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Baseball Gaelic Knights, Warriors crush playoff foes

Now the Bishop Ludden and Westhill baseball teams stand one victory from an epic clash for the Section III Class B championship - and nothing so far seems to be getting in the way of that inevitability.

Holding the top spot in the state rankings, Ludden, the undefeated top seed, made it 20 wins in a row by smashing no. 8 seed Lowville 20-2 in Thursday's Class B quarterfinals.

Just up the road, Westhill, the no. 2 seed and defending state champions, was just as destructive in taking out no. 7 seed Adirondack in a 19-0 laugher.

Ludden was the only Class B playoff team with a first-round bye. About the only question against Lowville was whether the Gaelic Knights would show any rust from a four-day layoff.

Little, as it turned out. Ludden scored twice in the first inning, then got five runs in the third and seven runs in the fourth before a six-run fifth inning.

On its way to 21 hits, the Gaelic Knights saw senior John Rooney produce six RBIs through four hits, including a pair of doubles, as he scored four runs. Ryan O'Kane had a double and two other hits as he drove in five runs.

Mike DePalma (who also had three hits) and Chris Davis each drove in two runs, while Aaron Maher, James Murray, Matt Pirro and Ciro Frontale earned one RBI apiece. Pirro pitched five innings to earn the win, striking out seven and allowing just two hits as Cory Hunter saw two innings of relief duty.

It didn't take long for Westhill to lay out Adirondack - about as long as the first inning, when the Warriors sent everyone to the plate and produced nine runs before the carnage was done.

Dan Karleski didn't stop with that first inning, either, eventually getting a home run, triple, double and single as he hit for the cycle and finished with four RBIs and scored four runs.

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