May 05, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Even at this late point in the regular season, it’s unclear whether the Cazenovia baseball team will make its way to the Section III Class B playoffs.
It it does, though, the Lakers will take with it enormous confidence based on one effort alone – Friday night’s 5-1 upset of Westhill, the no. 1 team in the state Class B rankings.
Between David McEntee’s stellar pitching and a timely five-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, Cazenovia gave future opponents much more reason to worry about them.
Just on the surface, it looked to be a mismatch. Cazenovia was 4-7, mired near the bottom of the standings in the OHSL Liberty division, and had lost to this same Westhill team 10-0 back on April 17.
However, the Lakers may have picked the perfect time to catch Westhill, for it had just come off two draining games the previous two days – an 11-inning 3-2 thriller over Solvay on Wednesday and a 2-0 conquest of state no. 5-ranked Homer on Thursday. The Warriors had used their two best pitchers, Ben Walsh and Alex Godzak, in those games.
Thus, McEntee, who had not started a game all season, got to square off with J.C. Pena, who had relieved Walsh in the Solvay game and had thrown 4 2/3 innings of relief in that Solvay marathon.
Even with that, the Lakers could not solve Pena for five scoreless innings. Meanwhile, McEntee kept the game 0-0 until the top of the fifth, when the Warriors inched ahead on Jeff Lobello’s double that scored Will Downs.
And that’s where it stood in the bottom of the sixth. Here, the Lakers forced Pena out of the game, and when Walsh tried to relieve him, Cazenovia blitzed him for the five decisive runs.
Alex Szlamczynski supplied the biggest blow, a two-run double, just after Darian Smith had driven in a run. Smith, Ben Langey, Brian Gara and Liam Rogers each crossed the plate.
Now with a four-run edge, McEntee, throwing a three-hitter that included four strikeouts and error-free defense behind him, tried to close it out in the seventh, but got just one out. Tanner Whiteman replaced McEntee and, despite surrendering a walk, earned the final two outs to clinch Cazenovia’s big win.
Cazenovia did win earlier in the week, against Skaneateles, jumping out of the gate and going on to win this battle of Laker teams by a 9-3 margin.
To win, Cazenovia quickly got to Skaneateles pitching ace Ryan Prochna, getting two runs in the first inning and four more runs in the bottom of the second.
Gara and McEntee each had triples, with Gara joining Langey in getting two RBIs apiece. Smith also drove in a run as he, along with McEntee, Gara and Jack Malmsheimer, each scored twice.
Meanwhile, Mark Dewan pitched and went 5 1/3 innings, holding Skaneateles to six hits and striking out four. Whiteman worked the last 1 2/3 innings in relief.
Two days later, the Lakers went for back-to-back wins at Marcellus, but saw its bats cool off in a 7-2 loss to the Mustangs.
Marcellus took control by getting three runs off Whiteman in the bottom of the first. Two more runs followed in the third after Cazenovia briefly closed the gap to 3-2.
Malmsheimer and Gara scored those early runs, and Gara managed two hits, but the Lakers had just five hits overall against Mustang pitcher Taylor Vile, who also had a single, double, triple and three RBIs at the plate.
That split with Skaneateles and Marcellus offered no indication of the surprise to follow against Westhill. But now the Lakers must follow it up in games early this week against Hannibal and Jordan-Elbridge before a Saturday rematch with Marcellus.