Kendal Chapman was not feeling her best.
The Bronx Science junior right fielder was battling a stomach ailment as she and the rest of the Wolverines prepared for a rematch with divisional rival Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy. Two weeks earlier, RKA handed Bronx Science its lone loss of the season. so there was no way — stomach bug or no stomach bug — Chapman was going to miss out on a chance to even the score with the Tigers.
So with Science already up two runs entering the second inning, Chapman delivered the pivotal hit of the game, stroking a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the second to key an eight-run inning as Science rolled to a 21-3 victory at Harris Field.
The problem with the Wolverines’ first matchup with RKA is they feel a victory was snatched from their grasp after they scored five runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 10-6 lead in that game.
But when the teams were forced to leave the field at 6 p.m., because of a permit issue, the bottom of the sixth was not allowed to be played and the score reverted back to the previous inning. That awarded RKA a 6-5 victory.
It’s a decision that still sticks in Science’s craw.
“We talked about that briefly, so they knew the stakes of the game,” Science coach Thomas Morris said. “But it wasn’t necessarily about that today. It’s just that we’re on a roll. We’re just playing softball the right way. We’re pitching, playing defense, and we’re getting timely hitting. All the pieces are working well right now. But I think that loss to RKA just made us sharper.”
The Wolverines were sharp all right. They scored in every inning and were up 16-0 before RKA managed to get on the board. Chapman did the bulk of the damage with her grand slam and six RBIs, while Alexandra Feeley plated four runs and scored four times. Fiona Sullivan chipped in with two hits, three runs scored and two RBI.
Judging by her performance, you would never have known Chapman was not at her best.
“I have a little stomach bug,” Chapman said. On the home run “the whole time I was running around, I was sick. So on my second hit, I asked Sinaia (Keith Lang) to run for me.”
RKA, which is new to the Public School Athletic League’s A division this year, is enjoying a solid season themselves, going 6-5 into the final week of the regular season.
But Bronx Science clearly is the cream of the A Division, currently sporting a 10-1 record with three games to play. And since that loss to RKA on April 20, the Wolverines have defeated their next six opponents by a combined score of 106-21. That includes a 10-4 victory over a solid Lehman team, which followed the victory over RKA.
So did that loss to RKA awaken a sleeping giant?
“We’re in a good groove now. We just have to keep it up,” Morris said. “It’s pitching, defense and smart at bats. That’s the formula. That was the biggest difference between this game and the first one. We were a lot more patient at the plate. We were a lot more disciplined. We’re just in a good groove right now.”
With the division title all but locked up now, the Wolverines have begun to peek ahead, just a little, to the playoffs, which begin later this month.
“It’s a different world when it comes to the playoffs,” Morris said.
“You have five teams in Manhattan that all only have one loss and that’s what’s next. That’s what we’re getting ready for.”