The Friends Academy baseball team broke out the bats Tuesday afternoon.
The Quakers had scratched across a pair of runs early against Lawrence, but the squad found a rhythm at the plate in the fifth inning, racking up six runs and cruising to a 10-0, six-inning victory in Nassau countywide.
“We’d been able to get some runs, play some small ball, but we’ve got guys on this team who are going to get the floodgates to open eventually,” said shortstop Joey Horne, who connected on an RBI double in the game-changing inning. “It was only a matter of time.”
Friends (5-1) set the tone from the get-go thanks to the strong pitching of junior righthander Alex Carden. He tossed a complete game, allowing two hits and striking out seven.
“I started throwing my two-seam and I got it running a little bit, so I relied on that a lot,” Carden said. “I was able to counter that with the curve and my teammates stepped up behind me.”
Carden worked out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings, as the Quakers made plays when needed. Catcher Jared Toby caught a runner stealing in the top of the fourth and Friends made a forceout at home with one out in the fifth to keep Lawrence (4-3) from getting on the board.
“It’s kind of back-breaking on an offense when a pitcher can come back and shut you down, so that was a tribute to [Alex],” Friends coach Mike Damm said. “And when you have a catcher that can throw, that sets the table, and I think everything was really rolling for us.”
Damm added that the Quakers’ strong play in the field helped spark their performance at the plate, building on that confidence and giving Carden some breathing room down the stretch. Friends batted aroundin the fifth, totaling four hits and taking advantage of two Lawrence errors.
“It was like breaking the dam open and as soon as that happened we got a bit more comfortable,” Damm said. “It felt good today, and everyone was relaxed.”
The Quakers wrapped up the win in the sixth, taking a 10-run lead on Toby’s two--run homer to leftfield. It was a confidence-boosting game for Friends and a performance the team is hoping to replicate for the rest of the season.
“We’re just trying to come out here and win games,” Carden said. “This was good for us, everyone was up on their feet, seeing the ball and hitting as a team.”