By Paul Gotham
ROCHESTER, NY – Angel Rosario (Bridgeport, CT/Bullard Havens) needed to make a quick adjustment prior to this afternoon’s doubleheader.
Judging by the results, the sophomore outfielder possesses plenty of adaptability.
Rosario collected two hits, stole three bases and drove in the eventual game-winning run in game two of a double header as the Monroe Community College Tribunes split (3-4/3-1) with Mercyhurst NE Saints in Western New York Athletic Conference action at Tribunes Field.
Rosario plated Connor Lewis (St. Marguerite D’Youville) with an opposite field single to give Monroe a 2-0 advantage in the sixth inning of game two.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play and make the defense work,” Rosario said of his hit. “I got my pitch and went with it.”
The 5’9” Rosario also walked and scored a run in the second game. After hitting most of last season at the bottom of the order, Rosario found out just minutes before the game one that he would bat clean-up.
“It changes your approach a lot,” Rosario noted. “At the bottom of the order you get a lot of fastballs. Hitting clean-up you see more off-speed stuff. I was really happy when I saw I was in that spot. You get more at bats. Hopefully, I can help the team.”
Rosario kept the rally going when he stole second and moved to third on a Jimmy Latona (Churchville, NY/Churchville-Chili) fly ball. He eventually scored on a Tim Segrue (HF-L) double to left.
“He’s a veteran guy,” said first-year head coach Dave Brust. “He needs to get in the habit of carrying the load. He did exactly what I thought he’d do.”
“He’s an RBI guy,” Brust said of the move to put Rosario in the four-hole. “It takes experience. It takes guts. I’m glad he’s on my side.”
Lewis tripled and scored in the fourth to give the Black and Gold a 1-0 edge.
Nick DiBenedetto (Nanuet) pitched four and two-thirds for the win. The right-hander struck out four and walked one. The sophomore retired the first seven he faced and 14 of 15 before surrendering a pair of hits and a walk.
Tom Mastrodonato (Aquinas) came on with the bases loaded and retired the first batter he faced on a ground ball to short. The right-hander allowed one run in an inning and two-thirds of work.
Davio Caquias (Penfield) faced one batter and picked up the save inducing a double play to end the game.
Both DiBenedetto and game one starter, Dylan Sheffer (Penfield, NY/Penfield), gave the Tribunes quality first starts of the season. The two hurlers were given four-inning limits with the possibility of a fifth considering a low pitch count.
Sheffer, an ABCA/Rawlings NJCAA Division II Gold Glove winner, set down the first eight faced and took a shutout into the fifth.
“Both of those guys established themselves as top of the rotation guys,” Brust noted. “They throw strikes. I’m happy with their composure.”
Ryan Prevost (Greece Athena) put the Tribunes on the board first. The freshman worked a one-out walk off Mercyhurst starter, Tyler Slepski. After a wild pitch and an errant pickoff throw at second, Prevost came home on Slepski’s second wild offering of the stanza.
Roasrio made it 2-0 in the fourth inning of the opener. He reached on a two-out infield single and advanced ninety feet when the throw eluded the first baseman. Latona singled through the right side of the infield for the 2-0 edge.
Mercyhurst took advantage of Monroe generosity for the come-from-behind victory in game one.
After a walk, base hit and a wild pitch put runners on second and third in the fifth, Slepski singled to left scoring the Saints first run. It appeared the Tribunes would slow the Saints on a tapper back to the mound, but Sheffer lost his footing, and the Saints knotted the game at two.
Mercyhurst added two more in the seventh on one hit.
The Tribunes threatened in the bottom half. Latona slapped a one-out base hit, and scored on a double to left by Tommy LaCongo (Orchard Park).
Latona and Lewis each had two hits.
Brust was hired as the fourth coach in the history of Monroe baseball. An MCC Hall-of-Famer, Brust earned third team All-American for H. David Chamberlain’s 1987 Tribune squad. Brust went on to Ball State University where he was captain and MVP in 1988 and 1989. Brust played three years in the Atlanta Braves organization including one season under former Major League manager, Grady Little. He earned Coach of the Year honors in 2011 when he led the Webster Yankees of the New York Collegiate Baseball League.
Brust succeeded Mike Kelly who led the Tribunes to the 2008 and 2009 NJCAA World Series.
Monroe travels to Jamestown on Saturday for a doubleheader with the Jayhawks. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Paul Gotham is the Communications and Media Director for the New York Collegiate Baseball League. Paul is the founder, owner, editor and lead writer at Pickin’ Splinters. His work has been featured on Seamheads.com, BruceSpringsteen.net and GoBonnies.com. His book,Everybody On, Nobody Out, chronicles the hope and possibility in the New York Collegiate Baseball League. He will also appear in USA Today’s 2013 College Basketball Preview. You can follow Paul on Twitter @PickinSplinters.