May 02, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Perhaps the Liverpool and Baldwinsville baseball teams will cross paths again in the Section III Class AA playoffs later this month.
If so, they have quite an act to top, as the Warriors squeaked out a 4-3 victory over the Bees Wednesday afternoon, a game that was in doubt until the last ground ball.
Trailing the defending sectional champions 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, B’ville scored twice and had the tying and winning runs in scoring position with two out.
Zach Leo hit a ground ball to short. Ryan Contegni, who had just snared Brett Charbonneau’s screaming line drive in what turned out to be a game-saver, fired a short-hop throw to first that Pat Wright scooped up just before Leo could reach base for the final out.
That was just the last outsized moment in a homestretch full of them, which contrasted the quiet tone of the first five innings, where the two left-handed starters – Liverpool’s Alex Caruso and B’ville’s Scott Orr – mostly had their way.
Caruso’s lone early blemish came in the bottom of the first, when Josh Savacool walked, went to third base on botched pick-off attempt and scored on Charbonneau’s sacrifice fly.
Liverpool tied it, 1-1, in the top of third as Dom Pirro led off with a walk, reached second on a stolen base and raced home on a single by Tyler Bliss.
And there it remained until the top of the fifth, when the real fun began.
Again, Pirro reached base to start the inning, this time with a single. A bad throw on a Bliss sacrifice bunt attempt put runners on second and third, where they stayed as Orr coaxed Nick Pilotti and Ryan Contegni to hit into groundouts.
Up next was Caruso. B’ville chose not to walk him. Instead, Caruso smashed the first pitch he saw up the middle, a single that scored Pirro and Bliss and put Liverpool ahead 3-1.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Pilotti returned and skied a shot just over the fence in left field, extending the Warriors’ lead to 4-1. At the time, it seemed like a nice insurance run, but no one realized just how valuable that extra tally would be.
Leading off for the Bees in the bottom of the seventh, Jake Norton singled. Jimmy Schmidt’s double to left field allowed Norton to score, making it 4-2. Rattled for the first time all afternoon, Caruso walked no. 9 hitter Josh Demoski on four pitches.
Now it was the top of the order, and when Savacool tried a sacrifice bunt, no one for the Warriors covered first base, allowing Savacool to reach, loading the bases with still nobody out.
Charbonneau then crushed a Caruso delivery – but hit it right to Contegni for the first out. Because Contegni was in the right position, he prevented a hit that, at the very least, ties things up, and may have even won it had it reached the gap.
Instead, Gabe Levanti’s groundout yielded just one run as Demoski came home. Taking no chances, Caruso intentionally walked clean-up hitter Connor Martin, leaving it to Leo, who worked a 2-2 count before his grounder ended the drama.