Having battled its way to the top of the Tri-Valley League standings, the Oneida baseball team had no intention of sharing that place with anyone else.
So when the Indians engaged in a first-place duel at Holland Patent last Monday afternoon, it exploited a series of mistakes by the Golden Knights and prevailed by a score of 7-3.
Remarkably, all of Oneida's runs came with two outs, starting in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore cleanup hitter Dylan Van Dresar doubled to put his team up 1-0.
But the real fun came in the top of the third inning, when six Oneida runs crossed the plate, all with two away.
Twice, HP committed errors, including a dropped fly ball that would have ended the inning. Instead, Brandon Conway singled home one run, and Nick Dreimller's hit plated two more.
Three more runs followed, giving pitcher Nate Mallinder a 7-1 cushion to work with. He didn't disappoint, either, only allowing a fourth-inning tally from HP, though Oneida couldn't extend its lead, either.
All through the late stages, Mallinder pitched out of trouble. He stranded two runners in the bottom of the fifth when Conway dove to catch a foul ball, then coaxed a double play to end the sixth inning.
And in the bottom of the seventh, when Van Dresar loaded the bases and let in a run, Ryan Shene relieved him and coaxed a strikeout and grounder to end it.
As this was going on, Vernon Verona Sherrill also won on the diamond, beating Utica-Notre Dame in a 6-3 decision.
A five-run fourth inning erased the Red Devils' early 1-0 deficit. Kevin Sayles had two of his team's nine hits and finished with two RBIs, as Rob Sweet and Luke Voelker both doubled. Jason Dalton earned the win on the mound.