Heralds look to restore baseball tradition

Apr. 24—When it comes to tradition, baseball seems to honor it better than any other sport.

Alvin Rodriguez said it's been his goal to restore the tradition to the Saint John Heralds program.

"I graduated 20 years ago, and we had some pretty tough teams back then," the coach said. "I told the guys I want to bring that kind of baseball back that coach [Dave] Rozzo taught us. He was taught by coach [Bill] Schmidt, and we want to make it a tradition for Saint John to be a baseball school and I think we're on the way to doing that."

Rodriguez is now in his fourth year as the Heralds skipper.

Rozzo is an assistant coach, and he has a group of players making the coaching staff feel like it's the early 2000s again — maybe even better.

Last week, Saint John

defeated three county opponents — Pymatuning Valley 11-6, Edgewood 11-7 and Geneva 10-9.

Those are programs that for years the Heralds would struggle against.

This season, though, is different.

"When I was playing, I don't think we ever beat both of those teams in the same year," Rodriguez said. "To do it in the same week is fantastic."

The Heralds have been not just tough on the local competition. After getting humbled a bit during a trip to South Carolina to start the season, Saint John has won eight in a row and sits at 9-3 overall.

The team is led by a couple of juniors, Will Anderson and Ryan Williams, but what Rodriguez says is the real strength of the team is how cohesive they are.

"We're really gelling as a team," he said. "I think that's our calling card. Our guys play together well and we're a really tight knit group. We're just good teammates to each other, we're greater than the sum of our parts."

But the most glaring aspect about the Heralds is the hitting and the runs they put on the board.

In the last seven games, Saint John has scored at least 10 runs in each game.

In the win over the Eagles on Saturday, Saint John tallied two runs in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory.

Bryson Vennitti and Brady Cole both singled.

After a wild pitch, AJ Henslee's single brought both runners home for the win.

Two players are hitting over 400 — Ezra Campbell (.424) and Ryan Williams (.414).

Vennitti, Cole and Will Anderson are all hovering around .370.

On the mound, Williams has a 2.45 ERA, while Anderson checks in at 4.03.

Aaron Wychock

has also given Rodriguez a strong arm in late-inning relief.

The Heralds' scheduled game against Lordstown on Tuesday was rained out.

They'll be at Fairport Harding today, return

to Smith Field on

Thursday against Chalker and close out the week with a doubleheader at Maplewood on Saturday.