Baldwin ran into a few dead-ends early in the baseball season, but the Bruins are hoping they have started to turn the corner with wins in three of their last four games.
They say things happen in threes, but senior Matt Lyle took things a bit further, ripping off four hits, scoring four runs and driving in four more to lead Baldwin (4-8 overall, 3-6 in Conference AA-II) over Port Washington, 10-4, in the finale of their three-game series on April 24.
He clubbed a three-run homer and added a pair of infield singles in support of junior Nikko Arellano, who went the distance and struck out six, allowing just six hits. Junior Bayyan Ngala-El had three hits in four at-bats and drove in three runs. “[Lyle] has got some great speed,” coach Frank Esposito said of Lyle, his leadoff hitter. “He had a couple of infield hits and just outran [the throw]. “
A well-balanced team effort also carried the Bruins past the Vikings in the second game on April 22, as Lyle turned in his big bat for a big arm, pitching a complete game and scattering six hits with five strikeouts in a 5-1 win. Ngala-El had another three RBIs and banged out two hits in three at-bats to key the offense, while the defense behind Lyle was perfect. “The key was not giving them four or five outs in an inning,” Esposito said, noting that most of the team’s earlier losses stemmed from one bad inning.
In the series-opener, a 2-0 loss on April 21, Port Washington scored both of its runs in the second inning, one that included a hit batsman and a walk. “They did all their damage in [the second],” he said. “We could do anything. We had kids in scoring position with two outs and couldn’t get them in.”
Scoring wasn’t an issue against previously unbeaten MacArthur when Baldwin closed out the three-game series with an 8-2 victory. The Generals won their first eight games overall and first two meetings against the Bruins by the combined score of 13-4, but things started to click on both ends of the field for Baldwin in the third game. Senior No. 5 hitter Jesse Reynolds put an exclamation mark on the streak-breaker with a sixth-inning grand slam to cap a day at the plate that included a double and six total runs batted in. “[Matt] Lyle and [Jeffery] Dominguez were getting on base in front of him and he kept driving them in,” Esposito said.
On the mound, Arellano turned in a gem, scattering seven hits with just a walk and striking out five in a complete game. “We were hitting the ball, and the [guys] were relaxed,” Esposito said. “Nikko had a nice fastball and good location and his change-up was very good. He was setting it up very well. Our pitchers have been throwing strikes and that’s what we ask of them.”