This past Wednesday, May 11th, the Oyster River Varsity baseball team faced their rivals, St. Thomas Aquinas (STA). After 7 long innings, Oyster River ended on top by just one point.
In the past, Oyster River baseball has always been competitive with STA. This game was certainly no different. Brandon Raitt (‘22) explained that “STA is our baseball rival. Even though Coe-Brown is our school’s rival, STA is definitely the baseball rival essentially after they knocked us out of the playoffs last year.” Fans filled the hill behind home plate, while others sat along the third base line, and for those who couldn’t attend the game, they still joined the game by watching live from Facebook.
Oyster River took the field to start the game, with John Federico (‘23) on the mound. STA swung their bats to start the game. As Oyster River came up to bat, Jack Poitras (‘22) hit a single, and then with two outs, Federico hit the ball to deep left field, sending Poitras all the way to home plate. Federico hitting the RBI in the first inning gave Oyster River control of the game. Federico explained how the RBI really gave the team confidence for the rest of the game. “I was happy to have a lead run to work with, along with the team playing extremely well defensively and making a lot of outs.” The team carried this energy to each inning and played hard.
From the bottom of the first inning to the top of the fifth, both teams played aggressively, when on both offense and defense. At the top of the fifth inning, STA had bases loaded, with one out, and they hit a pop fly to center field, where Raitt caught the ball and sent it home for a double play, ending the inning at 1-0, Oyster River. The limited errors, and competitiveness, really pulled the boys through the game.
The top of the seventh inning ended with a caught pop fly by Kenton Quagliari (‘22) in left field. This ended the game 1-0, Oyster River. The boys lined up proud and tall as they high fived their rivals. Raitt explained how “we really held together and started strong the entire game. We didn’t really make any mistakes besides we were not really hitting, but our defense pulled together and got us through the game”
Raitt explained that “[STA is] one of the top teams in the division. No one really expected us to win, so it felt really nice.” The entire team felt this feeling as they left the field Wednesday evening, upperclassmen and underclassmen understood the importance of winning that game, and put it all out there. Andy Carlson (‘22) explained that “it was awesome as an upperclassmen to see the underclassmen really get into the game and understand the atmosphere and why it’s not only more important, but how it is far more intense than other games.”
The team has been working hard since preseason to improve and as Carlson explained, “it’s been a focus of the team and the coaching staff to improve our defense, and we only had one error in the game, which is really good, so I think we have improved upon that and it showed because we spent a whole week just practicing that, so I think we came together in that respect very well.” The defense at the Oyster River vs. STA game was sharp and clean, and made all the difference at the end of the game when Oyster River came out on top by just one point.
Two days later, Oyster River beat Pembroke Academy 11-5. The team travels to take on Milford this Monday the 16th.