The Grand Street Wolves baseball team played what may have been its worst game of the season Saturday, when it needed most to be at its best.
Needing a win to stave off elimination in Game 2 of the Public School Athletic League Class A semifinals at the College of Staten Island, the defending champion Wolves — seeded No. 6 this year — lost 14–3 to Norman Thomas, the No. 7 seed. The loss sent Grand Street (18–3) home for the summer, leaving the team thinking of what could have been. On Friday, Norman Thomas (19–2) had won the first game of the best-of-three series 6–3.
“Everything [went wrong],” said Wolves pitching ace Alex Cuas. “Defense, timely hitting didn’t come. It was just a bad game.”
Miguel Rodriguez started the game for the Wolves and struggled mightily. He allowed six runs in two innings of work, although only four were earned. With the team down 6-2, that’s when Grand Street coach Melvin Martinez turned to Cuas to try and control the damage.
“I was just trying to keep the score the same and keep my team in the game, because you never know what could happen,” Cuas said.
For his first three innings he found success on the mound, allowing just one run while striking out five. He ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth, however, allowing seven runs due to poor defense from his team.
The Wolves committed two crucial errors in the inning, extending the Norman Thomas rally. In total, Grand Street committed three errors during the game, which led to six unearned runs.
“With pitching and defense you always have the opportunity to win,” Martinez said. “We did have somewhat of a defensive meltdown, and that really hurt us.”
The Wolves offense also struggled throughout the game. Grand Street did not convert on any of its three tries at the plate with runners in scoring position. All three runs by the Wolves came off wild pitches by Norman Thomas’ Garbin Villar, who pitched a complete game and allowed just four hits.
Despite the loss, Grand Street still considers the season a success. The Wolves achieved their annual goal of making it to the semifinals, and were regular season champions of the Brooklyn A East division. A second straight title, however, was not to be.
“Overall we had a good season,” Cuas said. “Our pitching was there, our hitting was there, our defense was there. [Today] was just a bad day.”
Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.