bronx/Westchester). Junior Chris Bates, a 6-foot-4 left-hander, gave up one run on four hits and struck out 13 batters in 6 1/3 innings to pick up the victory.
“It makes it a lot easier on us,” Friel said of getting strong outings from Regis’ starters. “We can just get one run here and there.”
That’s kind of what the Raiders did Sunday. Sophomore shortstop Daniel Morris drove in Friel, who was hit with a pitch by Spellman left-handed starter Kevin Coogan, with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. In the third, Morris again drove in Friel from third with a suicide squeeze and Friel and Gerry DelGiacco drove in runs with walks in the fourth inning.
Bates wouldn’t need anything else. His lone blemish was an RBI single by Spellman’s Steve Walsh in the third inning that knotted the game at 1. Joe Schade relieved him with one out in the seventh, wiggled out of a jam and got credit for a save. With Nick Thomas, Bates and right-hander Anthony Finch – all of whom are 6-feet-4 and taller – the Raiders’ starting pitching is hard to match. And not just with size, with effectiveness, too.
“We shouldn’t need eight or nine runs,” Skrapits said. “Three or four should be alright.”
Spellman pitchers Coogan and Mark Reyes walked nine Regis batters and hit three others. Coogan allowed just two hits in 4 2/3 innings, but the 6-foot-3 starter was wild from the start.
“We always try to make pitchers work,” Skrapits said. “In general, teams in this league, their bullpens aren’t gonna be strong. We’d like to get the starters out of the game.”
Friel, who has moved up from the No. 3 spot in the order to first, was 1-for-1 with two runs scored, an RBI and reached base all four times he came to the plate for Regis. Thomas, who plays first base when he isn’t pitching, went 1-for-1 with two walks and a run scored. Centerfielder Jim Solero was 2-for-4 with an RBI for Spellman, which threatened in the seventh inning.
Rightfielder Matt Vasquez walked to lead off against Bates, who then struck out first baseman Phil Mangerino on a disputed called third strike. Mangerino was tossed by the home-player umpire for arguing. Regis brought in Schade, who gave up single to shortstop Jay Ruiz. It would have been first and third with one out for Spellman down, 4-1, but Ruiz was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Solero followed with an RBI single to score Vasquez and catcher Sal Montello reached on an error, but Schade got Walsh to fly out to end the game.
Spellman was coming off a 1-0 win against previously undefeated Xavier on Saturday, but with a sophomore-laden team there will be some ups and downs. Regis has now won three straight after losing its season opener to Fordham Prep two weeks ago. The Raiders believe that steady starting pitching and their timely, small-ball offense can take them a long way this season.