As Liverpool baseball head coach Fred Terzini pointed out Monday night, his team winning 19 games in a row, including its first Section III Class AA championship since 2006, was a source of immense pride and accomplishment.
It's just that the Warriors wanted 20 in a row, which would have meant a trip to the state final four in the Binghamton area.
Liverpool fell just short of that goal, unable to fight past Section II champion Shaker in a 3-1 loss to the Blue Bison in the AA regional final at DeLutis Field in Rome.
Each side finished with seven hits. The difference was that three of Shaker's hits led to runs, all with two outs, while none of the Warriors' hits directly led to men crossing the plate.
Given how well he had pitched against Cicero-North Syracuse in the sectional final, junior left-hander Alex Caruso got the start again. He opposed Shaker's Zach Breen, who had undergone 'Tommy John' arm surgery in the summer of 2009 but returned this year and had shut out Saratoga Springs in his last start in the Section II semifinals.
Shaker immediately went in front when, in the first inning, Drew Lasky walked with one out and moved to second on Caruso's wild pickoff attempt. With two out, Jeff Hoffman drilled a double off the wall in left, scoring Lasky to put the Blue Bison up 1-0.
Caruso quickly settled down and, over the next four innings, blanked Shaker by inducing all kinds of ground balls. Among other things, it allowed shortstop Mike Parsons to have a spectacular night at his position, recording seven assists without an error.
"Mike was unbelievable tonight," said Terzini.
Meanwhile, the Warriors kept getting chances, putting at least one runner on base in each of the first four innings without converting. All told, six runners were stranded, this despite a string of hard-hit balls, two of them by Andrew Schreyack that turned into outs.