By Brandon Gould/The Jersey Journal
April 11, 2014 10:43 p.m.
And as each inning passed, the words continued to carry over until the time finally presented itself in the fifth inning – a frame where the Patriots scored three runs. It was an offensive opening that allowed Secaucus to pull ahead for the first time in a 5-2 win over Harrison.
The triumph at Kane Stadium was the fourth comeback victory of the season for the Patriots (6-1).
“I just told them to stay on it and that we’ve been here before,” said Schneider. “Only two games this year have we jumped out in front and stayed in front the whole game, so I just told them to stay with and take advantage when they could.”
Down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Patriots offense was almost nonexistent – their only run scored on a passed ball in the first inning. But when Harrison pitcher Moises Roque walked two batters to load the bases and another to bring in a run, Secaucus was in business when pinch hitter Tyler Hering stepped to the plate.
Assisted by a little bit of luck, the junior used his only at-bat of the game to provide the go-ahead shot for Secaucus as he hit a hard ground ball that resulted in two runs scoring when a throwing error was made.
“It was a good game and even though the runs that put us ahead came on an error, we’ll take them any way that we can,” said centerfielder John Jernstadt, who went 2-for-4 and added an insurance run in the sixth.
The Patriots never looked back after that point, especially Ratti, who struck out three batters over the final two innings.
It was quite the cherry on top for the sophomore, who flawlessly retired the last 17 batters he faced – a turn of events that looked unlikely after a 32-pitch first inning that allowed Harrison to score a pair of runs. The only batter that got to Ratti was Roque, who went 2-for-3 and scored a run for Harrison.
“After going through what I did in the first inning, it felt good to hold (Harrison) down and not let any runs through,” said Ratti, who surrendered just two hits after the first inning. “I just tried to keep throwing strikes and getting batters out.”
Despite his team’s hot start to the year, the outing against Harrison was just the type of production that Schneider says has been limiting the Patriots – a team he has high expectations for – as the offense works to get up to speed with the defense.
Besides an 11-0 victory over McNair, the Patriots have failed to score more than five runs in a game so far this season.
“We know pitching is our strong point, so we stress defense in practice because you can control pitching and you can control defense,” said Schneider. “It’s been hard on our pitchers though because every pitch matters and they don’t get a rest. But if the pitching keeps up and this team can start hitting, it’s probably the best team I’ve had since I’ve been here.”