Baseball Hornets reach AA semis, fall to CNS

More bad weather forced the Fayetteville-Manlius baseball team into a supreme task - namely, trying to win two pressure-packed Section III Class AA playoff games within a 24-hour span in order to play for the championship at Alliance Bank Stadium.

As it turned out, the no. 2 seed Hornets would accomplish half the task, fighting past no. 7 seed Baldwinsville 5-2 in Friday's quarterfinal, but unable to duplicate that success a day later in a 9-1 semifinal loss to no. 3 seed Cicero-North Syracuse.

Fully rested, F-M set out Thursday to try and beat B'ville for the third time this spring, having already won close 3-2 and 4-2 decisions over the Bees earlier this season.

But they never got on the field, chased away by rain, lightning and hail as the entire game got pushed back to Friday afternoon, where left-hander Zach Tucker would oppose B'ville right-hander Mike St. John.

Neither side could score until the bottom of the third inning, when Jimmy Novakowski's fly ball got dropped in center field. A wild throw to third allowed Novakowski to trot home, and two more hits followed, setting up Mike Monashefsky's sacrifice fly that made it 2-0.

B'ville fought back in the fourth, coaxing Tucker to issue a pair of walks that led to run-scoring singles from Dan Wright and Kyle Lattanzio that tied it, 2-2, setting up the decisive fifth inning.

Going first, the Bees used a walk, single and double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. Gambling, Tucker intentionally walked Dan Dubiel to load the bases, and the gamble worked when Connor Martin hit into an unusual 5-2-3 double play, the third DP F-M had turned in this game.

Fired up, the Hornets got its own chance when Novakowski singled and Mike Perry walked. With one out, McClure stepped up - and smashed St. John's offering deep over the left-field fence for a three-run home run.

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