Bishop Ludden defeats Bishop Grimes 11-3
by luke eggleston
SUN staff writer
John Rooney’s two-out, grand slam home run in the bottom of the second inning keyed an 11-3 win for Bishop Ludden over Bishop Grimes Sunday, May 4, on the Gaelic Knights home field.
The long ball improved the Knights’ lead to 5-0. Ludden coach Ted Klamm noted that the fact that it came with two outs on the board deflated Grimes.
“John has just been really hitting the ball and I always tell my kids, two-out hits just kill you. And that was a two-out grand slam. So now instead of getting out of the inning up 1-0, we’re getting out 5-0 and that was a big momentum swing,” Klamm said.
Another turning point arrived in the top of the fourth inning. Ludden pitcher James Murray had been very effective through the first three innings. In the fourth, the Cobras threatened to tie the game. Grimes trailed 6-1 with one out in the side when Jim Morgan hit a line drive single and then advanced into scoring position on an infield error that also allowed Evan Pitanzo to reach first. Dave Campese’s sacrifice fly cut the Knights’ lead to 5-2 and then Murray walked two batters to load the bases. A third consecutive walk allowed Pitanzo to score, cutting Ludden’s lead to 6-3, and Klamm said he considered replacing Murray. Then Ludden’s pitcher drew a ground out to third.
A solid hit by Grimes could have potentially tied the game.
“That was big. If we could have gotten a hit there and scored a couple of runs it could have changed the momentum of the game, and you know with high school kids that tells them that they’ve got a shot to win. You don’t get that hit, then heads go down and its a tough one to bounce back from and they’re [Ludden] a good club too,” said Grimes coach Mark Kelley.
The loss to the Knights fell in the middle of a grueling stretch in which Grimes played seven games in seven days. Because of inclement weather, the Cobras needed to reschedule several games back-to-back. In order to relieve stress on their pitchers, the coaching staff pulled several players from the junior-varsity squad.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who throw and a lot of kids who can get out there and pitch so we try to add as many arms as we can. We want to play as many games as we can and get as many kids as we can out there and in Central New York you’ve got to play when the weather permits it,” Kelley said.
The Cobras were never able to duplicate the fourth-inning surge and once Matt Pirro got on the mound in relief, he pitched three shutdown innings. Pirro did not yield a hit or a walk in his three innings.
A flurry of errors and some opportunistic hitting by the Knights allowed them to expand their lead to 11-3 in the late innings.
“We just made some bad decisions defensively,” Kelley said.
The win highlighted an emotional day for the Knights, who unveiled a brand new scoreboard and also honored the parents of alum Wes Valentine, who was murdered in early February.
With the loss, Grimes fell to 4-6 overall and bounced right back to face Faith Heritage at home Monday. Ludden improved to 9-3 overall.