Rockaway Express Splits Doubleheader
The Rockaway Express split its doubleheader against the tough Brooklyn Bandits this past weekend. I t s record in the NY Travel Cub National division now stands at 9-1. The Rockaway team won the first game 11- 10 and lost the second 11-7. The Bandit victory in the second game was the first loss of the season for the Express. Both games featured the winning team jumping out to a big lead and then holding off a late inning comeback.
The first game featured the solid 4 inning pitching by starter and game winner Mikey McManus. The offense was led by McManus who had 3 RBIs, Billy Reyes who went 3 for 3 and scored 3 times and Kieran Conaghan who scored twice. The Express jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Daniel Green walked and circled the bases on Reyes’ double to right. Reyes then came in McManus’ line drive single to right. The lead increased to 5-0 in the second as James Tuohey’s line shot to right scored Matt McDonagh and 8-0 in the fourth as the Express parlayed base hits by Reyes, McManus and Joe Tammaro into 3 more runs.
Meanwhile the Express defense shut out the Bandits over the first three with solid play behind McManus. In the first shortstop Ian Byrne barehanded a line drive which deflected off McManus’ glove and threw to first for the third out. The second inning ended with Kieran Conaghan making a running backhanded catch in center field. The third had McManus making all three outs from the mound as he snared a line drive and caught two pop ups. The Bandits did break through for 3 runs in the fourth to make it 8-3. Their rally in the fifth was killed when the leadoff batter reached base but was then picked off third and retired on a nicely executed catcher to third to catcher to short rundown. Jake Mackoff then followed that with a fine running catch in left field.
Christian Agoglia and Brendan Watters had base hits in the fifth to drive in runs and McManus hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth to increase the Express lead to a seemingly safe 11-3 lead. Byrne came in to relieve McManus on the mound in the fifth. The Bandits staged a furious comeback in the bottom of the sixth but fell one run run short as Tuohey threw out the batter from third for the final out.
The Bandits exploded out of the gates in the second game as they scored 5 runs against starter Daniel Green aided by 3 Express errors and two hit batsmen. The Express fought right back with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning including RBI hits by Ian Byrne and Kieran Conaghan. The game settled down from there. The Bandits added a run in the second but a slick pickoff from Green to Reyes to Byrne ended the inning. Reyes then flashed some more fancy leather at first in the third when he deftly scooped a low throw from Joe Tammaro at third for the final out. The Express scored a run in the third to pull within 6-5.
The Bandits scored single runs in the fourth and fifth to increase their lead to 8-5. Tammaro and Conaghan scored in the fifth to bring the Express back to within a run at 8-7 but Terence Marten was left stranded at second as the tying run. Reyes came in to pitch in the fifth. A big single by the Bandits leadoff hitter following two walks drove in 2 big insurance runs in the top of the sixth, The Bandits scored once more to take an 11-7 lead as the Express came up for their final at bat. Christian Agoglia led off with a walk and Green lined a one out single to center but the rally died there for the first Express defeat of the season.
The Express still has the best winning percentage in the division but stand behind the Joe Torre Bulldogs and Brooklyn Blazers in points based on total wins. The Express conclude their season this week and look to regain first place with single games against Ozone Howard on Tues and Wed, a game against the Blazers on Thurs and a doubleheader against the