May 18, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Something about the bigger-name opponents turns the Cazenovia baseball team into a much more dangerous force.
Further proof of this was offered in last Thursday’s game against Homer, where the Lakers avenged an extra-inning defeat to those same Trojans a day earlier and won by a score of 5-3.
This was not the first time Cazenovia had, on its home field, knocked off a big-name opponent this month, having done the same May 4 to then-unbeaten, state no. 1-ranked Westhill in a 5-1 decision.
Homer was not quite at the same pedestal – no. 8 in the state in Class B – but it still carried a 14-1 record and hopes for an undisputed OHSL Liberty division regular-season title. Cazenovia would halt those plans.
Just as in the Westhill win, all it took was one big rally, though in this case the outburst occurred early in the game.
In the bottom of the second inning, with the game still 0-0, the Lakers got to Homer pitcher Kevin McNeil for all five of its runs. Jack Malmsheimer and Darian Smith supplied the big blows, each of them with two-run singles, and both scored as David McEntee, Alex Szlamczynski and Cullen Franz also crossed the plate.
Charged with protecting that lead, pitcher Liam Rogers went 6 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and striking out five. Rogers gave up a run in the third, and when Homer scored twice in the top of the seventh, the Lakers had to turn to Tanner Whiteman to get the final two outs for the save.
Before all this, in Wednesday’s game at Homer, the Lakers led three different times, but could not hold any of those leads, falling to the Trojans 6-5 in eight innings.
Cazenovia seized a 3-0 advantage in the top of the second. Homer tied it, 3-3, by the fifth, only to have the Lakers move back in front in the sixth. Three outs from defeat, the Trojans pulled even again, 4-4, in the bottom of the seventh.
Moving to extra frames, Cazenovia inched into a 5-4 lead in the top of the eighth but, again, could not put it away, Homer pushing across the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the eighth.
McEntee pitched 5 1/3 innings, with relief help from Whiteman, Rogers and Chad Warren, and also had two hits, two runs scored and two RBIs. Whiteman and Warren also drove in runs as Homer teammates Kevin McNeil and Mike Hartnett each had two RBIs.
Earlier in the week, Cazenovia turned to its pitching to put together a valuable 1-0 win at Solvay. Combined, the trio of Whiteman, Rogers and Mark Dewan limited the Bearcats to five hits. Rogers and Dewan, who had the longer stints, each recorded five strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Solvay ace Matt Fantacone was containing the Lakers most of the way, too. But in the top of the sixth, Cazenovia broke the 0-0 deadlock and got the only run it needed, Billy Bigsby crossing the plate. Malmsheimer was the only Laker to get two hits.
Right after the win over Homer, the Lakers went to Alliance Bank Stadium to play in the Bob Southworth City Tournament, where it would get a third-place finish.
Cazenovia lost, 7-1, to Syracuse West in the opening round, briefly getting a 1-0 lead in the second inning (Warren scored the run) before Syracuse West tied it in the third and pulled in front with three-run rallies in the fourth and sixth innings.
But the Lakers turned around and, in Saturday’s consolation game, rallied past Phoenix 11-6 to clinch a winning record (11-9) for 2012. Though the Firebirds led 6-1 after three innings, Cazenovia erased it all with a seven-run outburst in the top of the fourth.
Malmsheimer led the comeback, finishing with three hits and three RBIs, while Smith and Dewan also managed three hits apiece. Gara had two hits and two RBIs as McEntee, Warren and Ben Langey also had two-hit outings. Chris Matteson pitched three innings to earn the win.