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Bees survive drama, reach AA baseball final

B'ville edges Auburn in 11, tops Syracuse East

Baldwinsville outfielder Jake Norton (17) pulls into third base with a triple in the seventh inning of Sunday's Class AA semifinal against Syracuse East. Norton went on to score the winning run in the Bees' 2-1 victory, a day after singling home the decisive run in an 11-inning victory over Auburn in the quarterfinal round.

Baldwinsville outfielder Jake Norton (17) pulls into third base with a triple in the seventh inning of Sunday's Class AA semifinal against Syracuse East. Norton went on to score the winning run in the Bees' 2-1 victory, a day after singling home the decisive run in an 11-inning victory over Auburn in the quarterfinal round. Larry Jones

— For a group that averaged nearly eight runs per game in the regular season, the Baldwinsville baseball team is struggling to put crookedn numbers on the board in the Section III Class AA tournament - just five runs in the first two rounds.

But solid pitching from Casey McAllister, Scott Blewett and Pat Merryweather, and timely hitting from Jake Norton, put the Bees through to Monday’s championship game against Oswego with a chance at back-to-back titles.

Coach Dave Penafeather’s boys gutted out a 3-2 win over Auburn in 11 innings in the quarterfinals on Saturday before coming from behind again on Sunday for a 2-1 triumph over Syracuse East in the semifinal round.

Merryweather went the distance in the semifinal contest, earning seven strikeouts, while surrendering just two two hits and no walks. East’s only run of the game came on a fielding error by shortstop Josh Savacool in the fourth inning.

With two outs and East’s Avery Brooks on second, Savacool fielded a grounder from catcher Nick Santoro and whipped it high over first baseman Scott Blewett’s outstretched glove. Brooks, advancing to third on contact, scored standing up.

It took the Bees until the bottom of the sixth to respond. Jimmy Schmidt led off with a walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. Blewett stepped up to bat with two outs and hit a sharp grounder that went between Brooks’ legs at third. A botched rundown allowed the tying run to come home.

Norton led off the bottom of the seventh after East failed to score in the top of the inning. He worked the count to 3-1 and cracked Damon Ozelek’s pitch over right fielder Jeff Belge’s head for a triple. One out later, Savacool erased his earlier error with a squeeze bunt that scored Norton, ending the game and East’s season.

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