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.