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.