Even the Westhill baseball team, heavy favorites to win the Section III Class B title, could not escape opening-round nerves Tuesday afternoon, but the top-seed Warriors recovered to get an 8-5 victory over no. 16 seed Herkimer.
When the Magicians put together a three-run first inning, Nate Nigolian exited the mound, and Ryan Malley took over. Malley would go five innings and earn the win, with Pat Lemmo seeing a relief stint.
Despite some early offense, the Warriors did not go ahead for good until the fourth inning, when Mike Mascari's three-run home run broke a 3-3 tie. Mike DeCarr had a solo home run, with Lemmo adding two RBIs and McMullen doubling home a run.
Up the road at Bishop Ludden, the no. 5 seed Gaelic Knights received a fair challenge from no. 12 seed Utica-Notre Dame, but rallied to beat the Jugglers 9-6.
Even with a 3-1 lead, Ludden wasn't safe, as UND tagged pitcher James Murray for five runs in the top of the fourth to seize a 6-3 lead.
Immediately responding, the Gaelic Knights tied it in the bottom of the fourth, then used three runs over the next two innings to inch back in front. Matt Weeks, with a double and four RBIs, and John Rooney, with a home run and two RBIs, led the rally.
Murray and reliever Ryan O'Kane combined to blank the Jugglers over the last three innings to help Ludden advance.
Jordan-Elbridge lasted only one round. Despite Teddy Hart's sensational pitching, the no. 14 seed Eagles took a 1-0 loss to no. 3 seed Lowville.
For six innings, Hart and Lowville's Josh Jones engaged in a 0-0 duel, neither side allowing much. Hart surrendered just two hits.
All of that changed in the bottom of the seventh, though, when Jones smacked a double and Shane Roag beat out a bunt. Hart then walked two of the next three batters, as Brock Robbie's walk brought home the game's only run. J-E finished with a record of 8-13.