May 16, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For the Baldwinsville baseball team, it all might come down to whether it can beat Cicero-North Syracuse in order to repeat as Section III Class AA champions.
In two tries during the regular season, the Bees have been unable to topple the Northstars, including Wednesday night’s 3-2 defeat at Gillette Field, where the CNY Counties League National division regular-season title and the top playoff seed was on the line.
One batter, Vince Mallaro, solved B’ville’s left-handed ace, Pat Merryweather, for two timely hits, and relief pitcher Will Apps once again baffled the Bees’ lineup with his off-speed deliveries.
Back when the Northstars topped the Bees 10-4 on April 25, neither of B’ville’s top pitchers, Merryweather or Scott Blewett, appeared. This time, the left-handed Merryweather was on the mound, opposing C-NS junior right-hander Jesse Farabee.
Immediately, Farabee got rocked. With one out and Josh Savacool on first in the top of the first inning, Bees senior catcher Gabe Levanti crushed an offering over the left-field fence to give B’ville a 2-0 lead.
C-NS, in the bottom of the first, responded with a patient approach, forcing Merryweather to labor as he surrendered two singles and a walk to load the bases. Then Mallaro, on a 3-2 pitch, drilled a single to left, scoring Paul Vinciguerra and Paul Ludden to tie it, 2-2.
Mallaro was just getting started. In the third, after Levanti doubled with two out, Merryweather sent a sinking line drive to left field, and Mallaro slid to make the catch, saving at least one run, though the Bees though Mallaro trapped the ball.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth, with the game still 2-2, Mallaro returned to the plate. The University at Buffalo-bound senior said he was confident going into that at-bat thanks to his previous single, and he crushed Merryweather’s fastball 400 feet for a go-ahead home run.
In the top of the fifth, C-NS head coach Kevin Rockwell didn’t hesitate. He said that Farabee’s velocity was a concern, so facing the top of the Bees’ order, he brought in his relief ace, Apps, whose three-inning stint in the first meeting with B’ville led to a win.
Apps was even better on this night. Using his unique sidearm delivery and wide array of pitches, he retired the side in the fifth and sixth, and after drawing a leadoff walk in the seventh, he escaped further trouble, getting Josh Demoski to ground out to end it. Not once did a B’ville hitter get a ball past the infield against Apps.
Of course, a lot happened even before the Bees made that trip to C-NS – most notably, the impressive return of Blewett to the pitching rotation.
Having not started in two weeks, Blewett was handed a plum assignment in last Monday’s game at West Genesee, and the right-hander delivered in a big way, shutting out the Wildcats 2-0 in a possible playoff preview.
For four innings, it remained 0-0, but the Bees could afford to be patient because Blewett was using his deft mix of pitches to baffle WG’s lineup, only surrendering two hits – one each to Bailey Gauthier and Ryan Matthews – and striking out 13.
B’ville rewarded that effort by poking across the go-ahead run in the top of the fifth and adding a run in the seventh. Levanti hit a solo home run, and Josh Demoski’s triple brought home Colin Conklin with the other tally.