By Nicole Apicelli
The Lions arrived ready for action at minor league baseball’s Trenton Thunder Stadium on Tuesday against Arcadia University (31-6). The Knight’s rather intimidating record proved irrelevant at the end of the night, as the numbers on the scoreboard displayed the power of the pride.
At the top of the first, Lion’s pitcher Tom Kelly hit the third batter he faced with a pitch and allowed the first baserunner of the night. This came back to haunt the Lions as an RBI double by the Knights brought the infielder home to score.
Infielder Mike Lagravenis and outfielder Jack Haynes were each walked at the bottom of the first. A wild pitch enabled Lagravenis to steal third before an RBI single by catcher Ryan Goodall brought him home to even up the score.
Even after a double play, the Knights had another opportunity to score at the bottom of the second with a runner on third. Kelly promptly retired the side having only allowed two hits, which kept the score 1-1.
The Knights made their first pitching change at the bottom of the second, as Carson Denham took the mound in place of Kyle Coffey. In an uneventful inning, outfielder Michael Schumacher was the only player to reach first base after he singled to right field.
Despite walking a batter at the top of the third, Kelly was able to escape the inning unscathed as the infielder was caught attempting to steal second base. Coffey produced another scoreless inning in the bottom of the third to keep the game at a lull.
Arcadia earned two hits at the top of the fourth and missed a scoring opportunity as a runner was called out at home plate. Kelly and Coffey pitched one-two-three innings respectively throughout the next two innings.
The game began to heat up as the Lions appeared at the plate in the bottom of the fifth. After Lagravenis singled through the right side, Haynes was hit by a pitch and catcher Chris Reeder reached first on a fielding error to load the bases. Goodall took full advantage of the situation during his turn at bat when he hit a grand slam to bring everyone home — which brought the score 5-1 in favor of the Lions.
Arcadia was unable to respond at the top of the sixth as Kelly had only allowed one hit. Following the Lion’s explosive showing at the bottom of the fifth, The Knights brought Nick D’Apolito in to pitch for Denham.
Haynes was unaffected by the pitching change as he singled to second base and allowed both Lagravenis and Schumacher to score. Reeder then doubled to left center to bring Haynes home to score, which inspired another pitching change for Arcadia.
Nadell Booker came in to pitch for D’Apolito. Goodall got on base due to another fielding error and Reeder came home to score, 9-1 Lions.
Michael Silver took the mound for the Lion’s at the top of the seventh and produced a one-two-three inning. The College blew the game wide open at the bottom of the seventh, earning six runs which brought the lead to 15-1.
Infielder Andrew Fernandez reached base on a fielding error and scored when Schumacher hit a double. The Knights made their fourth pitching change of the night as Drew Pecorilli replaced Booker. Outfielder Joey Cruciata singled to right field and advanced Schumacher to third.
Pecorilli then hit Lagravenis with a pitch, which advanced the runners, Schumacher scored on a balk. The now flustered Pecorilli proceeded to walk Haynes before a fielder’s choice by Reeder brought Cruciata home to score.
Arcadia made another pitching change as Gabe Marshall came in to replace Pecorilli in the hopes he would end this treacherous inning for the Knights. Goodall proceeded to squash their desire as he crushed a three run homer to left field.
The Knights designated numerous pinch hitters at the top of the eighth, which seemed to demonstrate that they had now accepted their fate and decided to give their starting line-up a rest. The Knights confirmed their decision in the bottom of the eighth, as the entire outfield and the majority of the infielders were replaced by other players.
The game concluded at the top of the ninth with a final score 15-1 in favor of the Lions. The victory proved even more significant as the College had the opportunity to have now played at and won a game at a local minor league baseball stadium.