July 31, 2012
Jackie Robinson RBI is World Series-bound
CF/P Abe Groomes and his Jackie Robinson RBI teammates are off to the RBI World Series. (Photo: Jason Bernstein)
By Jason Bernstein Editorial Director
On paper, Ron Hayward felt his Jersey City (Jackie Robinson) RBI Mets team stood superior to the rest of the competition in the RBI U.S. Northeast Regionals.
But the team wasn't going to emerge victorious as a result of the names penned on the lineup card. Instead it would have to come together on the diamond.
Despite some rough patches early on, the talented group would reach its potential and will now compete in Major League Baseball's RBI Senior World Series in Minnesota this week.
"I think we probably had the better standout players from around the county," said Hayward who coached Marist to a Hudson County and Non-Public, B championships this spring. "Everyone knows who you are, but don't live off your talent because of what you did in the county, let's try to show everyone that you are truly (the best). I think that was the biggest thing for them to understand. We have so much talent, but the hardest thing for me as a coach was making them understand you still have to play as a team."
Even with the presence of an All-State pitcher in Kenny Roder and a handful of All-County players, the road to Minnesota proved not to be a smooth one. A loss to rival and defending regional champion the Jersey City (Pershing Field) RBI Yankees on July 14, served as the wakeup call the Mets would need.
"I told them we can't lose any more," Hayward said. "I said we're not losing any more, this was our last loss and you've got to get it together. They just started dominating.
"When we got to the Regionals, they understood they couldn't play around, after losing the first game to the Jersey City Yankees, they started to understand and not take it easy. I'm not surprised, the talent came together."
Once that talent came together, Hayward's squad proved unstoppable as it reeled off five straight wins. The Mets' run climaxed with convincing 15-5 and 11-5 victories over Harlem RBI on July 22 at McCombs Dam Park in the Bronx.
Jersey City Jackie Robinson got homers from designated hitter Mike Doran (St. Peter's Prep), Jose Gonzalez (College of Rhode Island/Marist) and Danny Mirabel (Marist) in the 11-5 clincher.
Gonzalez, a shortstop, anchors an infield which features 3B Mike Rodriguez (St. Anthony), 2B Derek Edge (Marist), 1B Josh Felix (Elizabeth) and catcher Josh Salgado (Marist).
Mirabel sees plenty of at-bats at both third and in an outfield, which includes Andres Santana (Marist) and Will Rivera (University Charter) in the corners and John Journett (Kean/Marist) and Abe Groomes (Hoboken) in center field.
Roder, the electric lefty from Hoboken, threw a complete game in the 15-5 win. He headlines a pitching staff with Doran, Groomes and Mark Peralta (Marist).
RBI Senior World Series begins on Thursday, August 2 when Jersey City faces Think Detroit PAL, the East Regional champions at 11 a.m. and Harrisburg RBI, the Mid-Atlantic Regional champions at 5:30 p.m.
The RBI Senior World Series concludes on Sunday, August 5 at 1 p.m. at Target Field (home of the Minnesota Twins) in a game that will be televised on August 6 on MLB Network at 11:30 a.m.
Danny Mirabel is an offensive threat, who plays multiple positions for Jersey City RBI. (Photo: Jason Bernstein)
2012 Jersey City RBI Mets Under-18 Roster
|Mike Doran||St. Peter's Prep||DH/P|
|Jose Gonzalez||College of Rhode Island*||SS|
|John Journett||Kean University*||CF|
|Will Rivera||University Charter||RF|
|Mike Rodriguez||St. Anthony||3B|
|Head Coach: Ron Hayward|
|*Played for Marist High School in 2011|