Playing its first of four games in five days and coming off three straight losses, Cardinal Gibbons needed a victory Tuesday night at home against Northern. Fortunately, senior pitcher Pete Bloomberg was up to the task, hurling six shutout innings in a 9-0 victory.
“Pete was so good tonight,” said Cardinal Gibbons coach Jim Liebler. “It was going to be hard to lose with the way he pitched.”
Bloomberg recorded four of his first six outs with srikeouts, settling in to finish the game with seven strikeouts and only giving up three hits. He had his fastball, change-up, and slider working all game, throwing the Northern hitters off balance and keeping them guessing.
“I was just trying to give my team a chance to win,” said Bloomberg. “Making sure I executed and didn’t put too much pressure on our offense, just get a couple of runs here and there.”
Not only was he getting it done on the mound, he helped his cause at the plate, going 2 for 3 with an RBI. His sacrifice bunt in the second inning moved runner Gray Betts over to third after an error and led to the Crusader’s first run of the game.
“You could argue that he was the biggest part of our offense too,” said Liebler. “He’s a super athlete. He hits the ball hard and he’s even getting a little luck out there.”
“I haven’t really been hitting a lot,” said Bloomberg. “But it’s good to be out there and seeing it from the other side.”
During its losing streak, the Crusaders saw any chance of a potential conference championship split with Jordan slip away. Having lost to Jordan twice this season, the Crusaders margin for error was razor thin heading into the homestretch. The loss to East Chapel Hill, coupled with Jordan’s victory over Hillside gave the Falcons the PAC 6 conference title outright last Friday.
“It’s hard to win baseball games,” said Liebler. “We were 13-1 before those three losses and you don’t take those things for granted.”
Another thing Liebler doesn’t take for granted is the fact that his club gets to continue to play while other teams, like Jordan, have finished up their season.
“You definitely want to play,” said Liebler. “When you don’t have games scheduled in the last week, it becomes hard because you don’t want to go three or four days without playing. You can get complacent or tentative and you don’t want that. You want to be fresh and sharp going into the playoffs.”
Bloomberg agreed with his coach and went out there and led by example on the mound. Bloomberg hopes the team can use this final week of the season to focus on the offense and smart decision making. But, more importantly, he wants the team to be focused prior to things picking up in the playoffs, saying, “we’re just trying to get into a rhythm and get ready for states because that’s the most important part of the season.”