On September 22nd Team Orange Crush etched its name into the history books. After eight innings of intensely competitive softball, Team iMentor delivered Harlem RBI their first loss in their 19 year history, with a score of 2-1. The game, which may go down as one of the greatest upsets in inter-organization softball history, was held on a beautiful evening at Harlem RBI’s legendary Field of Dreams in Harlem.
Going into the game, the iMentor staff had mixed feelings about the team's ability to replicate the success it has found on the kickball field. “Kickball is one thing, but softball is whole different beast,” said Program Coordinator Benjamin Ramos. However, the team’s spirit was high thanks to the great leadership of Courtney McKeown and motivational emails sent from Team Motivator/Program Coordinator, Amy Reynolds.
It would later be said that Team iMentor had the game won as soon as they arrived as a team in their trademark orange shirts, but at that point there was still a lot of softball to be played.
Harlem RBI did not take long to show that they were bringing some serious offensive power and jumped out to an early first inning lead, but inspirational defense by Nick Ortiz, Brooke Bryant, Waine “Wam Bam” Tam and winning pitcher, Paul Nehring kept the Harlem RBI hitters at bay for the rest of the game.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Mike O’Brien finally found an answer to Harlem RBI’s tricky pitching, knocking in Paul Nehring for the game tying run. That run signaled a turn in the tides and iMentor was brimming with confidence.
“Who would have thought we would be within striking distance that late in the game?” said CEO Mike O’Brien.
After seven innings the game was tied and extra innings were needed to separate the two teams.
Orange Crush’s push for the win was cemented by clutch hitting by designated hitters, Alexander James and Esther Widlanski. It was Paul Nehring, though, that drove in pinch runner, Kim Hendler for the game winning run in the top of the eighth, sending Orange Crush into a frenzy of cheers and high fives.
Harlem RBI was not going down without a fight. They threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, but more top notch defense from Nick Ortiz, Paul Nehring and Mike O’Brien secured the hard fought victory for Team iMentor.
The first loss in the organization’s history was difficult for Harlem RBI to swallow, but the ever gracious hosts responded by declaring “you have definitely earned an invitation back.”
Though the two organizations competed against each other for the night, they are joined together as leaders in the field of youth development. With these two quality organizations working together the future of NYC youth looks ever brighter.
Want to join the fun? iMentor is hiring!