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The Commodores were leading the Wildcats 3-1 when Bowne’s freshman pitcher, Elvis Torres Devargas, started to lose control.
He walked the bases full, and Bayside coach Pat Torney turned to Rodriguez, a sophomore who didn’t have a single hit for the season in seven at bats, to pinch hit. Rodriguez’s at bat defined Bayside’s season. The Commodores have lacked offense against the conference’s top teams early in the season, resulting in a slow start.
But in this situation, Rodriguez smacked a double to drive in three runs and lead Bayside to a 9-4 victory over John Bowne. The Commodores (3-4 PSAL) are now hoping that with the win over the tough Wildcats (5-2 PSAL), they can continue the offense and turn around the season.
“We are starting to hit,” senior Elijah Leerdam said. “We weren’t hitting much before. Last game we didn’t come through for [our pitcher].”
Before the holidays, Bayside suffered a devastating 5-3 defeat to John Bowne, the conference’s second place team, after the team’s ace Jeremy Arenas pitched eight innings. Before that the Commodores dropped a pair of embarrassing losses to the perennial conference champs, the Benjamin Cardozo Judges, by a combined score of 27-0.
But the Commodores aren’t going to see the Judges again for the remainder of the season. And here they were with another opportunity to top the Wildcats, if only they could keep up the offense. Rodriguez waited patiently for Torres Devargas to throw a fastball down the middle of the plate, and blasted the double over the center fielder’s head, unloading the bases.
“I had to come up big,” Rodriguez said of what he was thinking while at the plate. “I was a little nervous at first, but then I just made contact with the ball and it went far.”
Arenas gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning, but held the Wildcats for the remainder of the game. He pitched a complete game with three strikeouts in the Commodores’ most impressive win of the season.
The team moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Queens A East division, and they believe if they can continue to pick up the bats like Rodriguez did, they might be able to pull this season out of the gutter.