One round has passed in the Section III Class A baseball playoffs, and the Chittenango Bears are still going. For that, Greg Jasek is quite relieved.
Jasek had the final out in his glove in the bottom of the seventh inning of Tuesday's opening-round game at Jamesville-DeWitt, but could not hold on to it, sending the game to extra frames.
Rallying around Jasek, the Bears exploded for five runs in the eighth inning and, with Jasek keeping the Red Rams from a response, Chittenango won 13-8, advancing to Thursday's quarterfinal at no. 2 seed Watertown.
Chittenango and J-D split two regular-season meetings, so it only figured that their playoff encounter would be a close one, despite the Bears' best attempts to get away.
Trailing 3-1, Chittennago made its first move in the top of the fourth, scoring three times to move in front as Zach Boswell, Jasek and Steve Mesmer each had run-scoring hits.
Another three-run outburst in the fifth (off hits from Boswell, Jasek and Mike Moon) made it 7-3, but J-D crawled back with two-run rallies in the fifth and sixth innings, with a Chittenango tally in between.
So the Bears clung to an 8-7 edge going to the bottom of the seventh, Jasek pitching in relief after Moon had gone the first five innings.
Josh Paduano drew a leadoff walk, racing to second base when the fourth ball got away from Boswell. A strikeout and groundout later, Paduano stood on third, the tying run, J-D's Eric Schwartz stepped to the plate.
A good pitch forced Schwartz to pop up, right to the mound. None of the Chittenango infielders called off Jasek, who tried to make the catch himself - and could not.
The drop left both teams stunned, but somehow Jasek regrouped to force Justin Marzella to hit into a force play, and the game went into the eighth.
Such an error could have proved destructive. Instead, the Bears tore up Schwartz in the top of the eighth, the winning run coming across on Devin Christopher's ground-rule double as Boswell added a two-run double of his own.