By, Isaiah Rosario, Assistant Sports Editor
After a rough start to the season, the Jaspers baseball team has found themselves only one game under a .500 in out-of-conference play. They started off the season 1-7 and found a way to bounce back, winning six of their last seven games in a series against Fairleigh Dickinson, Hofstra and St. Johns.
Pitcher Jordan Warecke spoke to The Quadrangle about what he believed to be the turning point to the Jaspers’ recent success after early struggles.
“The turning point was Jack Lynch’s [8th inning] home run [against FDU], followed by [Alfredo Delgado] walk, and then we had a good bunt and then we got another base hit and then a home run from [David Bermudez],” Warecke said. “It was a 1-0 game and we really needed to put some runs on the board to show that we weren’t out of the game and we weren’t going to give it up. Ever since then we’ve been really solid offensively.”
Infielder David Bermudez has been playing a crucial role in the Jaspers’ recent success. In their hot streak, he has batted .481 and cracked four home runs. As of March 17, Bermudez is leading the team in average (minimum 75 percent of games played), OPS, hits, doubles, HR and tied for the lead in runs, and RBIs. There is not just one single attribute to his recent success.
“I would say the leading factor will probably just be, you know, the energy of the team because when we’re playing well it motivates me,” Bermudez said. “Then just have fun and compete and just let everything take care of itself.”
After a rough patch, in the first couple weeks of the season, Warecke knew what needed to be done when he stepped on the mound in the middle match of the three-game set against Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“I knew we needed to turn it around and I went out there and I just had a lot of trust that they were going to make the plays behind me and that we were going to score some runs eventually,” Warecke said. “Going out there I just tried to attack the zone and put my trust in my guys, and then it worked out for us and now we’re on a little bit of a streak so hopefully we keep it going.”
In the rubber match of the three games set against FDU, it was an offensive battle with both teams combining for a total of 14 runs scored. FDU scored four runs in the first inning but after that, the pitching staff was lockdown allowing only one run in eight innings. FDU’s first four runs foreshadowed that this game was going to be an offensive battle. For the Jaspers, Pete Durocher got the offense going in the second inning with an RBI double.
“I had two strikes on me and I just stuck to the idea of a two-strike approach that coach calls, pretty much driven in our heads, says to put the ball in play, don’t strike out, go out with a fight and don’t let them get a free out, just stuck to that plan and stay through the ball and worked out,” Durocher said.
After the double by Durocher, Manhattan tallied eight more runs. The game ended in favor of the Jaspers with a score of 9-5, and with that win the Jaspers took the series against FDU.
With a day break between games, the Jaspers made a trip to Long Island for a quick matchup against Hofstra. Manhattan scored early with a pair of RBI singles. The runs kept piling on for the Jaspers with three runs in the fourth, two in the sixth, and a pair in the 7th inning. The win went to sophomore RHP Connor O’Neill. The final was 9-4 in favor of Jaspers.
The Jaspers look to keep that momentum going by keeping the same positive attitude they have had all season and not letting negative energy in.
“As a team, we just have a different energy, different vibe at practice,” Durocher said. “Every day we know what’s at stake with us and we know what we can do. We’re just believing in ourselves and believing in each other and we’re just sticking to the process and not letting anything negative come in between us.”
Coming off crucial wins against FDU and Hofstra, the Jaspers traveled to Queens to face city rival St. Johns. In previous games, the Jaspers had issues leaving runners on base and not capitalizing on those runs. A common concern for the Jaspers was not being able to get the clutch hit. Durocher said that sticking to the plan is critical for a successful series against St. Johns.
“For example, as a hitter, I’m not trying to hit a home run every at-bat I’m trying to just hit the gaps, and line drives up the middle,” Durocher said. “Same thing with pitchers, just do what you’re capable of. If you have a good off-speed, stick with your speed. I’m not a pitcher, so I can’t speak for the pitchers, but do what you’re good at and stick to you.”
The game plan seemed to work as they pulled off a series win against St. Johns. Game one was another offensive showing as the Jaspers came victorious with a score of 11-6. Game two was a pitching duel as there were only a total of three runs scored in the game. Unfortunately, the Jaspers fell just short in game two as they lost 1-2. In the rubber match, Manhattan closed out the series with a 6-2 win.
On Wednesday, March 16, The Jaspers were victorious once again with an 11-9 win against LIU.
With out-of-conference coming to an end this week with a matchup against Columbia, there are still some places the Jaspers believe they could grow once MAAC play begins.
“I think we can improve in all areas, but we’re gonna continue to get better on all sides of the ball … I’m excited for conference play,” Bermudez said.
There had been some obvious top performers from the Jaspers in non-conference play but, it may be time for some new faces to step up.
“Obviously we kind of know who some of the top performers have been so far,” Warecke said. “I think it’s going to be important for us for some other guys that are coming through wins. When one of the top performers has a bad game.”
The baseball team’s next game is on Wednesday, March 23, away at Columbia University, which will be their final out of conference game.