Standing in foul territory outside third base in the fourth inning, Bishop Ford coach Mike Hanrahan made a somewhat bold statement.
“I feel a little Esteban Gomez bop coming,” he said, to nobody in particular.
Up to that point, no one in the Ford lineup, not even Gomez, considered one of the most dangerous power hitters in the city, had been able to touch St. Francis Prep hurler Chris Fesler. But seconds later, Hanrahan proved prophetic as the senior first baseman blasted the ball to deep center for a two-out double, awaking the Falcons offensively.
“I stepped up, I had to get the team motivated, get the team up,” Gomez said.
Bishop Ford scored three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth, rallying to beat St. Francis Prep, 6-3, in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens baseball at the Parade Grounds in Brooklyn on Thursday, May 20.
The win was critical because Bishop Ford finishes in second place in Brooklyn/Queens, advancing to the best-of-three third round of the CHSAA Class A intersectional playoff qualifications. The Falcons faltered in the opening round, a one-game elimination, in each of the last two years.
“We‘ve come a long way in these three years with Coach Hanrahan,” Falcons ace Stephen Bove said. “We’ve done a lot as a team, but we still have a ways to go to get to where we want to be.”
While Gomez gets all the attention, especially from major-league scouts, the middle of Ford’s lineup is especially lethal.
“Since the winter we’ve been working hard, batting practice almost every day,” Gomez said. “The work ethic is right there. We have a lot of powerful hitters, especially in the middle of the lineup so you can’t get by us.”
That was on full display in the middle innings Thursday. Anderson Mateo followed Gomez with an RBI single up the middle, Matt Molbury doubled in another run and Andrew Foust tripled to left as the Falcons erased a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead.
“We really rely on each other to pick each other up,” Mateo said. “When we’re on point, we have to keep the ball rolling.”
Fesler helped himself out with an RBI single to left, tying the score at 3 in the top of the fifth, but Ford responded with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Mateo drove in another run and Ford scored on a passed ball and a wild pitch.
“It was special to answer back like that,” Hanrahan said. “They’re a tough team and they’ve had our number the last two years. This was a big game, our guys stepped up and I’m really happy with our offense.”
Bove wasn’t overpowering, but the Adelphi-bound senior did enough to win, giving up one earned run on seven hits in six innings, improving to 7-3 on the season.
“I didn’t feel as good as I was hoping to and I definitely didn’t have my stuff as I would have liked, but we were able to piece things together and get outs,” Bove said.
Bishop Ford (13-4), which went 9-1 against B/Q opponents in the second half of the season, is afforded the luxury of a week’s rest and a chance to set up its pitching staff for its best-of-three series.