On Friday, the East Syracuse-Minoa baseball team would board two large vans and drive down to Maryland for a series of four games in the Baltimore area that run through Tuesday and cover the first half of the spring-break week.
And the Spartans went there feeling quite good, having just given 3-0 Christian Brothers Academy its first defeat of the season by a score of 7-3 on Thursday afternoon.
Beyond beating a quality opponent and a key rival in the OHSL Freedom division race, ESM also proved that it could recover from defeat - namely, its surprising 3-2 loss to Fowler three days earlier that broke up what had been a season-opening, four-game win streak.
The Spartans had lined things up so that its pitching ace, Joe Greco (who threw a complete-game shutout a week earlier against Chittenango), would stare down the potent CBA lineup. Tim Hobb got the start for the Brothers.
Right away, ESM went to the front, scoring twice in the first inning as, with two on and one out, Ben Loder blooped an RBI single and Jake Fletcher drove in another run on a groundout.
Greco got into trouble in both the second and third innings, loading the bases both times. CBA would only get one run off those chances, though, as a double play (in the second) and a force play (in the third) allowed ESM to stay in front.
Still, in the top of the fourth, head coach John Herrington replaced Greco with Mikey Para, and Para blanked CBA over the next three innings on his way to earning the win. Like Greco, Para would constantly,pitch his way out of trouble, as the Brothers left 10 runners on base during the course of the game.
ESM extended the lead to 5-2 in the fourth on Mat Placito's bases-loaded single and Para's sacrifice fly. Then, with two out in the sixth, Billy Sullivan's two-run single off CBA reliever Alletz Hauser all but clinched the outcome.
As the Spartans play in Maryland, CBA turns to a key game on Tuesday against another neighbor and quality foe, Jamesville-DeWitt, and the Brothers will also face Fowler on Thursday.