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.