Jun 01, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In a span of six days, with two of the games coming less than 24 hours apart, the Skaneateles baseball team showed all of its good qualities as it advanced all the way to the Section III Class B championship game.
And now came the hard part — trying to stop a freight train better known as the Westhill Warriors, top seed and proud owners of a 24-game win streak that included two convincing wins over the Lakers themselves.
Skaneateles and Westhill will get together Wednesday night in the Class B final at Alliance Bank Stadium, starting at 7 p.m.
Of course, the Lakers have shown plenty of heart just getting to this point, rising from a no. 11 seed to reach the title game.
This especially held true in Sunday’s Class B semifinal, where it made the long road trip to Holland Patent and took the no. 10 seed Golden Knights apart in a 15-3 romp.
A day earlier, Sknaeateles had fended off Lowville in the quarterfinal round, and with the likes of Nick Pesarchick sporting tired pitching arms, it needed some success at the plate to take pressure off Nolan Cunningham, who got the start on the mound.
The Lakers heeded that advice, scoring twice in the first inning and four more times in the top of the second to race to a 6-1 lead. And it just kept going, with a three-run fifth inning and five runs in the seventh inning, just to be sure.
Zach Augustine conquered the Golden Knights, setting a new season mark with six RBIs as he earned three hits, including a pair of doubles, often driving in Jake Carvalho, whose patience at the plate led to four walks.
Sean Cooney added a double, triple and three RBIs, while Owen Stokes-Cawley doubled and drove in two runs. Jon Chapman had a double and RBI as Skaneateles had 11 hits and took full advantage of HP’s four errors.
Meanwhile, Cunningham worked 5 1/3 innings, striking out three while allowing six hits. Augustine went the rest of the way in relief to augment his big day at the plate.
Rain made the Lakers have to wait for its first-round playoff trip to no. 6 seed Homer — but it didn’t affect the level of their play one bit, as Skaneateles did the basic things well, and that made the difference in an 8-3 elimination of the Trojans.
Skaneateles led from the start with a pair of first-inning runs. Every time Homer got on the board, the Lakers would answer an inning later — helped in no small part by the Trojans’ porous defense, which committed five errors.
Despite the three runs allowed, Pesarchick limited Homer to one clean hit, a single, in his complete-game effort. Cooney and Jared Amory helped him out, each driving in two runs, while Stokes-Cawley added an RBI.
Now the Lakers traveled north for a Class B quarterfinal against no. 3 seed Lowville, who survived Jordan-Elbridge 1-0 in the opening round.
It proved to be exciting — but with a seventh-inning push, the Lakers knocked out the Red Raiders by a score of 5-3.
A dropped fly ball helped the Lakers score in the first inning to go up, 1-0, and it added two more runs in the top of the second as an infield error hurt Lowville.
Fighting back, the Red Raiders got one run in the third inning, then two runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie it, 3-3. Both times, though, Skaneateles kept it from being worse, as first Augustine, then Pesarchick, got out of bases-loaded jams.
So it remained 3-3 until the top of the seventh. Cunningham’s double got it started, and Amory drove him home with a single. Later on, Pesarchick’s bloop single allowed Amory to score the insurance run.
Other than a leadoff double, Pesarchick retired Lowville in order in the bottom of the seventh, and the playoff run would continue – all the way to the finals.