The Peglegs traveled to Brooklyn this afternoon to take on the top seeded and heavily favored Grand Street Wolves in a quarterfinal matchup. The Wolves came into the game with a record of 18-0 and having outscored their playoff opponents 31-1 in the first two rounds. Their hitters put up nearly 10 runs a game this season and were supremely confident. But like Mike Tyson once said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
Sam Levine took the mound for Stuyvesant having thrown a shutout in the first round of the playoffs. After Stuy went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, it was Grand Street’s turn. Their leadoff hitter, Myles Vasquez – who led AAA in home runs and was third in hitting at .568 – flew out to Paul Liou in center field. This was followed by an error, ground out and strike out. The heart of the Wolves lineup had their first shot and put up a zero on the scoreboard. Not what they were expecting.
The Peglegs struck first in the second playing small ball. Following a hit batter and an error, a perfect bunt by Julian Malenda advanced the runners to second and third. Julian Duran took advantage and drove in the first run of the game on a single to center. 1-0 Peglegs.
The Wolves would come right back in the bottom of the second, scoring two runs on a walk, bunt single and line drive base hit to take a 2-1 lead. Back and forth they’d go as Stuy would added a run of their own in the top of the third on a double steal by Levine and Jeremy Lee, who stole home and scored on the play. 2-2. The Wolves came right back the next inning, plating two on a hit batter, walk and single to go up 4-2.
The Peglegs would retake the lead in the top of the fourth. Malenda led off with a double to center, followed by Duran getting hit by a pitch. Iravan Bhattacharyya singled to left to load the bases. Lee drove in the go ahead run on another hit by pitch. Axel Riess followed with an rbi ground out to first and Bhattachryya scored on a wild pitch. Peglegs 5, Wolves 4. It was becoming clear to everyone that Stuy wasn’t going away.
Levine quieted the Wolves’ bats in the fourth, with a 1-2-3 inning and you could feel Grand Street start to get tight. In the bottom of the fifth, the Wolves started the inning on a single and then reached on an error on a potential double play ball to first. Bhattacharyya came in to relieve Levine and struck out two before loading the bases on a walk. He built the tension, going to a 3-1 count before inducing a pop out to short.
Stuy took their 5-4 lead into the seventh inning. They put two runners on base with one out for Ethan Kirschner who lined a clutch base hit to right to give the Peglegs an insurance run to make it 6-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Three outs to go with the heart of Grand Street’s lineup due up. Vasquez doubled to left to start the inning. Bhattacharyya struck out the next batter, but Riess couldn’t hold onto the ball and the batter sprinted to first. Riess’s throw was too late but first baseman Ben Harwayne saw Vasquez making a big turn around third, rocketed the ball across the diamond and Malenda made the tag to get Vasquez for the first out of the inning. Two outs to go. The next batter singled to left. Two on and one out and Grand Street was threatening. Alex Martinez grounded out to short. One out to go and the Wolves shortstop came to the plate having already driven in two runs. But the bat was taken out of his hands. On the first pitch the runner on first took off on a steal and Riess gunned him down – game over. Stuyvesant wins and advances to the final four in what was a total team effort.
- This is the furthest Stuy has ever advanced in the playoffs.
- No specialized high school has ever made it to the final four.
- Levine got the win, his ninth of the season, going four innings, allowing three hits, striking ut four and giving up four runs.
- Bhattacharyya got the save, striking out five in three innings, allowing no runs in his best performance of the year.