Volume 73, Number 6 | June 9 - 15, 2004


Mighty O’s are the one constant in Juniors Division

By Gabriel M. Zucker

Only one week from the end of the regular season, things in the Greenwich Village Juniors Division are not too decided by way of the standings. The only constant has been the mighty Orioles, who claimed first place in the first week of the season and have long since clinched that position. Meanwhile, the rest of the teams are still battling it out while vying to break the iron curtain of the Birds. This week’s first challengers were the Orioles’ closest pursuers: the second-place Cardinals.

After it was clear that the two teams had evaded the clouds and the rain, the duel began. And almost immediately, it became evident that, although the Cards had dodged the rain, they could not dodge the force of the O’s offense. The Birds’ ace, Craig Thompson, shut them down in the first, and by the time his team came to bat in the bottom half of the inning, low scores were done for the day. The O’s battered pitcher Anthony Miller, sending around their first five hitters on singles by Casey Simons and Scott Ritter, and a double by Aaron Yellin. Patient at the plate, the Orioles also drew five walks in the inning. Finally, after five runs and only one out, Miller left for the showers, and Gabriel Zucker was brought on as fireman to face the top of the order. Despite the Birds’ threatening position, which was somewhat reminiscent of the clouds overhead, Zucker got the first two batters he faced to bail the team out of the bases-loaded jam.

The Orioles, however, weren’t content with their five-run lead, and came right back the next inning with two more. Ritter and Thompson reached and were driven in on a hard double by Daniel Giansante. Only a Daniel-Daniel double play got the Cards out this time, as Daniel Stephens’ liner found Zucker’s glove instead of his head, and Giansante was doubled off third. However, no matter how many times the Cards escaped the torment of these rallies, the Birds came back the next inning to score more. In the third, the Cardinals made two solid plays in the field: Centerfielder Miller hauled in a fly ball over his head and Jeffrey Adler backhanded a chopper at short. But even this couldn’t prevent singles by Thompson, Giansante and Cody Stephens from driving in four more runs.

Meanwhile, Thompson was also doing his share on the mound. The only run he allowed came in the third, when, with two outs and the bases juiced, Zucker’s single brought in Jacob Lefkowitz. But the O’s snuffed out that rally, gunning down another run at the plate. For the rest of the game, Thompson shut the Cards down. By the time he was done burning the ball, he had struck out five, and given up only four hits and three walks in six innings.

Four innings into this onslaught, the “L” was officially hung on the Cards (because of the “mercy rule”). The final score of the game came to a lopsided 15-1.

Earlier on Saturday, the Blue Jays forfeited their game to the Cardinals as they had exactly zero players in attendance. Elsewhere around the division, the Giants and the Red Sox squared off for a doubleheader — one to complete a suspended game, and one clean slate. The completion went from a 14-8 Giant lead to a 16-12 Giant victory. In the following game, Giant pitcher Matt Gibson held the Sox to six runs, while his team scored nine, riding strong offensive efforts by Harry Bartle and Jacob Hiss, who each tripled and drove in three runs.

On Sunday, rain caused the cancellation of several games. The only match-up was the O’s versus the Red Sox, which saw the Birds take a 7-3 lead into the fourth, saw the Sox rally to bring the score to 7-6, and finally saw the rain come down more heavily, forcing the game to be called as incomplete.

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