Apr 19, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Ben Walsh and his Westhill baseball teammates carried long memories of how Marcellus, in 2011, had kept them from a third consecutive Section III Class B title – and perhaps another state championship, too.
So it was particularly sweet for the Warriors to beat the Mustangs 3-1 Thursday afternoon in their first encounter since that playoff classic.
Both on the mound and at the plate, Walsh, a junior right-hander, proved the central figure as Westhill kept itself undefeated, improving to 8-0.
Walsh had won both of his starts when the Warriors played – and won all four of its games – at the Mingo Bay Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., during the April school break.
As this went on, Marcellus had gone 2-4 in games at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Florida, but had returned home to knock off its other main rival, Skaneateles, 3-2, behind a sparkling pitching effort from Mike Welsh.
Now it was Kyle Hastings’ turn for the Mustangs, and through the first two innings he matched zeroes with Walsh, both of them picking off runners during those early stages.
However, in the bottom of the third, Westhill struck. With two out and two on, J.C. Pena hit a hard grounder on the left side that took a bad hop over third base, a single that scored Jeff Lobello to put the Warriors up 1-0.
What happened next was more damaging. Walsh hit a fly ball that appeared to be the third out, but four Mustang players converged on the ball and none of them grabbed it before it fell to the grass. It allowed both Will Downs and Pena to score.
Now with a 3-0 deficit, the Mustangs found itself unable to solve Walsh, or get a hit, until the top of the sixth. There, a walk to Phil Zdanowski and an infield hit brought up Taylor Vile, who doubled down the line to put in the Mustangs’ lone run.
But Walsh worked out of that jam, only to face another in the seventh as Brian Carroll walked and Zdanowski singled, putting the tying runs on base with one out. Walsh bore down and struck out Sinay, his ninth K of the afternoon, to end it.