Belge Dazzles As St. John’s Dominates Hofstra, 12-4

Belge Dazzles As St. John’s Dominates Hofstra, 12-4

The Red Storm cruised to its 9th consecutive victory.
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The bats were on fire in a cross-town clash for the Johnnies in Hempstead on Wednesday, as the Red Storm routed Hofstra at University Field by a score of 12-4. This victory marked the ninth consecutive win for St. John’s, the longest winning streak since the team opened the season with eight straight wins.

Although the Pride played close throughout the first four innings, St. John’s broke through with 8 runs in the fifth, as the Red Storm was able to burn through three Hofstra pitchers in just 4.1 innings.

St. John’s 3B John Valente reached base 4 times throughout the course of the day, going 3-for-4 with a sac fly, a walk, 2 RBIs and 3 runs scored, as the graduate student has now reached base in 48 consecutive games, extending the longest streak in the country.

While the bats were certainly impressive for St. John’s on Wednesday, coach George Brown’s pitching staff put on a mesmerizing display for the majority of the game, as Hofstra only scored in one frame, plating four runs in the bottom of the sixth. St. John’s starter Jeff Belge earned his second victory in as many starts for the Red Storm, as the lefthander recorded 6 K’s and gave up just 2 hits over 5.0 IP.

During his last outing against Iona, Belge took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but on Wednesday, a leadoff double from Hofstra CF Steven Foster broke up a potential bid after just one pitch. Belge would go on to give up his only walk of the day later in the inning, but the left-handed fireballer quickly settled down, as he would only surrender a single in the third inning en route to retiring 12 of the final 13 batters that he faced.

With yet another scoreless outing under his belt, Belge earned his third win of the season, and has successfully lowered his ERA from 4.64 to 3.24 in just two starts. Considering he has retired 33 of his last 39 batters, Belge has solidified himself as a difference maker in the St. John’s rotation.

Belge, who is one of only three members of the St. John’s pitching staff to be used in the rotation and in relief this year, made his 6th start of the season on Wednesday. And although his 36.2 IP pale in comparison to his rotation counterparts, the 6-foot-5 Southpaw has held opposing batters to a collective .150 batting average this season, .51 points lower than any other member of the starting rotation.

However, the Syracuse native has yet to be tested in BIG EAST play this season, as Belge has mainly held down the Red Storm’s midweek non-conference contests. His next scheduled start is next Wednesday at home against LIU Brooklyn, as the weekend rotation of Sean Mooney, Kevin Magee and Michael LoPresti is slated to face longtime rival Georgetown during the Red Storm’s 3 game set at Jack Kaiser Stadium this weekend.

Cover Image Credit: Michael Kelly

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Listen Up Sports Fans, It's Time To Give The Mets The Attention They Rightfully Deserve

The New York Mets struggled mightily last season, and with new front office management, here's how the Mets are shaping up for next season.

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The New York Mets were at the bottom of the pack in the MLB last season. They look like they are starting to shake things up a lot, but we won't know if that helps until the season starts. Here's how things are shaping up to look.

1. The Mets hired a new General Manager who is very active

The New York Mets recently hired a new General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen. After his hire, many Mets fan were skeptical of him since he was an agent who represented MLB players and had no general management experience. However, right off the bat (pun intended), Van Wagenen is shaking up the Mets roster with an early offseason trade, and likely several more to come.

2. But hopefully not too active

There is a perfect balance to a general manager's activity level. Too few trades and signings mean the team is likely to do just as poorly as last season, and the fans won't be too happy about that, especially because the fans are from New York. Yikes. On the other hand, too many trades mean that you're inevitably going to trade away a player that you shouldn't have and you'll get next to nothing in return, again leaving New York sports fans angered, and that's something you just never want to do. As per trade rumors regarding the New York Mets, it seems as if the new GM is coming close to pulling off a bad trade surrounding Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, or Amed Rosario.

3. Robinson Cano is a crucial piece to the puzzle for the Mets

The Mets recently acquired all-star second baseman Robinson Cano and arguably the best closing pitcher in baseball last season, Edwin Diaz. While Diaz is a key addition to the roster, Robinson Cano is really the centerpiece. Cano spent many seasons playing for the New York Yankees, so he has experience playing in New York — good experience, too. He was an all-star four out of his eight seasons with the New York Yankees, so he definitely has shown his skill set off in New York.

4. But things could turn sour with Robinson Cano

Last season, Robinson Cano was suspended for 80 games for using performance-enhancing drugs. If he did that while playing in Seattle, it would be easy to imagine how quickly things could take a turn for the worse if he is playing in New York.

5. There are still many good free agents to sign

While some free agents like Patrick Corbin have recently been taken off the market, there still remains a large number of quality players who have yet to sign with a team. Perhaps the biggest free agent name in any sport is Bryce Harper. The Mets should make a serious push to sign Bryce Harper which would definitely smooth things over with New York fans if the new GM decides to follow through with that aforementioned bad trade.

6. But time and money are running out

The Mets have little time left to meet with these big free agents since many other teams have already had meetings with Harper and other players like Manny Machado. Additionally, it doesn't help that the Mets only have limited money left to sign players when they still need to focus on resigning some of their own.

The New York Mets have made some very positive changes this offseason, but there are plenty of opportunities for negative changes, too. We'll just have to wait and see how the rest of the offseason goes and pray for a good 2019 season for the New York Mets.

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