Message sent, but will it be received?
On Monday, the Grand Street Campus Wolves lost their first game of the season to the Midwood Hornets during a contest where they committed six errors. On Wednesday, they had another shot at the same Hornets team and tried to send a message to the rest of the city that they are still the best team in the Public School Athletic League.
“I don’t know what happened on Monday, we just had a very bad game,” said Grand Street's shortstop Julian Fernandez. “This game became really important for us because we can’t just let teams come on to our home turf and stomp us like that. I had a horrible game, the entire team had a horrible game, but hopefully today sends a message that we mean business.”
The Wolves trailed early on Wednesday, but behind a great game by Emanuel Castellano and some timely hitting, they were able to come back and beat the Hornets 4-1 in Bergen Beach on Wednesday.
Castellano was absolutely dominant on Wednesday. He gave up just one run in the second inning when he walked the leadoff batter Michael Taormina, who then moved to second on a balk and eventually scored on a sac fly by Nicolas Cardieri. Castellano carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, though, and allowed just two hits with six strikeouts and three walks in 6.2 innings.
After the game, Castellano said that he made it his personal mission make sure the Wolves won on that day.
“They way they celebrated after they beat us on Monday, like they had just won the World Series, really bothered me,” said Castellano, who now has a 4-0 record and a 0.22 ERA in six PSAL appearances. “I didn't like to see that so I made sure I was focused, made sure that I had a game plan and, no matter what, I was going to win.”
There was one problem though — despite the gem that gem that Castellano was throwing, the team wasn’t hitting.
“I think that maybe the guys were trying to do too much to make up for losing on Monday,” manager Steve Martinez said. “They came out and were trying to hit a grand slam with nobody on base. That's not the type of team we are. We're a move the runners over, hit the ball hard and find a hole type.”
Castellano tried to take that into his own hands as well by cheeringly loudly from the bench. It seemed to work too as quickly the Grand Street Campus bench went from crickets to group cheers that got their spirits up and seemed to bother Midwood as well.
“He finally woke us up in the sixth inning,” Fernandez admitted. “I think we all say the way that he was pitching and once he started to get loud it riled us up because we wanted to pick him up.”
Aneudy Delacruz and Ruben Vazquez started it off with a pair of walks and Marcus Chavez loaded the bases with a single that knocked Midwood starter Austin Cordero out of the game. That's when Brandon Sinche tied the game at one with a pinch-hit single down the left field line and Fernandez finally broke the game open with a two-run single to right that made it 3-1.
“It was big when we finally got their starter out of the game,” Sinche said. “With a new pitcher coming in, Marcus Chavez pointed out that he was pounding the outside corner when he was warming up so I was looking for something outside. I got a good swing on it and that's how it happened.”
The Wolves added another run in the seventh for insurance when Delacruz tripled with two outs and Vazquez drove him in with a single to center.
The Wolves are now 10-1 and lead Midwood and James Madison in the PSAL Brooklyn A East, who both have 10-2 records. After the game, their manager gave lots of credit to Midwood, but noted that they shouldn’t have lost on Monday.
"Hopefully Monday's game bothered them a little bit," Martinez said. "Hopefully it makes them realize that they can't sleep on teams. If they want it, they have to treat everybody like they're the best team in the city on that day."