May 14, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Rarely has anyone walked away from a split of games as pleased as the Fayetteville-Manlius baseball team did at the end of Saturday’s John Ilacqua Jr. Memorial Tournament at the Gillette Road complex in Cicero.
That was because the Hornets’ victory was a big one, as it toppled host Cicero-North Syracuse 6-4 in 10 innings, avenging a 3-1 defeat to the Northstars back on April 15 – and further gaining confidence with the Section III Class AA playoffs just a week away.
Already it had been a good week for F-M. Brooks Weigl had pitched the Hornets to a 4-1 victory over West Genesee at home on Tuesday afternoon, and it had stomped past Nottingham 22-0 a day before dealing with CNS, Bryan Hill and Pat McClure both driving in four runs to lead a 20-hit attack as Jeremy Mapstone, Seth Braddock and Jeremy Kidd combining on a one-hitter.
For a long while, despite the terrific pitching of Zach Tucker, it looked like CNS would get the Hornets for the second time in as many months. Northstars pitching ace Joe Pokrentowski retired 16 F-M batters in a row and kept it 0-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when the Northstars moved in front.
Eric Hamilton led off the sixth with a double, and Tucker threw the ensuing sacrifice bunt to third, putting two runners on base. Moments later, a wild pitch scored Hamilton, and Mark Sherlock’s line shot glanced off a diving Mapstone’s glove to make it 2-0.
Yet F-M would not surrender, rallying in the top of the seventh off a pair of CNS mistakes. First, a throwing error put Mike Palermo on first base. After Mike Perry moved Palermo over with a sacrifice bunt, CNS chose to intentionally walk McClure, despite the fact that he was the tying run.
That backfired when Mapstone beat out a bunt single and, with the bases loaded, Louis Testone drilled a two-run single to left. On that play, two throwing errors allowed Maptone and Testone to race home, and suddenly F-M led 4-2.
Tucker got within one out of victory in the bottom of the seventh, but could not close it out. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases and, after Weigl replaced Tucker on the mound, Sherlock’s slow grounder on a wet infield led to a throwing error, allowing Hamilton and Matt Dykeman to score and tie it, 4-4.
And it would stay that way through the eighth and ninth innings, Pokrentowski and Weigl matching zeroes. Then, in the 10th, James Coleman took over in relief of Pokrentowski, only to walk Jimmy Novakowski to lead off. Palermo’s sacrifice bunt put Novakowski on second, and Perry doubled him home with the go-ahead run. McClure singled and Mapstone’s squeeze bunt allowed Perry to slide home with an insurance run
Wiegl, working his third inning of relief, retired CNS in order in the bottom of the 10th, the game ending on Palermo’s running catch in center field that robbed Riley Moonan of a possible extra-base hit.
All this made the Hornets’ ensuing game, an 11-1 loss to Class A power Bishop Ludden, much easier to take. F-M allowed four runs in the first inning, and the margin kept growing as Gaelic Knights ace Ryan O’Kane held the Hornets to five hits. Anthony Navone drove in his team’s lone run in the bottom of the third.
A day earlier, two more local baseball teams squared off and went to extra frames – and when it was done, East Syracuse-Minoa, who had beaten CBA 7-5 earlier in the week, had prevailed here, too, edging the Red Rams 8-6 in nine innings, vastly hurting J-D’s hopes of reaching the Class A playoffs.
They were 0-0 until the third inning. In that inning, plus the fourth, ESM and J-D each scored three times, and the back-and-forth nature continued in the fifth, when the Spartans seized a 6-3 lead, only to have the Red Rams come back and pull even again at 6-6.
By now, the two starters, Mike Para (ESM) and Justin Marzella (J-D) were gone, and the bullpens held up, going through the sixth, seventh and eighth innings with neither side able to break the 6-6 logjam.
Finally, in the top of the eighth the Spartans got to J-D reliever Max Bregande, earning two runs to move in front, and Jeremy Fletcher, who had taken over after Matt Placito’s four-inning stint succeeding Para, got the final three outs to give ESM the win.
On the winning side, Steve Brownell went three-for-five, with two doubles and and RBI. Casey Sullivan drove in two runs as Placito, Ben Loder and Joe Greco earned one RBI apiece. Para and Fletcher both scored two runs.
J-D, for its part, had Chris Lenish and Dan Canfield each pound out a pair of hits, while Canfield scored twice. Paul Fitzgibbons walked twice and finished with a pair of RBIs as Tyler Kirwan and Matt Yonta drove in one run apiece.