Thirteenth-seeded John Jay’s baseball squad gave it everything it had in its Section 1 Class A opening-round contest at No. 4 Nyack on May 21, leading 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth inning.
Joe Biancone gave John Jay that lead in its half of the eighth, when he got on by a fielder’s choice and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
“Joe scored on one of the most heads up plays I’ve ever seen, and getting the lead was a huge morale boost for all of us going into the bottom of the eighth,” John Jay pitcher Ryan Bryggman said.
Unfortunately for John Jay, host Nyack came back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning with a two-out single to garner a 3-2 victory.
“You probably can’t lose with a worse feeling than a walk-off so that was tough, but these boys are resilient, which they have shown all your long,” John Jay coach Geoff Curtis said. “I think they’ll use that, for those that are underclassmen to get ready for next year, and our seniors will use it as a life lesson to not take anything for granted, because things end, often before you are ready for them.”
Bryggman struck out 10, allowed just two earned runs and scattered four hits in 7.1 innings pitched.
“Personally, I think that was one of the best games I’ve ever pitched in my life,” Bryggman said. “It was bittersweet overall because we had a tough loss in the end. But, along with the adrenaline of it being a playoff game against a solid team, my arm felt better than it had all year and so I had good velocity that I was able to maintain throughout the game as well as mix in my off-speed which I had working well.”
Curtis said that Bryggman understood his role this year as one of John Jay’s senior leaders and his performance against Nyack showed that.
“His game was everything you can expect when you have someone in that role, actually well beyond anything you could expect,” Curtis said. “It was one of the best outings we ever have had in a sectional game.”
Brett Paulsen (2 for 4, double, RBI), Chris Orifici (run), Stephen Fisher (single) and Cole Borowitz (single) also contributed to John Jay’s cause.
The experience of playing for John Jay (10-11-1) is something Bryggman said he is going to miss.
“I’m going to miss playing with my best friends,” Bryggman said. “We’ve all become family and it’s hard to accept the fact that it’s all over.”
A close-knit family that had to deal with tragedy when coach Joseph McGee Jr., a member of the John Jay Hall of Fame, passed away on May 2.
“This was one of my favorite seasons simply because of the growth that these young men displayed often in the face of unusual diversity,” Curtis said. “Their maturity and profound kindness that they showed toward the McGee family after we lost Papa Joe and in the preseason months when they knew he was terminally ill, were all things that continue to impress me. They weren’t playing like they wanted to so they fixed that as well and even in defeat on the last day you could tell how much it meant to them and yet they maintained their composure and poise.”