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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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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As A Cardinals Fan, I Let Albert Pujols Go A LONG Time Ago

They say time heals all wounds, but is that the case with St. Louis Cardinals fans and Albert Pujols?

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It's hard to properly encapsulate what Albert Pujols meant to the city of St. Louis. He's without a doubt in my mind, statistically, one of the greatest Cardinals players of all time right up there with names like Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, and Stan Musial. His list of accolades in a Cardinals uniform is borderline unbelievable: Rookie of the year in 2001, 9x All-Star (8 consecutive from 2003-2010), 3x MVP, 6x Silver Slugger and 2x Gold Glove winner. Not to mention, he was an integral piece of two World Series victories in 2006 and 2011. The recipe was right there to continue his career as a Cardinal and retire an immortalized legend, but things somehow took a turn for the worst after the 2011 World Series.

Pujols was up for free agency in 2012, and even though the city was celebrating its 11th World Series title (second-most of all time) but the future of the team was in the back of everyone's mind. For context, Cardinals Manager and 3x World Series Champion Tony La Rusa announced his retirement in early November, just days after the victory parade.

Nearly a month later, Pujols announces that he decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels for a record-breaking 10-year, $254 million contract. To say Cardinals fans were perplexed and shocked is an understatement. What could the Angels offer that St. Louis couldn't aside from more money and better weather, especially coming off of a World Series win? Regardless, the Cardinals never seized on the opportunity to sign Pujols to a contract extension, a mistake they didn't want to repeat with newly-acquired superstar Paul Goldschmidt.

I think what hurt most about Pujols leaving St. Louis as he was a Cardinals-bred player through and through. He was drafted in the 13th round out of the 1999 Amateur Draft by the Cardinals before making his MLB debut in 2001. That's been the Cardinal manifesto for nearly the entire Modern Era: draft or acquire young Minor League talent, develop them before implementing them into the Major League system. It felt downright hurtful that Pujols would opt for the bright lights of Los Angeles over a city that had every intention of supporting him

But with most things, time passed and Pujols eventually became a peripheral point for Cardinals fans like myself who would briefly re-enter their lives on the occasional article or ESPN highlight. So when it was revealed that the Angels will be playing the Cardinals in June at Busch for the first time since Pujols left, he was suddenly back on every Cardinals fan's radar again.

So Angels and Cardinals media outlets were abuzz, prompting this interview with Graham Bensinger during Spring Training and the way Pujols frames the negotiations were really peculiar to me. He said he didn't feel truly wanted by the franchise, but we'll never know the whole truth unless we were actually there. I do know one thing though, every Cardinals fan wanted Pujols to be a Cardinal for life and he would have gone down as one of the greats without a doubt in anyone's mind. He spent his best years in St. Louis though and helped bring us two World Series' and for that, I'll always be grateful.

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