Ludden baseball beats J-D, ESM

Through a daunting late-week stretch of road games, the Bishop Ludden baseball team had a chance to move up the OHSL Freedom division standings.

By far, the biggest step the Gaelic Knights took came in Thursday's game at Jamesville-DeWitt, where it cooled off the red-hot Red Rams in a 6-3 decision.

J-D had started 9-1, which included a perfect 5-0 league mark and was coming off back-to-back 15-7 wins over Chittenango and Cortland.

But Ludden pitching ace Ryan Poplawski blanked J-D over the first three innings, and the team as a whole didn't get rattled when the Rams took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

Instead, Ludden gave an immediate answer, with three runs in the top of the fifth to go in front for good. Two more runs in the top of the seventh offered some insurance, and Poplawski, allowing just five hits all afternoon, did not let the Rams add to its total.

As usual, John Rooney offered the biggest bat, hitting a solo home run on his way to improving his batting average to .632. Pat Brown drove in two runs, while Poplawski, Mike DeMaio and James Braithwaite joined Rooney with one RBI apiece.

Two days earlier, at East Syracuse-Minoa, the Gaelic Knights allowed a big early lead to get away, but regrouped enough at the end to beat the Spartans 10-9.

A five-run third inning was the key to Ludden's early surge, as it led 9-1 going into the bottom of the fourth inning and had Rooney on the mound to protect that margin.

However, ESM got to Rooney and his relief replacement, Braithwaite, for eight unanswered runs so that, by the bottom of the sixth, the game was tied 9-9.

Somehow, the Gaelic Knights absorbed all this and answered with a run in the top of the seventh. Poplawski came in and got the last three outs to get the save.

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