BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Sunday marked opening day for the Jersey Pilots at Snyder Avenue Field in Berkeley Heights, where they faced the Staten Island Tide in a doubleheader. Mayor Joe Bruno threw out the first pitch. The Tide swept the Pilots by scores of 7-6 and 3-1. This was a rough first outing for the Pilots but the young talents on the field and up at bat promise a very hopeful season according to Pilots Coach Aaron Kalb.
The first game of the double header was a challenge for the Pilots. After the Tide’s first at bat the score had already escalated to 3-0 thanks to a double RBI single hit. The Pilots answered when Ian Glassman hit a RBI single. This ended the eventful first inning with the score of 3-1 Tide. The Pilots held off any more runs from the Tide in the second inning and Mike Caputo narrowed the score with an impressive RBI ending the inning with a score of 3-2. Again, letting no runs in during the top of the 3rd, the Pilots seemed determined to take the lead. Emil Zorrilla for the Pilots came up to bat and hit a pivotal RBI double taking the Pilots to a 4-3 lead. As the top of fourth came along the Tide was itching to get another run on the board. The next two batters for the Tide both hit RBI singles during this inning making the score 5-4. The Tide stole home to take a definitive 6-4 lead over the Pilots. The Pilots stepped up to the challenge presented to them and came back to tie the Tide 6-6 by the end of the 4th inning thanks to two RBI’s hit by Malcolm Kelsey and Emil Zorrilla. Top of the 5th and the Pilots brought in a new pitcher, Max Schmardel. Solid on the mound but soon the bases were loaded and a final RBI hit gave the Tide the go-ahead run they needed to clinch the win.
After shaking off the tough loss from the first game, the Pilots were back in action as the second game of their double header began. The Tide took a 1-0 lead after Fernando Rosa hit a RBI single in the 1st inning. Home base was untouched until the top of the 4th when the Tide had the bases loaded and a player was walked to create a 2-0 lead. The Pilots did not make it around the diamond until the 6th inning when Ian Glassman hit another RBI single to bring the score to 2-1. This created a slight amount of hope that the Pilots would prevail and win their first game of the season. The 6th inning came to a close at the score 2-1 Tide. The last run scored by the Tide was in the top of the seventh due to an error in the field that forced a RBI leaving the score at 3-1 Tide. The Pilots were not able to respond and the game ended 3-1 Tide.
Two tough opening day losses for the Pilots did not dissuade the team or Coach Kalb. The Pilots have plenty of time to make up for the defeats they dealt with on opening day. When talking to Coach Aaron Kalb after the game, he said that some of the players were a bit rusty because the many weeks off they had. He said that “the team could have attacked more in the count and thrown more strikes.” Those two elements are crucial and once the team applies them they are sure to win. Coach Kalb assured this is a great group of men who love the sport of baseball and will be sure to have a great season despite the two early losses.
Come support the Pilots at their next home game on Sunday June 8th against the Lehigh Valley Catz at 4:30 p.m. at Snyder Avenue Park in Berkeley Heights.