Seton Park was the scene of a showdown last Friday that took the High School of American Studies and Bathgate to extra innings. And it was ultimately decided by an errant throw that resulted in a heartbreaking loss for the Senators.
Yet, even for the shortstop on the wrong end of that throw — Julian Trebach — this is still something American Studies can celebrate.
“It feels great to take that team into extras,” Trebach said. “I know that we competed the entire game.”
Trebach made the final throw with one out in the bottom of the eighth that allowed a Bathgate runner to score, and to barely grab the 4-3 win.
“We had it,” Trebach said. “We were down (early), and we haven’t really come back from being down like that. We made almost every routine play. They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves.”
The Senators fall to 4-2 in the Bronx AA West Division, and it’s the first American Studies loss since opening day. Bathgate, on the other hand, remains unbeaten after six games, sitting atop the Bronx AA East Division.
This particular win was a much tighter affair than Bathgate was used to. Before American Studies, the closest any team has come to the Bulldogs was 10 runs.
In the top of the seventh, with American Studies down 3-1, it was Trebach who roped a clutch two-run double to knot the game at 3.
“I knew he going to throw me a curveball because he got me looking on two curves previously in the game,” Trebach said. “I was expecting it, and I got it, so I tried to stick the bat out there, do something and see what happened. I felt really happy to be the guy to come through for my team. I knew that I needed to be the one to do that.”
Trebach went 3-for-4 on the day, adding to his impressive .444 season average. The shortstop is also slugging .667, and is getting on-base at a lofty .583 clip.
Despite his error and the loss, Trebach saw positives.
“We need to keep the same mindset,” Trebach said. “We know that we’re a good team, and we know that we can’t take anything for granted. We’re practically the same team that we were last year, and Bathgate whipped us last year. We knew that we had to fight, but the team who plays harder will always win.”
For pitcher Ari Wigder, the loss to Bathgate meant frustration.
“For a couple of innings there, it really felt like we had them. It’s a little frustrating,” Wigder said. “They’re a great team, and it shows that we can compete with anyone.”
Wigder relieved starting pitcher Casey Press in the bottom of the third with the Senators trailing 3-1. Unstoppable on the mound, Wigder tallied five strikeouts during his four shutout innings as the lefty surrendered just three hits.
“I’d love to have gotten the win, but sometimes you just have to accept a loss,” Wigder said. “Casey came in and pitched a great game. But these guys are a good team, probably the best that we’ll face all year.”
After the game, Senators head coach Pete Nizzari had nothing but praise for Press and Wigder.
“We have two of the best lefties in the league this year,” Nizzari said. “They play hard, they’re good kids, and they’re good hitters too.”
Wigder not only has an ERA of 0.88 on the season, but he also is hitting a robust .444 with a .565 on-base percentage.
And American Studies is looking ahead to the postseason, looking for its first division title since 2016.
“It was a great game,” Nizzari said. “Our bottom of the order struggled, but we stayed in it and got the bats going. There is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s one game. You have to be 8-8 to make the playoffs. We’ll definitely be there.”
Wigder’s team just needs to take a one-game-at-a-time approach, he said.
“We face Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy twice” this week, Wigder said. “Hopefully we can get two wins there.”