Hitmen Fall Hard as Trojans Crowned Knights
May 15th, 2002
"Four, four, four." The crowd was left spellbound as George Washington third baseman fired a bullet into the glove of catcher, Angel Salome. "Two, two, two." In little less than a blink of an eye, Salome lasers the ball 130 feet away, into the second baseman's glove. The Hitmen, mouths agape, stare at their opponents in disbelief and admiration. This was only during warm-ups, as the Hitmen's adversaries demonstrated their athletic prowess with acrobatic plays and flawless fielding on George Washington's newly renovated home field.|
"We can't go in intimidated; can't come in scared. We'll treat it like any other game" said starting catcher Lance Frankeal before the game on May 8.
Unfortunately for the Hitmen, their matchup against the Trojans proved to be unlike any other game this season. With the division's top spot on the line, the biggest game of the year evolved into a one-sided affair. George Washington (11-1), a school that has produced potent sluggers in the past such as Boston Red Sox's Manny Ramirez, demonstrated why they've dominated the league for the past two decades, easily routing the Hitmen (8-2-1) with a score of 11-1.
Opposing pitcher Elvis Jimenez (2-0) completely overpowered Stuyvesant with an untouchable 88-mph fireball, one-hitting the Hitmen while striking out seven through five innings. After scratching one run on one hit in the first inning, the Hitmen were held hitless the rest of the way. As the Hitmen dug themselves deeper into a hole, the bench was silenced, as the last ten hitters were retired without putting up a fight.
With their dominant ace on the mound, the Hitmen had the opportunity to overcome their paltry offense with brilliant pitching. However, pitcher Sam Faeder (2-1) was uncharacteristically inefficient as he waspounded for 12 hits, including four triples and 11 runs earned in just four innings of work.
Faeder, taunted throughout the game, started well with two strikes on the leadoff hitter before everything went downhill. Nunez (3-for-3, four runs, two RBIs) smoked a single up the middle. The next batter lined a shot into right field to put men on second a third. A batter later, Salome, the league leader in almost every offensive category including a .634 avg and 1.500 slugging percentage, supplied the biggest blow of the game, pulling Faeder's fullcount offering for a mammoth 2-run triple that bounced all the way to the 396 foot sign. By the time the dust settled, the Trojans had rolled out a 4-1 lead. The Trojans scored one in the second and another four in the fourth. The game came to a merciful close after Nunez, who led off the game with a hit ended it with a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
"I'll tip my cap to them [George Washington]. They were the better team today," said Coach Matt Hahn after the game.
Nevertheless, the Hitmen are mature enough to know that this setback should not hold them back. Falling two games behind first-place George Washington, the Hitmen will have a chance to avenge their loss. And to keep the runner-up spot in their division, they will have to bounce back. But Coach Hahn has unwavering confidence in his ballclub: "Good teams come back. We are a good team. We'll come back."