Ramapo opens the season with a win and CL7 in mind

Senior Kyle Purvin threw four shutout innings for Ramapo, which opened the season with a 13-0 win over Dumont in the season opener for both teams.

DUMONT – Ramapo baseball has 12 seniors on its roster this year, but it is playing this season for the one who could not be with them. Charlie Landers was a member of the Class of 2024 who fought a courageous battle against cancer before succumbing about one month before the start of the 2022 season. Charlie Landers wore No. 7, so CL7 is and his favorite baseball related saying, “Own the Mound” will be everywhere as the Green Raiders get rolling in what is a promising season.

“Every day we try to come out here and be like Charlie. Charlie gave 100-percent all the time. He was doing sprints with us freshman year when he was going through treatment,” said Kyle Purvin, the starting and winning pitcher in the season opener, a 13-0 win on the road at Dumont on Monday. “He is so inspiring. His phrase was ‘Own the Mound,’ and that is really what I try to do every time I go out there; be like him.”

Purvin (4 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 6 K, W) was crisp right from his first pitch and he had a comfortable lead to work with before he even threw it. Ramapo sent eight hitters to the plate in the opening inning and scored four times to take the lead for good. After Dumont starter Matt Mertz retired the leadoff batter, Payne Teel hit the first of his two doubles before Charlie Wingfield (2-for-2, 3 R, RBI, 2 BB) and Brendan McHugh (1-for-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB) each drew walks.

Teel scored when he stole third and advanced the final 90 feet on a throwing error before senior Aidan Hayward drove in the first run of his career with a sacrifice fly. A dropped flyball allowed McHugh to score and Owen Wilson’s RBI single gave Ramapo a 4-0 lead just a half inning into the new season.

Freshman James Sutera drew a walk in his first high school at bat.

The ribbie was a long time coming for Hayward, who endured three separate surgeries that caused him to miss each of the last two seasons in their entirety.

“It feels great just to be out here playing baseball. I was primarily as pitcher, but I had my UCL repaired at the end of my sophomore year and that pretty much shut the pitching down and I missed my entire junior year and with the injuries I have pretty much been focusing on hitting,” said Hayward, now the designated hitter who added his first varsity home run, a two-run shot to centerfield in the top of the sixth inning. “Last year just watching from the dugout, you just want to be out there so bad, but you are root for you teammates and try to find a way to contribute, but it is definitely better to be out there contributing on the field.”

The Raiders had four hits and drew four walks in the first two frames and grabbed an 8-0 lead. Both of Teel’s doubles came in the first two innings and his second one with one out in the second inning drive in one of Ramapo’s four second inning runs. Although he was out there day in and day out last season without complaint, Teel played through nagging injuries that have now healed and the senior centerfielder finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored, an RBI and two stolen bases.

“This senior class is a good group. We have some experienced pitchers with Kyle Purvin leading the staff and Payne Teel is going to be the comeback player in North Jersey. A lot of people don’t know that he played hurt for most of last year then all of the preseason stuff comes out and he is kind of a forgotten man,” said Garrison Ward, Ramapo’s co-head coach. “We love it because we know what we have here and when he is fully healthy I am not sure there are many better hitters around. Aidan Hayward coming back is big. He’s been unlucky with injuries, but we have been pulling for him to get back. He can’t play the field, but we will take his bat any day of the week.”

After missing the last two seasons due to injury, senior Aidan Hayward homered in his first varsity start for Ramapo.

Owen Wilson (1-for-3, RBI), Robbie DeBello (1-for-3) and Jayden Amadeo (1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 SB) all contributed at the plate for Ramapo and senior Carson DeMarco (2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K, BB) pitched two scoreless frames to close the game out.

Josiah Guzman (1-for-3), Ethan Chiaramonte (1-for-3) and Dylan Mendez (1-for-2) had the hits for Dumont and freshman James Sutera drew a walk in his first varsity at bat for the Huskies (0-1).

So Ramapo is off and running on the new season with the memory of Charlie Landers providing inspiration and motivation.

“He’s with us every day. And everything we do we think of him. When we run out to the field we say ‘Own the Mound,’ we added some patches on our jersey this year and we did some things on our field in honor of him,” said Ward. “He was just an amazing kid from an amazing family and we would trade everything just to have him in that dugout with us.”