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Hornets hero: Midwood junior lifts team to playoff victory

Eyeing the pitch: Fort Hamilton right fielder Michael Alexander stands in to wait for the next pitch from Midwood’s hurler during the teams’ playoff game May 26.
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It didn’t matter that it was a sacrifice fly.

The only thing the Midwood baseball team cared about was scoring the winning run, and defeating Fort Hamilton 2–1 in eight innings in the second round of the Public Schools Athletic League playoffs on May 26.

There wasn’t much scoring, but there were plenty of dramatic moments and one key component that got the Hornets through the game — faith.

“I had all the confidence in the world in these young men,” said Midwood coach Savario Nardone. “In life, one of the strongest things you can have is a leap of faith. These guys believe in each other. They’re going to fight every pitch for one another, myself, the coaching staff, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

The game was a tight one throughout thanks to the dominant pitching of Midwood senior Alan Sorokin and Fort Hamilton sophomore Jeyco Grullon Arno. Neither team was able to get anything going until Fort Hamilton finally broke a scoreless tie with a single run in the fourth inning.

Grullon Arno continued to stymie the Hornets’ bats through six innings, and for a while, it looked like Midwood’s season — and the Hornets’ city title defense — was coming to an end.

But things changed in the bottom of the seventh. Midwood’s leadoff hitter, sophomore Daniel Pero, reached after a failed Fort Hamilton double play, and was at second with one out and junior Jared Ramos at the plate. Ramos belted a double off the right field fence, scoring Pero, tying the game at one-all, and sending the game into extra innings.

The Tigers loaded the bases in the top of the eighth but failed to score, a missed opportunity that would ultimately cost Fort Hamilton the game.

Midwood opened up the bottom of the frame with three straight walks, loading the bases for Ramos, who once again played hero for the Hornets. He smashed a fly ball to right field that was caught for an out — but not before senior Matthew Putterman scored the winning run.

“I knew I had to get the job done,” Ramos said. “I knew there were runners on base. I just had to stay calm and do what I had to do.”

Ramos was the offensive star of the game, and just as valuable for the Hornets was Sorokin, who allowed just two hits and one run through seven and two-thirds innings.

“I felt good before the game,” the senior hurler said. “I was fired up. This was a big game right here, and we’re just ready to move on to the next round.”

Nardone praised his squad for its gritty performance, despite struggling at the plate.

“We definitely hit the ball hard a lot, but the ball didn’t really bounce our way,” the coach said. “Through all that adversity, they really made it happen. [They deserve] all the praise in the world.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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