Just in time for May, the Chittenango baseball team earned a pair of exciting victories.
Playing at home Monday afternoon, the baseball Bears avenged an earlier defeat to the state Class A no. 9-ranked Brothers, hanging on to prevail by a 5-4 margin.
That first meeting, on April 4, saw CBA win 6-4 with a pair of sixth-inning runs, but in the rematch Chittenango struck quickly, getting three runs off Brothers starting pitcher Mark Finley in the bottom of the first.
After CBA closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the third, the Bears answered with its own two-run rally in that same frame. By this point, Wes Burghardt had a home run, two runs scored and three RBis, while Greg Jasek also drove in a run. Erik Kurz had two hits and two runs scored.
Again, the Brothers would pull within a run thanks to a two-run fifth, adding to the tension. But Burghardt and fellow reliever Devin Christopher combined for two shutout frames down the stretch, Burghardt getting the save. This followed four innings of solid work from Jasek, who earned the win.
Both Burghardt and Jasek would serve as central characters on Wednesday in Chittenango’s 5-2, 12-inning marathon victory over East Syracuse-Minoa.
Single runs in the first two innings pushed the Spartans in front 2-1, and it stayed that way until the top of the seventh, when the Bears, one out from defeat, fought back. Kurz doubled, and race home when Burghardt hit the game-tying single.
Four extra innings followed without any resolution. Finally, in the top of the 12th, Jasek stepped to the plate and, with a runner on, smashed Greg Fingar’s offering over the fence, part of a three-run outburst that settled it.
Burghardt was sensational in his relief effort, too. After Sean Cliff had gone 7 2/3 innings, Burghardt took over in the bottom of the eighth and tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings for the win, striking out five against three hits and two walks allowed. Cliff finished with eight strikeouts.