Chittenango baseball beats Oneida for tourney title

As the spring school break wound down, three local baseball teams -- from Canastota, Oneida and Chittenango -- joined Class D power New York Mills for the Raiders' annual Borgognoni Tournament on Thursday and Friday.

And just like in 2009, the Bears would finish on top, sliding past Mills and then Oneida to improve its record to 6-4.

The opening round pitted host Canastota against Oneida, and the Indians came out on top as stellar pitching from Nate Mallinder and Jordan Koons produced a 7-2 victory.

Mallinder helped build his own 3-0 lead, doubling in the second inning to bring home a pair of runs. He finished with three hits and three RBIs.

But when Canastota countered with a pair of tallies in the bottom of the fourth, Mallinder exited and Coons, a freshman, took over. Showing no signs of his youth, Coons blanked the Raiders over the last three innings, earning the save as Oneida scored twice in both the fifth and seventh innings to pull clear.

Canastota hurt itself with five errors and 11 walks allowed by pitchers Alex Foster and Jeff Merrell, but saved itself from further damage by escaping bases-loaded situations three different times, once on Anthony Sgarlata's back-to-the-plate catch.

In the other half of the opening round, Chittenango was unimpressed by New York Mills' high reputation and knocked off the Marauders 3-1.

All Mills could manage was two hits off Bears pitchers Mike Moon and Greg Jasek. For its part, Chittenango had just three hits, but it led to a pair of second-inning runs, plus an insurance tally in the fifth as Moon and Wes Burghardt got credit for RBIs.

So in the championship game, Chittenango faced Oneida, and the Bears rode the efforts of Burghardt and Steve Mesmer to defend its title in an exciting 7-5 decision over the Indians.

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