If the Bishop Grimes baseball team had to wait (and wait and wait) for action to get underway in the 2014 season, at least it took full advantage of a great opportunity once the waiting ended.
The Cobras’ opener, as it turned out, came against Bishop Ludden last Friday as part of the Strike Out Lou Gehrig’s Disease Classic at NBT Bank Stadium.
And when Grimes beat the Gaelic Knights 4-0, it gave long-time head coach Mark Kelley his 200th career victory, one built upon strong pitching and timely hits at the plate.
On the mound where the Syracuse Chiefs work on a regular basis, Chris Schad was superb, going five innings and holding Ludden to two hits and one walk while striking out five.
Help arrived when the Cobras poked across a run in the top of the second inning off Gaelic Knights pitcher Zach Walser, Tom Steinberg scoring on a wild pitch. Then Grimes broke it open with three runs in the fifth as Chris Hendrick’s two-run single proved crucial.
Chris Mancuso added two hits and an RBI, with Joe Arrigo adding a pair of hits, including a seventh-inning triple. Meanwhile, Jack Rotundo was superb in his two innings of relief, earning four strikeouts against just one hit allowed.
A day later, the Cobras improved to 2-0, beating Jordan-Elbridge 10-2. Most of the damage was done in the second inning, when Grimes batted around and produced seven runs, more than enough for Steinberg, whose four shutout innings led to a win on the mound.
The real standout was Trevor Pokines, who in his varsity debut went three-for-three at the plate and produced a pair of RBIs. Hendrick and Wyatt Myers also drove in runs.
Weather permitting, Grimes would play three times early this week, all on the road, as it went to Weedsport on Monday, Pulaski on Tuesday and Tully on Wednesday afternoon. The Pulaski game carried primary importance, since it was the Blue Devils who eliminated the top-seeded Cobras last year in the Section III Class C playoffs.