From Peglegs to Playoffs: A Season Recap

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Issue 17, Volume 109

By Rudolph Merlin 

With the playoffs underway in the PSAL Triple A Division, the Stuyvesant boys’ varsity baseball team was looking to break its streak of five consecutive first-round playoff losses. The Peglegs were going up against Susan Wagner, a team they lost to last year with a score of 8-0. This time, however, the Peglegs weren’t playing on their home turf (where they went 4-2 against teams in their own division). Instead, they were going up against a team from the AAA Southern division that had beaten the likes of New Dorp (10-6) and Tottenville (13-3 and the fifth best team in New York City). Nevertheless, the Peglegs, led by senior Jared Asch’s phenomenal pitching, were able to hold Susan Wagner to just one early run. However, this run would be enough to end the Peglegs’ season with a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat.

After a scoreless top of the first inning, the Peglegs took the field, and Asch took the mound. He was immediately faced with Susan Wagner junior Andrew Partnow, who led his team with a batting average of .447. Partnow was able to muster a single against Asch, but would go hitless for the rest of the game. One out later, senior DH Dylan Whyte was at the plate. Despite finishing the regular season with a dismal .211 batting average, he was able to make contact. What should have been a mere single turned into an error that would send Partnow home, giving Susan Wagner the 1-0 lead.

The remainder of the game remained a fierce pitchers’ duel. Asch pitched like never before, throwing only 75 pitches in six innings and striking out two batters. The infield was also able to hold up, and they were put to work nearly every inning by fielding sharp ground balls. This was a much better performance in comparison to last year’s, when Asch gave up three runs in the first inning and three more in the third. “Jared was incredible again for us that game, and the entire team fought hard all seven innings,” senior and co-captain Jeremy Rubin said.

With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, the Peglegs had one last chance to make an impact. Stepping up to the plate was Rubin, who had 14 hits had the highest base percentage among the players on the team. He made Walters work, and after a long at bat, the cleanup hitter delivered, blasting a double to left-center and giving the Peglegs their first hit of the game. With the tying run at second, sophomore catcher Luca Bielski came up to bat. By this point, Walters’ pitch count was very high, and Luca was holding steady. He fouled off the sixth pitch Walters threw and stayed alive, keeping the count at 3-2. Then came the seventh pitch of the at-bat, the 98th pitch overall for Walters—it was a fastball, low and outside. Bielski didn’t swing, and what obviously should have been ball four was called strike three. A call that surprised the Peglegs as well as the Wagner dugout was nevertheless the one that brought the Peglegs season to an unexpected end.

The Peglegs finished the season 7-10, putting them in fourth place in the AAA Western Division. Despite the loss, the Peglegs’ season was full of accomplishments. Beating Francis Lewis High School and shutting out Beacon High School while simultaneously handing them their first ever loss in the AAA Western Division in almost two years are feats few teams in New York City are capable of. “The whole team worked incredibly hard this season, and even though it didn’t go our way at the end, I’m just so proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Rubin said.

Like it does every season, the team will lose its senior players come the end of the year. This group of seniors most notably includes first baseman and pitcher Malcolm Hubbell. With a .353 batting average, he is the number six hitter in the lineup; he also has a team-leading 18 stolen bases, three wins, and has been invited to play in the Exceptional Seniors Game. Next up is third baseman and cleanup batter Rubin, who finished the year with a .357 batting average and led the team with a .571 OBP. Then, we have shortstop Cooper Nissenbaum, who as the number two hitter in the lineup, was key to starting several rallies for the Peglegs, ultimately finishing the year with a respectable .289 batting average. Finally, there is ace pitcher and third baseman Asch, who led the team with a .458 batting average and 18 RBIs.

While there are some gaps to fill, next year looks to be promising. Many members of the starting lineup are returning, such as juniors Maximillian Mah and Owen Potter, sophomore Luca Bielski, and freshman Paul Liou. The bullpen will also be different—it will likely consist of juniors Potter and Ben Zenker.

Hitting will be the key for the Peglegs next season, though, and there are some talented sophomores coming from the Junior Varsity team, which had a successful season and finished with a 9-0 record. Sophomore pitcher Jordan Gray was one of the contributors of this impressive feat, as he delivered three wins on the mound while batting .450. Another potential candidate for the varsity squad would be sophomore Rohan Saha, who finished the season batting .500. The lineup would likely consist of players such as Potter, junior Franklin Liou, Mah, and Zenker—to name a few. In all, this season for the Peglegs, while shorter than expected, shows the abilities of this amazing team and makes us excited for what’s to come next year.