With each round of the Section III Class B playoffs, the Christian Brothers Academy baseball team only seems to improve, as it won three times on its home field to earn a place in the championship game.
Right away, the no. 2 seed Brothers met with some danger in last Tuesday's opening-round game against no. 15 seed Solvay, needing a big fifth inning to rally past the Bearcats 9-4.
Solvay pitcher Nate Halliwell shut down CBA's potent lineup in the first four innings as the Brothers allowed runs in the second and fourth innings.
Down 2-0, CBA awoke in the bottom of the fifth. Helped by some Solvay defensive mistakes, it knocked Halliwell from the game and produced seven runs, the key blow being Pete Clarke's three-run triple.
Dan Sisto helped out, with two RBIs, while Mike Kitts and Stu Flynn each drove in one run. Kitts also pitched and earned the win in relief of Steve LaBerge, with Anthony Cirillo coming in late to earn the save.
In the Class B quarterfinals on Thursday, CBA took on no. 7 seed Sherburne-Earlville, who had beaten Marcellus 8-6 in the opening round.
Here, the Brothers did not wait for the late innings to erupt, getting five runs in the bottom of the first and breezing past the Marauders 9-3.
Dan Tartaglia, in the shadow of CBA's more famous hitters, had his own big moment when he went deep for a three-run home run that keyed the first-inning outburst. Clarke finished with two RBIs as Pat Weise and Bryant Moore also drove in runs. Mike Kitts got the win as he and Rob Cuomo split the pitching duties.
This led to Saturday's Class B semifinal against no. 6 seed Hannibal, who had gone to Westhill and knocked off the Warriors 5-4 in its quarterfinal, and was looking for to avenge two regular-season defeats to the Brothers.