It’s a good thing Bishop Ford coach Mike Hanrahan wasn’t giving out game balls following the Falcons 7-5 win against St. Francis Prep in 10 innings on April 21.
He’d have none left in the ball bucket.
“It was a real team effort,” Hanrahan said. “Everyone contributed – some key plays defensively, some clutch hitting at the bottom of the order. It was a complete effort, definitely.”
Matt Caraballo was one of the heroes. The catcher, who is hitting .321 this season, delivered a game-tying single up the middle with two outs in the top of the seventh.
“I’m just trying to sit back, find my pitch and I’m just waiting to drive the ball up the middle or to the right side,” Caraballo said. “I’ve been hitting the ball well. I knew I was going to put the ball in play, but I wasn’t expecting that.”
And there was Matt Chavez, the Falcons No. 9 hitter who was pinch-hit for in the sixth inning but came back with a double to center in the 10th to put Ford in front, 6-5. He’d come around to score on a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt by Jonathan Pineiro as the Falcons tacked on an insurance run.
“I was just thinking to get on or drive him in,” Torres said of Nelson Lopez, who led off the inning with a single to left and was sacrificed over to second by Andrew King. “I wanted to make up for the pinch-hit; maybe later in the season that won’t happen to me again.”
Another hero was Brantley Torres, who allowed just one earned run in five solid innings of relief in his first appearance on the mound this year. He struck out five, walked five and gave up five hits. But when Torres needed to get an out, he did.
“It was his first outing and he did a good job,” Hanrahan said of Torres, who started the game as the designated hitter and relieved ineffective starter Helbert Estevez in the fourth. “Once he had control of his curveball and his slider, he looked really, really good. That’s a big plus moving forward.”
No. 8 hitter Andrew King also came up with a huge two-out, two-run triple to left in the Falcons three-run second inning, erasing an early 1-0 deficit. Terriers starter Taso Stathopoulos quickly got two outs in the fourth, but gave up three straight singles, including a run-scoring hit by Emmanuel Torres, as Ford led 4-2.
St. Francis Prep centerfielder Jason Perrone had a RBI-triple of his own in the third and scored on Arron Acosta’s sacrifice fly to center as St. Francis Prep tied the game at four.
Sam Gaitain delivered what appeared to be a big hit, dunking a single in front of Chavez in left to give the Terriers a 5-4 lead in the fifth.
But St. Francis Prep squandered a chance to tack on, loading the bases with one out in the sixth, but failing to score. The Terriers loaded the bases again in the ninth, but Jordan Colflesh, who bounced into a pair of double plays, grounded out to second to end another rally.
St. Francis Prep stranded 18 runners, including two more in the 10th inning.
While the Terriers lamented a missed opportunity, the Falcons celebrated a hard-fought second consecutive victory after a demoralizing 10-3 loss to St. Edmund Prep earlier in the week.
“They’re a quality team, it’s a confidence builder, it’s two in a row for us, there’s a lot of reasons why it’s a big game,” Hanrahan said. “It’s early, but it’s a short season so every game is pretty big.”