May 05, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
The last time the Cazenovia baseball team was at NBT Bank Stadium, it was making history and claiming the 2012 Section III Class B-2 title.
Nearly 12 months later, the Lakers were back, ready to take on Westhill in Friday’s rematch of last spring’s overall Class B final won by the Warriors, and sending its best pitcher to the mound.
None of that mattered, though, as Westhill, getting a superb one-hit effort from its ace, Ben Walsh, beat Cazenovia 5-0 in a game that was part of the sixth annual Strike Out Lou Gehrig’s Disease Classic, a gathering of top Section III teams at the Syracuse Chiefs’ home ballpark to raise money for ALS research at Upstate Medical University.
This was also the only time Cazenovia and Wesethill would play in the regular season. So it wasn’t surprising that Rogers and Walsh were on the hill, and for a while the two hurlers were both in full command.
Rogers carried a 4-0 record into the game, and despite J.C. Pena reaching third base with a triple in the first inning and a walk and two stolen bases in the third inning, Rogers escaped trouble both times, striking out seven in his first three innings of work.
Walsh, who flirted with no-hitters in each of his last two starts against Skaneateles (on April 22) and Solvay (April 26), was working with a full week’s rest, and despite some shaky early control, he too, kept the game 0-0, helped by Sam Walsh throwing out Jeff Stowell trying to steal second base in the bottom of the first and a pick-off of Mark Dewan two innings later.
In the top of the fourth, Westhill broke through against Rogers. Sam Walsh’s fly ball fell in left field for a double, and with two out, Bob Antonacci doubled home Walsh with the game’s first run.
The Warriors would keep pecking away, scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to make it 3-0. Pena scored on an error in the fifth, and after Chris Matteson replaced Rogers in the sixth, Antonacci’s single brought home pinch-runner Hunter Chester.
Two more runs in the seventh created the final margin, but Walsh didn’t need extra help. After surrendering a single to Bigsby in the first, he didn’t allow another hit the rest of his way to earn his third consecutive one-hitter, walking three and striking out nine.
Cazenovia tuned up for Westhill with a superb all-around effort in last Wednesday’s game against visiting Skaneateles, dominating the battle of Laker sides in a 12-0 shutout.
A pair of first-inning runs got Cazenovia started, and it scored five times off Skaneateles starter Will Dougherty in the bottom of the second before getting five more runs in the third to build the lead to double digits.
Chad Warren went three-for-three, including a double, and earned three RBIs. Evan Cornell also drove in three runs, while Bigsby and Drew Devendorf drove in one run apiece as Bigsby, Stowell, Cullen Franz and Ryker Smith each scored twice.
Staked to that big early lead, Mark Dewan relaxed and pitched a gem, striking out six and only allowing two hits in five innings of work before Warren and Chris Matteson completed the shutout in relief.
When Cazenovia returned to NBT Bank Stadium for the Bob Southworth Tournament on Saturday, it lost again, this time to Syracuse East, in a 14-5 decision in the opening round.
The Lakers only trailed 6-5 when Syracuse East broke it open with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Devendorf had a double and two RBIs as Cullen Franz also drove in a run. Warren pitched three innings and took the loss.
In the consolation game against Phoenix on Sunday, it was Cazenovia’s turn to break loose with its bats in a 14-1 romp over Phoenix.
The third inning proved decisive as the Lakers, trailing 1-0, struck for five runs. After scoring twice in the fourth, Cazenovia used a seven-run fifth inning to put the Firebirds away.
Displaying lots of depth in its lineup, the Lakers had 10 different players drive in runs, with only Franz earning two RBIs. Warren, Noah King and Mark Dewan each had two hits, with Casey Fenton scoring three runs. Dewan also pitched six innings of two-hit ball to earn the win.