Drury Nine Shows Spirit in Season-Ending Loss
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Between each inning Monday afternoon, the fourth-seeded Drury Blue Devils baseball team huddled together and let out a chant: “Family.”
And despite their 2-1 loss in their Division 2 quarter-final Western Mass game against No. 5 South Hadley, the Blue Devils stuck together and fought until the end.
After three scoreless innings at Joe Wolfe Field, the visitors struck first with an RBI double from Chris Jarrett that was hit to right center field, bringing home Justin Kleeberg to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth.
The Blue Devils went down in order in the bottom of the inning, and South Hadley struck again in the top of the fifth with an RBI triple from Ryan Kleszczynski, plating Alex Dragon to go ahead 2-0.
Matt Werenski then stepped up to the plate grounding out at first and Drury turned a double play; first baseman Shane Garvey fired one to catcher Kody Crosier to tag out Kleszczynki at home for two outs; the third came from a Jake Tatro strikeout.
Crosier led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to right field for the Blue Devils, followed by a Thane Preite single putting two on with no outs. The two were stranded, leaving the score at 2-0 after the fifth inning.
“We were putting the ball in play, we were getting guys on base, we just couldn’t get them in,” Drury senior Kirby Bryce said. “The two teams were butting heads until the fourth inning when they finally scored that run.”
The home team finally got on board in the sixth inning with an RBI double to left field from Bryce, bringing home Jake Tatro. Bryce was stranded on second after a Garvey strikeout and a groundout to first for Crosier, keeping the score 2-1.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Logan Rumbolt was walked by South Hadley’s Alex Dragon, keeping the Blue Devils in the game. Rumbolt stole second and was in scoring position, but South Hadley's Dragon got the strikeout to end the game.
He struck out four over seven innings while walking three and allowing six hits.
“He pitched a heck of a game, he kept us off balance, he did what he needed to do to win this ball game,” Drury coach Pat Boulger said of Dragon’s pitching. “I give a lot of credit there.”
“It’s not easy to lose this way, I thought we had a nice chance to make a run here and unfortunately it’s not in the cards, but these kids; they’re the greatest group of kids and I
say it all the time, but it’s the greatest honor to be a coach of Drury baseball because of those kids I have in the dugout. There are so many things that went on in the last couple of days and they just banded together, they’re incredible young men.”
It was an all-around team effort for the Drury blue Monday afternoon; Schuyler Robinson pitched four innings, striking out four before Jake Tatro took over striking out three; they each allowed one run.
“They worked very hard today,” Boulger said. “They battled; Schuyler came in and had some tough situations and battled himself out of it.”
The 2015 squad huddled together one last time in left-field after the loss and let out one last “Family” chant. The idea of coming together as a family is something that a lot of teams hope to aspire at the beginning of a season; some do and some don’t, but the Drury baseball squad is one that proved that they certainly did and the glue that held it all together Monday afternoon was junior catcher Kody Crosier.
Crosier came out Monday afternoon to finish what the Blue Devils started back in April after the death of his older brother Kyle on Sunday.
“Crosier had an amazing game, especially considering the circumstances,” teammate Kirby Bryce said. “He was putting the ball in play.”
Crosier went 2-for-3 at the plate and had Drury’s first hit in the second inning with a triple; he was supported by not only his Blue Devil’s family, but family, friends, and classmates in the stands that let him know they were behind him each at bat with a roar of cheers.
“Kody is an inspiration, not only to his teammates, but he should be an inspiration for everyone in this community,” Boulger said. “For a man to go through what he’s gone through in the last 24 hours and want to come out and play with his teammates and put out the production that he did today, I don’t know a lot of people that could have done that; he’s an amazing kid.”