After a winless start to the season in series against Hicksville and East Meadow, Baldwin is riding a six-game winning streak following sweeps of Plainview and Long Beach.
In the last series, Baldwin beat Long Beach 7-5 after breaking a 1-1 tie with three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings May 2. With six strikeouts on the game, starter John Strategakos kept the Marines at bay until the bottom of the sixth when they scored two runs. Reliever Marcus Crawford closed the game to complete the sweep.
Baldwin won 4-2 to open the series, scoring one run each in the second and fourth innings and two runs in the fifth while Strategakos went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Starter Michael Ahearne completed the game with three Ks.
Game two started with a 2-2 tie in the first, but Baldwin’s bats chipped away with two runs apiece in the third and fifth innings. Closer Pat Hickey got his first start, going seven strong with five strikeouts and four walks while allowing four runs on four hits in the 6-4 win.
“We figured Pat deserved a start and he went out there and proved us right,” Baldwin coach Frank Esposito said.
The Bruins took the early lead in all three games and never trailed, which Esposito cited as keys to the sweep. He said the difference from the start of the season has come down to committing fewer errors and the effects of winning games.
“After our first win against Plainview, I think we started to build confidence,” he added. “We didn’t play five outs an inning, we played three outs an inning and didn’t give away extra bases.”
Baldwin won game one at Plainview 5-2 as Michael Paray smacked a home run and generated four RBIs, Anderson Moreno went 3-for-4 with three runs, and Michael Ahearne earned the complete game win with five strikeouts.
At home for game two, the Bruins scored all of their runs in the second inning to win 9-8, and Baldwin won the series finale at Plainview 11-9, scoring six runs in the sixth while Paray went 4-for-4 with five RBIs.
The top of the order knocked in 30 of the team’s 42 runs over the six-game streak. Batting leadoff, Moreno scored nine runs over that stretch as No. 2 batter Strategakos moved him around the diamond, going 9-for-18 with seven RBIs and seven runs scored. Third-hole batter Reed Hoskins had a collective nine RBIs, while cleanup batter Paray tallied 10 RBIs and a .619 average.
At 6-5-1 overall in Conference AA2, the Bruins are eyeing the playoffs. But to get there, they’ll likely have to take the regular season series finale against Port Washington, the team that beat them in a first-round playoff game last season.
“What we’re looking from our guys is to compete with them and make fewer errors on the field,” Esposito said. “Anything can happen, but we have a good shot at being in the playoffs now.”