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Poplawski leads Ludden past ESM

In pursuit of a third consecutive Section III championship, the Bishop Ludden baseball team would need to pull it off in the Class A division -- this after winning back-to-back Class B titles in 2006 and '07.

Just getting out of the first round was stressful enough, as the Gaelic Knights needed every bit of Ryan Poplawski's greatness on the mound to knock off no. 13 seed East Syracuse-Minoa 1-0.

ESM, who won the Class A title a year ago (but saw every starter from that team graduate), had Brandon Lansing on the mound, and he was sensational.

Lansing gave up just one hit -- but that led to the game's lone run. In the bottom of the fifth, Chris Schillo singled, then moved over to third base. When ESM tried to pick a runner off second, Schillo came home, ahead of the throw.

Meanwhile, Poplawski, after striking out 14 in his previous outing against Chittenango, returned a week later to deliver a two-hit shutout that featured 13 strikeouts.

Ludden now hopes to last long enough to reach the finals, where Poplawski could pitch again. That would first require a Class A quarterfinal win Thursday over no. 5 seed Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, who beat Chittenango 3-0 in the opening round.

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