Game Summaries & Headlines.
By Danny Torres ‘84
NEW ROCHELLE – This thrilling, playoff win by the Cardinals literally had all the ingredients of a heartwarming baseball narrative.
The varsity team arrived in New Rochelle extremely energized. It was a picture-perfect afternoon where Mother Nature must have wanted Cardinal Hayes to defy the odds and emerge victorious against Salesian High School.
If we turn the clock back, the 2019 Cardinals ended the regular season with a 7-11 record. As someone who has followed baseball his entire life, I honestly felt their dismal record didn’t reflect the talent and makeup of this varsity team.
They were better than their win-loss record and Monday afternoon against Salesian proved this team wanted to win badly and warrant being in the playoffs.
And let’s start with the Hayes RHP and St. John’s Commit Tyler Roche '20.
In an 80-pitch performance, Roche threw a gem from the second inning on (in the first, Roche was quite jittery and handed Salesian their only two runs in a 21-pitch inning) but bounced back to provide some much-needed offense.
With one out in the top of the fourth, Domingo Corporan '20 connected with single and Roche followed with a mammoth double to left field scoring Corporan to put the Cardinals within a run.
In the same inning and the score 2-1, Justin Chamorro '20 would follow up with another double and the Cardinals would tie the game 2-2.
From the second inning on, Roche continued his dominance with consecutive 1-2-3 innings while only allowing one walk and striking out six batters.
In the top of the fifth, senior Joseph Hernandez, who in his previous two at-bats struck out, connected with an opposite field hit to score what would eventually be the deciding run for this CHSAA “AA” playoff win.
Although Salesian’s batters, in the bottom of the sixth inning, would suddenly “wake up” and rip a double off Roche to left field, the Hayes’ defense, throughout the entire game, was absolutely perfect.
With a Salesian’ runner at third base, Hayes shortstop, Nickolas Alvarez '20 fielded a grounder effortlessly for the put out.
In the seventh inning, Salesian would connect with another single down the first base side, but Hayes would eventually hold on for their first “AA” playoff win in quite sometime.
With the entire team racing towards their winning pitcher, what made this extraordinary win quite special was seeing their teammate Irving Muñiz '20 in the dugout.
A few months ago, Muñiz was diagnosed with cancer specifically Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Throughout this difficult period, he has been hospitalized, undergoing radiation treatment and yet had the energy to travel to New Rochelle to support his team.
After the game, Coach Encarnacion congratulated the team on their phenomenal win and handed the game-winning ball to Muñiz who became quite emotional when the team gathered around and embraced their teammate.
And what truly showed how much faith has meant to this hard-nosed team, one player even remarked, “Thank you God for bringing Irving back to us.”