May 25, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Five local high school baseball teams entered the chaotic fray of the Section III Class B playoffs on Thursday afternoon. Only two of them got out alive.
Westhill, the top seed in Class B-1 and looking to reclaim the titles it won in 2009 and 2010 (on the way to back-to-back state championships), met no. 8 seed Solvay in a neighborhood Class B-1 quarterfinal, and Alex Godzak tossed a one-hitter as the Warriors knocked out the Bearcats 2-0.
Up in the Class A quarterfinals, no. 3 seed Bishop Ludden kept its title hopes alive, too, beating no. 6 seed Cortland as Ryan O’Kane threw his own complete-game shutout, limiting the Purple Tigers to three hits.
In a spring that included a no-hitter against Skaneateles on April 25, Godzak saved one of his best efforts for this contest against Solvay. Other than Joey Pellizzari’s single, no one reached base safely as Godzak recorded 11 strikeouts and did not walk anybody.
At the plate, the Warriors were patient, not getting to Bearcats pitcher Dan Fantacone until the bottom of the third, when it moved ahead 1-0. That, plus a fifth-inning tally against reliever John Savo, was all Westhill needed as Tyler Thomas earned an RBI. J.C. Pena and Mike Burton each scored.
Bishop Ludden, meanwhile, was seeing O’Kane finally show the dominant form he had in recent years. Ill for the early part of this season, O’Kane is fully healthy now, and showed it against Cortland by getting seven strikeouts against just one walk.
The Gaelic Knights poked across a run (O’Kane driving in Kyle Hawk) against Purple Tigers pitcher Brian Hughes, and it stayed 1-0 until the sixth, when Ludden got three insurance runs, two of them coming home on Robbie Wiegan’s single.
Solvay earned its shot at Westhill in a tense opening-round game against no. 9 seed Onondaga last Tuesday afternoon, holding on to beat the Tigers 5-4.
With the score tied 1-1, the Bearcats got to OCS pitcher Chris Wheeler for four runs in the bottom of the second. Brandon Pelose led the way, with two hits, two runs scored and three RBIs, while Fantacone and Nate Antonacci each drove in one run. Forrest Gilbert and Jaron Payne scored runs.
Joe Tolone pitched, and nearly surrendered that 5-1 advantage as the Tigers pulled within one in the fourth inning. But Tolone held on and picked up the win as, combined, relievers Davis Kippen and John Savo threw 2 1/3 innings of no-hit ball, Savo striking out the side in the seventh for the save.
As the Bearcats’ season ended at Westhill, the tumultuous reign of Marcellus as sectional Class B champions also concluded as the no. 6 seed Mustangs fell to no. 3 seed Utica-Notre Dame 5-1 in the B-1 quarterfinals.
Mike Welsh pitched for Marcellus, and for four innings he kept his team close, getting briefly rewarded when the Mustangs tied it, 1-1, in the top of the fifth on Brendon Sammon’s RBI single (his second hit) that scored Kyle Hastings.
But the Jugglers countered with a decisive four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth. Zane Smith smacked a home run as he and Nick Allen both had two RBIs. UND pitcher Alex Lynch held Marcellus to three hits, none from the trio of Phil Zdanowski, Nick Sinay and Taylor Vile, and struck out 12.
Finally, in Class AA West Genesee’s championship dreams were dashed in the quarterfinal round as one bad inning proved costly in a 10-5 defeat to Fayetteville-Manlius.
The no. 5 seed Wildcats were ahead, 2-1, when in the bottom of the third the Hornets decided matters. It sent 10 men to the plate and delivered seven runs, two of them on bases-loaded singles and two more on a sacrifice fly that led to a pair of throwing errors.
Matt Naton pitched, but was out in the third, and while Shawn Castro and Sean Pisik did a solid job in relief, WG never recovered.
Adam Wierbinski, in defeat, went two-for-four with a solo home run and double, scoring twice. Naton also had an RBI as Tom Flynn led F-M by going three-for-four, including a double. WG finished its season with a record of 12-9. Three of those defeats came to F-M.