When the Newburgh Red Storm first took the field four years ago, they were winless.
This year, they reached the Greater Hudson Valley Baseball League 16B Gold Bracket championship game. Despite suffering a 10-0 loss to Harrison Baseball on Sunday at Silver Lake Park, Coach Joel Fuentes said the group has plenty to be proud of.
“We came into this league thinking we could do some amazing things and we went 0-11. This group came along and did very well. They came a long way,” Fuentes said. “Our 3-hitter is a guy who plays football and hit eighth. He came along and became one of our better hitters and better outfielders. We see those improvements and that’s what makes it worthwhile.”
That doesn’t take away that the Red Storm had a long afternoon at the ballpark on Sunday, as Harrison touched up starting pitcher John Eliadis for five first-inning runs.
The Red Storm never recovered.
“I think in the back of our heads, maybe the moment got a little big,” Fuentes said. “It’s the championship. It’s a progression. A lot of times in the professional sports, you have to get there before you can take that next step. I think that may be the case with this team.”
This season marks a transition for the Red Storm as about half the players, several of which have been with the program since the beginning, will be aging out.
That makes the upcoming fall season even more important for the Red Storm.
“We really want to make some noise because after this it’s changing,” Fuentes said.
Scheduling for the fall season is slated to take place until Tuesday, but teams can begin play on Saturday. In addition to the older players getting one more run, the younger players will have an opportunity to develop.
This summer’s playoff run also was a valuable experience.
“I think it’s great for some of the younger guys,” Fuentes said. “One player who’s young, who is used to dominating his age level is playing up. It’s a world of experience. He gets to play with high caliber guys and he gets a chance to educate himself.”