Rye High Baseball
By Mitch Silver
If you thought Mike Bruno’s Rye High baseball team wouldn’t be the same after losing All-State pitcher George Kirby and a raft of All-League players to graduation, you’d be right. They’re better.
This past fortnight saw the Garnets shut out Yonkers by 8-0, defeat arch-rival Harrison 7-1 in the third annual Andrew Gurgitano Memorial game at Silver Lake Park, and down league foe Pelham twice by scores of 3-1 and 11-2. Rye’s nine did drop a 3-0 four-hitter to non-league Pearl River, currently the top-rated team in Class A. But they came right back to win a seesaw 5-4 cliffhanger against 9-1 Hendrik Hudson. And the way they did it tells you a lot about the 2017 Garnets.
With snow days in March wreaking havoc with an already tight season, Rye was forced to play four straight days last week. And with the new, more rigid pitch counts also limiting pitcher availability, Coach Bruno gave junior Sean Hale his first varsity start against Hen Hud. Though he threw four straight balls to the leadoff hitter, Hale found his rhythm and was leading 4-2 going into the sixth. A walk, a double, and a two-out line single knotted the score at 4 and brought on senior James Laverty. Lav threw wild on a pickoff play, and a second error on the play moved the lead runner to third. But Myles Burbank in center managed to grab a sinking liner on his knees to end the threat.
An inning later, Burbank would move from the outfield to the mound and toss a 1-2-3 7th. The Garnets’ last licks saw sophomore Henry Friedrich ground out to second, ninth grader Declan Lavelle draw a walk, and junior Gavin Kenny bounce out to third, with Lavelle moving to second. That left it up to senior co-captain Mat Bruno, and did he ever deliver, smashing a huge triple to the wall in left-center and driving in Lavelle with the winning run.
After the game, Coach Bruno admitted he went a little longer with Hale than he wanted to. “Sean threw a strong game. I knew anyone we might bring in who threw more than 30 pitches wouldn’t be available against Pelham tomorrow, so we rode that arm. And he got the win.”
Rye’s lineup boasts only three seniors: Bruno, the coach’s nephew; Burbank, who got the save; and hard-hitting first baseman Dusty Mion, who scored a run and drove another in. Heading into May, they’re all hitting over .300, as are junior Andy Bach and sophs Alex Noga and Finn Westerink.
The Garnets played league foe Ardsley twice post-press time as well as non-league toughie Tappan Zee. This afternoon they host the Harrison Huskies at Disbrow, looking to win the season series and lock up the Conference II League title.