Berkeley Carroll prides itself on playing anybody anywhere, whether it’s Ivy Prep League dynamo Poly Prep or PSAL powerhouse James Monroe.
The tiny Park Slope private school, which has long dominated the ACIS/PSAA Alliance, plays the games for experience, though it isn’t happy losing them. With four defeats in as many non-league contests, it made the team’s May 9 visit to Van Cortlandt Park against Ivy foe Riverdale that much more important, in addition to the New York State Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association seeding ramifications.
“I gave the team a little bit of a speech before the game and said, ‘play this game like we’re supposed to win,’” senior outfielder Robb Paller said. “’It’s not good enough to just compete with them.’”
Paller’s teammates listened intently, then went out and picked up their biggest win of the year, overwhelming Riverdale, which entered action second in the Ivy’s, 13-8 in the Bronx.
“This was a huge game for us and for them because when seeding comes out, head-to-head stuff matters,” Berkeley Carroll coach Walter Paller said.
Robb Paller, the Columbia-bound outfielder and coach’s son, led the charge. He had four hits, including a three-run homer to pace Berkeley Carroll’s 14-hit barrage. Walter Paller joked Robb hasn’t made an out in almost a week.
Anthony Spina’s two-run, two-out single in the first set the tone and the Lions kept on adding on. Paller smashed a three-run shot in the second and Spina drove in another run in the fourth.
Freshman Ian Miller had arguably the biggest hit, a three-run triple up the right-center field gap. The extra-base hit extended a two-run lead to five in the sixth and opened the floodgates. The Lions added four more runs to make it 13-4 and give themselves more than enough cushion.
“Ian has so much confidence and he believes in himself and lets his talent speak for him,” Robb Paller said. “He almost never reminds us he’s a freshman.”