With the bases loaded and junior shortstop Jake Barnes at the plate, the Atoms knew they were within one hit of taking the lead on the 6th ranked team in the Northern Region. Barnes did not let this opportunity go to waste as he drilled a 3-2 pitch past the Robinson shortstop to drive in all three runners.
“That’s why Jake Barnes is our number three hitter,” said head coach Ron Abrigo.
That hit, coupled with a stellar performance by senior pitcher Ryan Schubert, earned an Atoms 3-2 victory over the Robinson Rams on Thursday, March 18.
Schubert pitched a complete game allowing only two runs on two hits, while striking out eight.
“I think I pitched very well and I had a lot of command on all my pitches,” said Schubert. “I threw a lot of strikes because I know I have a solid defense that will make plays for me.”
“That is the capability we know Schubert has and there was no better team to do it against than number six in the region,” said Abrigo.
Robinson jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and tacked on another run in the top of the sixth to make it 2-0 heading into the Atoms second-to-last set of at-bats. AHS wasted no time in mounting their comeback.
After senior Justin Robson led off the inning with a single, senior Robert Potts was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Senior Nathan Clayton followed with a walk to load the bases, setting the stage for Barnes’ bases-clearing double.
“[The team] played very well,” said Abrigo. “We came together as expected because this performance was really four years in the making.”
Following the win, the Atoms knew that there was still room to improve.
“We need to continue to hit the ball and be more aggressive, said Abrigo. “We also can’t be making baserunning mistakes.”
The Atoms looks to succeed in a very difficult Patriot District this year, with West Springfield, Woodson and Lake Braddock all projected to be very good.
“We definitely want a district championship this year and hopefully we go deep in the region,” said Schubert.
The team will rely heavily on their senior leadership to win them games. This year, the varsity team has nine seniors; Schubert, Robson, Potts, Clayton, pitcher Nathan Reel, outfielder Stefan Marquardt, outfielder Marquis Perez, outfielder Michael Lazar and catcher Kevin Fields.
The team’s next game is at home on March 25 against Lee High School. The Lancers are 0-1 this year after finishing at the bottom of the Patriot District last year.
Following the game against Lee, the team will travel to Hilton Head, South Carolina to play a tournament over the Spring Break vacation.
They will begin with a game against Langley and hope to advance deep in the tournament.
“I think this year’s team has the potential to improve upon our prior year’s record and be a competitor in the district and region tournaments,” said junior starting pitcher Ryan Keck.