May 1, 2019

Post-Grad Blake Bringing Skill, Competitive Fire As Hun Baseball Produces Sizzling 13-1 Start

DOING IT ALL: Hun School baseball player Andy Blake displays his hitting form in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, post-graduate and Columbia-bound Blake displayed his all around-skills as Hun defeated the Hill School (Pa.) 12-0. The right-hander pitched a complete game shutout, striking out eight and yielding just four hits. At the plate, Blake went 2-for-3, legging out a pair of doubles and contributing two RBIs. The Raiders, now 13-1, play at Seton Hall Prep on May 3, face Steinert on May 4 at Veterans Park in Hamilton, and then start play in the Mercer County Tournament. (Photo by Emilie Petrone)

By Bill Alden

Andy Blake demonstrated his all-around diamond brilliance as the Hun School baseball team hosted the Hill School (Pa.) last Wednesday.

The lanky postgraduate right-hander pitched a complete game shutout as Hun prevailed 12-0, striking out eight and yielding just four hits.

At the plate, Blake went 2-for-3, legging out a pair of doubles and contributing two RBIs.

“I just tried to use all of my stuff, execute, hit my spot,” said Blake, reflecting on his mound outing.

“They are a good team, they are going to put bat on the ball. There were a few times where I was a little shaky and I just had to refocus and came back better, stronger.”

At the plate, Blake focuses on keeping things simple. “I just try to see fastball early in the count and hop on it,” said Blake. “I don’t really like to go late in the counts. If I do go late, then I just try to put the ball in play for the team.”

After helping Hopewell Valley enjoy a big season last year as it won the Mercer County Tournament, Blake is relishing being on another powerhouse this spring.

“Everyone on this team can play wherever and can do a job,” said Blake, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs as Hun defeated Somerville 8-1 last Thursday to improve to 13-1. “We have faith, no matter who is in, that they can get the job done.”

Blake was welcomed with open arms by his new teammates. “They have been great to me,” said Blake. “We are brothers, it is like I have been on the team for four years. There is a great atmosphere over there. I really enjoy it, I made the right decision.”

Making another big decision, Blake has committed to attend Columbia University and play for its baseball program. 

“I wanted a very good academic school while at the same time, the baseball also needs to be really good,” said Blake. “I feel like Columbia was a good match.”

Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto feels very good to have Blake for a season.

“Andy is incredible, he is such a bulldog,” said Monfiletto. “He is very gifted, he is a very talented, but the thing that you can’t measure from him is how well he competes and how much he competes. He relishes those moments in anything he does. We did a three-on-three basketball tournament in January and his team won. That’s what he provides.”

The Hun players compete hard behind Blake when he toes the rubber. “I think there is a confidence behind Andy when he is pitching because he pounds the zone, he works fast,” said Monfiletto. “He also makes plays on the mound too.”

Pounding out 11 hits in the win over Hill, the Raiders did some good work with the bat in the win.

“I thought we did a much better job with two strikes; we got the barrel on some balls and adjusted,” said Monfiletto.

“Ben Petrone had a nice double. Jake Sloss had some big hits. That was great, that was a big spot. We made in at-bat adjustments, which is difficult to do and we did that today.”

With Hun starting play in the MCT next week and the state Prep A tournament on the horizon, Monfiletto believes his players have to be a little sharper to come through in big spots,

“We are going to play teams that are really well coached and everybody gets better as the season goes on,” said Monfiletto, whose team plays at Seton Hall Prep on May 3 and faces Steinert on May 4 at Veterans Park in Hamilton before getting into MCT action.

“We are better too but we have to button up the little things that can sometimes us cost us the game. We have gotten lucky in some situations.”

Blake, for his part, concurs with Monfiletto’s analysis. “We can do some big damage,” asserted Blake. “We just need to play our game and if we do that, we are going to be tough to beat.”