Jun 04, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Twenty-five wins in a row, and counting.
For some, that can be a giant burden, causing untold amounts of pressure. For the Westhill baseball team, it’s just another perk of being part of something special.
And now that ride includes a Section III Class B title, earned Wednesday night at Alliance Bank Stadium when the Warriors beat Skaneateles 6-1, the team’s first overall sectional title since 2005.
“This team has been so relaxed, and it’s the closest team I’ve ever coached,” head coach Bob Weismore said.
It’s also an aggressive bunch, never satisfied with just one or two runs. Westhill always wants more, and that attitude proved handy against Skaneateles, a team seeking to avenge two regular-season defeats to the Warriors.
One aspect of the team’s closeness is their ability to share the glory. Before the final, Weismore went to two of his pitching aces, Pat Lemmo and Mike DeCarr, to see who would like to start. They settled it quickly – Lemmo would start on the mound and DeCarr would finish.
So it began with Lemmo facing an early crisis when Jake Carvalho tripled in the top of the first inning. Keeping his poise, Lemmo struck out both Zach Augustine and Nick Pesarchick to escape trouble.
As Lemmo settled in, DeCarr went to work at the plate, hitting a sacrifice fly in the first inning to score Dan Karleski. But it was the third inning that would define game, and both DeCarr and Lemmo would be involved.
Greg Schmidt singled off Pesarchick, and Karleski walked. Both moved up on a double steal, and Mike Mascari walked to load the bases with one out.
Up stepped DeCarr, who promptly crushed a Pesarchick pitch 400 feet to center field. Though it got caught, Schmidt scored — and Karleski, going at full speed from second base, scored, too, the throw hitting him as he slid across the plate, colliding with Skaneateles catcher Sean Cooney.
Furious at the play, Cooney soon found himself exchanging heated words with Lemmo, who was next to hit, and the umpires had to separate the teams before it turned into a larger fight.
Mascari saw all this from third base, and also noted that, on his pitches, Pesarchick, a left-hander, used a high leg kick. So he, along with Weismore, decided to take advantage of it.
As Lemmo faked a bunt, Mascari took off from third. Shocked by what he saw, Pesarchick threw his pitch in the dirt, well in front of the plate, and Mascari stole home without a tag.
Up 4-0, Lemmo cruised on the mound until the fifth inning. With two runners on, Nolan Cunningham singled, bringing home a run, but got thrown out trying to reach second base, and the Lakers’ threat died.
When Augustine and Pesarchick singled to lead off the sixth, it was time for DeCarr to take the mound. He was unstoppable, retiring six of the seven batters he faced, three with strikeouts, as Westhill tacked on single runs in the fifth and sixth innings for the final margin.
The Warriors will go for its 26th win in a row Monday at MacArthur Park’s Conlon Field in Binghamton against the Section IV champions in the Class B regional finals, hoping to return there on June 13 for the state final four.
“We’re all confident about this,” Mascari said. “We have fun, and we don’t want this to end.”