MVHS baseball team overcomes late Knights’ rally to win

MVHS baseball team overcomes late Knights’ rally to win

Dickson Tsai

The Matadors narrowly escape with 4-3 victory against The King’s Academy




The Matadors were in cruise control the whole game until the last inning. They almost gave the game away but instead picked up their second win to wrap up the pre-league season.

Head coach Brian Sullivan huddles up with closer junior Austin Burrow and catcher senior Connor Criddle.  The Matadors narrowly escape with 4-3 victory against The King’s Academy. Photo by Dickson Tsai.MVHS (2-3-0) prevailed over The King’s Academy Knights (1-3-2) 4-3 on March 11, even as the Knights scored three in the last inning. Junior closer Austin Burrow gave up a two-run triple, but he still got the job done and recorded the save.

“[Their comeback] is just baseball,” head coach Brian Sullivan said. “I went in [to talk to Burrow] and told him that he was falling behind hitters…get ahead.”

Burrow had struck out two in the seventh inning before the Matadors made a defensive mistake: catcher senior Connor Criddle helped catch the Knight base runners in between the bases, but the Matador infield was unable to tag any of the two for the final out.

Then, sophomore Caleb Gomez of The King’s Academy, coming in to pinch hit for junior Ray Yamamoto, hit a triple to deep center field to drive in two runners.

Had the ball gone over the fence, the Matadors would have had to play the bottom half of the inning.

“I wanted to get Gomez an at-bat,” Knights head coach Matt Berry said. “I knew he had a chance.”Junior Grady Caldwell of The King’s Academy steps up to bat to lead off the seventh inning. MVHS defeated the Knights 4-3 in the Matadors’ last pre-league season game. Photo by Dickson Tsai.

The Matadors had a strong pitching effort for most of the game. Starter senior Chris Harper (1-0) threw for 11 strikeouts, two walks and allowed only one hit. However, his high pitch count kept him for only five innings.

“He would agree that this game was not one of his better performances,” head coach Brian Sullivan said. “The number of pitches were too high…I‘d rather want him to get a ground ball with half the number of pitches.”

Offensively, the Matadors executed well, stealing three bases to put runners in scoring position each time. Six different players had hits for the Matadors, including seniors Ryan Winston, Matt Hopkins and Grant Manley.

In the third inning, MVHS tacked on two runs onto the board after a lead-off double from first baseman senior Matt Hopkins. Shortstop senior Nathan Burroughs and Burrow also had singles to drive in the runs, pushing the Matadors to a quick 2-0 lead.  

In the fifth inning, the Knights botched an attempt at picking off Manley from stealing, which allowed Burrow to score a run. The Matadors led 4-0 by that point.

Having just won the game, the Matadors come together to shake hands with their opponent. MVHS defeated the Knights 4-3 in the Matadors’ last pre-league season game. Photo by Dickson Tsai.“We just didn’t play catch,” Berry said, referring to the throwing error. “Good teams should know how to play catch.”

But in the seventh inning, just after Gomez’s defining triple, the Matadors almost failed to play catch as well.

The last pop-up, hit by Knights senior Joshua Fong, almost ended in disaster for the Matadors. It fell in the gap beyond the infield in left-center field.

Left fielder junior Jimmy Roslund, Manley and Burroughs almost collided, but Manley made the catch to end the ballgame.

The Matadors will visit perennial rival Lynbrook High School (2-2-0) for their first league game on March 15. Lynbrook comes in with a 27-0 victory over Jefferson High School.

{cc-by-nc-sa}