Westchester baseball is Animals’ kingdom


The South Riverdale Animals, a 14-and-under travel baseball team playing in the Westchester Baseball Association (WBA), are having a spectacular summer with a record of 21-2-1.

With only a couple of weeks left before the season ends, it’s a good time for an in-depth look at the performance of the team.

The strength of the pitching staff has been its starters. The four-man rotation of Zack Farber, Jonathan Sherman, Kenneth Rodriguez and Connor McKeown has a combined 16-2 record.

Farber is 7-0 with a 1.12 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched). With 23 strikeouts and only seven walks, he has been able to keep runners off the bases and limit the number of pitches he throws per game. In fact, Farber leads the team with five complete games.

Sherman, who became a full-time starter after some relief appearances last year, boasts a 3-0 record with an impressive 1.71 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He is averaging one strikeout per inning pitched. He has also tossed a complete-game shutout this summer.

Rodriguez has been a starter and a reliever this season. Overall, he is 2-1 with three saves. A strong 2.13 ERA is complimented by an even more impressive WHIP of 0.83. “K-Rod” has lived up to his nickname with 29 strikeouts in only 25 innings.

McKeown, playing in his first season as an Animal, is 4-1. All four victories were complete games. With an ERA of 2.73 and a WHIP of 1.15, he has delivered consistent starts for his team.

High scores

With 224 runs scored in 24 games, the Animals have averaged just over nine runs per game. They’re batting .346 as a team with an on-base percentage (OBP) of .475.

Brian Alberts has been one of the team’s most consistent hitters all season. He leads the team with 26 RBIs, and has 13 extra-base hits in his 53 at-bats.

Not far behind is Adam Berni. “The Hulk”, as he is nicknamed by his teammates, has 20 RBIs.

Besides getting on base often, the Animals are also a very good base-stealing team.  They have stolen 187 bases while being caught only 14 times. Steven Stavrianopoulos and Danny Moynihan have 39 steals between them.

Stavrianopoulos also has the rare distinction of being hit by a pitch 10 times this season (the next closest player has only four).

Catcher Andrew McKeown, in his first season behind the plate, has provided steady defense and leadership. From blocking balls to throwing runners out, he has blossomed into a very good catcher.

Center fielder Jonathan Katzman runs down balls everywhere in the outfield, and keeps base runners from advancing too far. Ike Fields, Lucas Ludgate, and Griffin O’Keefe have all made very solid contributions in the infield and the outfield.

End of season

With only a few more WBA games left, the Animals are also excited about their impending journey to a tournament in Cooperstown, New York, the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

During the four-day trip, the team will compete not only in games, but also in a skills competition. In addition to all of the baseball playing, they will also have time to visit the Hall of Fame.

Add in a BBQ and a little souvenir shopping, and the time in Cooperstown will be something they remember for many years to come.