Having gone through exponential growth as the spring has moved along, the Fayetteville-Manlius baseball team is ready for its plunge into the Section III Class AA playoffs.
And a strong CNY Counties League American division mark (9-3, tied with Auburn for the top spot) meant that the Hornets, despite an overall record of 11-9, has the no. 3 seed and will host no. 6 seed West Genesee in Thursday's quarterfinals. F-M beat the Wildcats 1-0 back on May 10 in Camillus.
During the last week of the regular season, the Hornets earned a split, getting the win at home last Tuesday afternoon as it flushed out Baldwinsville 12-4.
Zack Tucker, in his first pitching assignment since that one-hitter against West Genesee, had some early struggles, yet kept F-M within range until its offense could get moving.
That took place in the bottom of the fourth inning. Down 4-1, the Hornets got to B'ville ace Bo Watson, chasing him from the game with a seven-run outburst. A four-run sixth inning would follow as F-M pulled away.
Ben Whorall led the charge with three hits, including a double, and three RBIs. Pat Kellogg scored twice, as did Dan Maloney, as Mike Palermo, Jeremy Mapstone, Mike Perry and Seth Braddock joined Kellogg, driving in one run apiece. Tucker went the route, earning seven strikeouts.
Good as that was, things turned around when the Hornets hosted state-ranked Liverpool on Thursday and took a 9-0 loss to the Warriors.
Liverpool jumped out in front with a run in the second inning, then used a five-run rally in the third (three of them coming home on Pat Wright's triple) to shake up Mapstone, who left after a three-run Warrior outburst in the fourth.
Meanwhile, F-M did get five hits off Liverpool right-hander Pat Brown, but could not convert them into runs as Brown struck out five and gave up just one walk.