May 10, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In each of his last three starts – against Skaneateles, Solvay and Cazenovia – Westhill baseball pitching ace Ben Walsh had finished with a one-hitter, twice seeing no-hit bids get thwarted in the seventh inning.
But when the Warriors faced Chittenango on Thursday afternoon, that no-hitter finally arrived, Walsh spinning his gem and also taking on an increased role in the lineup as Westhill blanked the Bears 13-0.
Except for a walk to Joe Murray and a rare error from J.C. Pena, Walsh confidently cast aside the Chittenango batters, striking out 13, which ironically matched the team’s run total.
Westhill took over in the top of the third inning, scoring three times, and added four runs in the fourth before a six-run sixth inning put things away.
Walsh, now hitting ahead of Pena at the top of the Warriors’ order, responded with three hits and two RBIs. Jim Albright hit his first home run of the season as he, along with Kevin Karleski and Brad Canavan, drove in two runs apiece. Jeff Lobello and Dan O’Brien-Mazza each had one RBI.
Three days earlier, Westhill hosted Bishop Grimes in a non-league game that turned into an instant classic. For nine innings, the Warriors and Cobras slugged it out, but it was Pena who, through his all-around effort, nearly delivered, by himself, a 3-2 Westhill victory.
Even after surrendering a run in the top of the first, Pena used his variety of pitches to handcuff Grimes hitters that had produced in the clutch to beat both Fabius-Pompey and Bishop Ludden in the previous week.
Westhill tied it, 1-1, in the fourth on Kevin Drexler’s RBI single, but the Warriors ran out of possible rallies in the fifth and sixth innings, and Grimes took full advantage, loading the bases in the top of the seventh before Pena plunked pinch-hitter David Hatch to score a run.
Quickly, Pena atoned. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Pena singled off Grimes reliever Chris Hendrick (who had replaced starter Ryan Gosson in the fifth) and immediately stole second and third base, racing home with the tying run on Walsh’s sacrifice fly.
And Pena kept pitching, into the ninth, where he ran his strikeout total to 21, the most by any Section hurler in a single game this spring.
Finally, with two out in the bottom of the ninth and Karleski on second base after a single and steal, Hendrick chose to pitch to Pena – and paid for it, Pena knocking a single that allowed Karleski to score the decisive run.