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Bears fall to J-D in baseball playoffs

Four outs from putting away Jamesville-DeWitt in Tuesday's opening round of the Section III Class A playoffs, the Chittenango baseball team saw the dream fly away with the wind and rain.

Both elements added a cruel backdrop to the no. 10 seed Bears' 7-6, eight-inning defeat to the no. 7 seed Red Rams, a game decided on Jack Susman's bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth.

But the real blow had come in the bottom of the sixth when, with two outs, J-D undid all that Chittenango had done in the five-plus innings leading up to that point.

Pat McGinnis got the Bears going with a two-run home run in the first inning. In fact, Chittenango scored in each of the first five innings, McGinnis adding an RBI double and Shaun Skurpski contributing a solo home run in the fourth.

Meanwhile, Jon Stevens cruised along on the mound, giving up just one hit and one run through five innings. As long as the rain held off, Stevens was in full command, and Chittenango appeared ready to avenge a lost to this same J-D squad a week earlier.

But the wind picked up and the precipitation arrived, and with two outs and a runner on second base in the bottom of the sixth, everything started to fall apart.

Anthony Dunn singled home Tom Driscoll. Josh Paduano singled, and when Mick Cariseo's ground ball took a bad hop into the outfield, two more runs came home. Finally, Mike Gianni doubled home the tying run.

As the rain picked up in volume, both Stevens and J-D reliever John Sheedy escaped possible seventh-inning trouble. In the top of the eighth, with two runners on and two out, Zach Boswell flew out.

Kevin Streeter replaced Stevens on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, and promptly walked Paduano and Cariseo. McGinnis took his turn on the mound, and when Jack Susman bunted, the Bears couldn't get a force play on Paduano at third.

That set up Susman, who took a high 3-2 pitch and walked to end the game -- and Chittenango's season. The Bears had a final mark of 13-11.

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