by Michael Goodberry
With the Fall baseball season comes to an end Hilbert College played their yearly scrimmage against the junior college powerhouse Niagara County Community College at Washuta Park in Lewiston, New York. Last season both the Hawks and the Thunder Wolves each had outstanding seasons. The Hilbert Hawks made the playoffs for the second time since joining the Allegany Mountain Collegiate Conference. The Thunder Wolves once again made a deep run in the NJCAA regionals.
Drew Fittry, the team’s head coach, said he was proud of the way the team performed against an accomplished team.
“The NCCC game was yet another example of the direction our program is headed,” Fittry said. “We were able to go toe to toe with a program that was in the National Championship two seasons ago and we nearly came out with a win. A game like that is great experience for our players and a reminder to them that if we work hard, we can accomplish anything.”
The game under the lights started with an energetic top of the first. The Hawks bench atmosphere was electric, as they got on the board first, scoring a run. In the bottom of the first, the Thunder Wolves answered back with two quick runs of their own. The Hawks were kept scoreless for the next few innings as the Thunder Wolves created one run in both the second and third inning. In the fourth inning, the Thunder Wolves struck with full force with three huge runs lifting the score to 7-1 in favor of the Thunder Wolves. When all hopes seemed lost, the Hawks stormed back with help from Griff DeMayo, Austin O’Shei, and an important two-run homerun from Ian Moran. By the end of the 7th inning, the Hawks lead the Thunder Wolves 8-7. In the eighth inning, the Hawks were left scoreless as the Thunderwolves blasted a backbreaking two-run homerun, immediately followed by a few well-timed base hits and a wild pitch from the Hawks pitcher to put the Thunder wolves up 10-8. The ninth inning was left scoreless to end the game.
After the game ended and the teams shook hands over home plate, both teams had their separate team meetings down the base lines. The Hawks coaching staff praised their players for being down by so much and battling back in a highly competitive game. However, the coaching staff had to address how there was nine errors in the game and in order to compete in the regular season the defense needs to be better.
“Out of the six Fall Ball games I’ve been a part of, this one is definitely the most fun,” catchers coach Ryan Bonafede said “I’m proud of our guy for digging deep and fighting back when we were down early. I am excited for this upcoming year. The offense looked great the pitching looked great and the defense is only going to get better.” Due to the weather the inter squad scrimmage was canceled. With that the Hawks Fall baseball season is over and the team will start preparing for the regular season this spring.