STAC Defeats Lincoln 11-5: The View From the Dugout

(Image credit: STAC Athletics)

(Image credit: STAC Athletics)

Jeremy Silber, Contributor

POMONA, N.Y. – The St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans defeated the Lincoln University Lions 11-5 Friday, and I got to watch it all from the dugout at Clover Stadium.

I asked first baseman Greg DiGaro what’s on his agenda, and he said, “Get some dubs,” As in wins.

At the beginning of each game, the resting Spartans gave their starters a Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creature-style roll call. They went to the bullpen to cheer their teammates’ names starting with center fielder David Potenza. Potenza saluted his teammates before they went all around the field ending with starting pitcher Aaron Dona.

Dona threw 4.2 innings, striking out 12 while giving up four earned runs on three hits and three walks. 

After Dona was removed due to an injury, Coach Jon Garvey gathered everyone for a motivational speech.

“Look at that guy down there!” Garvey shouted. “That guy down there is hurt! So let’s get some runs back and win this (game) for him!” 

Matthew Polemini relieved the injured Dona. Polemini threw two innings, striking out three while allowing one run on one hit and three walks. 

To secure the win, Bryan Krolikowski came in the seventh and pitched a scoreless 2.1 innings. Krolikowski struck out two batters while allowing one hit and one walk in his first win of the season.  

The Spartans tallied their first runs in the bottom of the fourth when DH Kyle LaGrutta stroked an RBI double to center field to give STAC a 1-0 lead. 

Interestingly, after CJ Cumbo scored on LaGrutta’s double, he came back to the dugout with a bloody nose. He claimed that it was due to the weather change and when Coach Del Rosario started grilling him about it, Cumbo joked  “I look like Rambo!”

Billy Minnett then hit a two-run single to score LaGrutta and Greg DiGaro home for a 3-0 lead.

After the Spartans fell behind 4-3, Nick O’Connor reached first on an error, and second on a throw to bring a run home and tie the game.

The go-ahead run came when DiGaro scored on an error by the Lions third baseman when Kyle DeCrese hit into a fielder’s choice.

Though the Lions would tie the game in the top of the seventh inning, the Spartans answered right back with six runs in the bottom of the seventh. 

The seventh-inning massacre started when DiGaro hit a two-run double with the bases loaded,  bringing Cumbo and Andrew Guerra home and advancing O’Connor to third.

O’Connor and DiGaro would score when DeCrese reached second on an error by the Lions’ center fielder.

Drew Jemison brought the final two runs in on a single to center field.  

With this win, the Spartans got their thirteenth win of the season to bring them to .500 on the season, an even 13-13.