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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

— It was B'ville' first attempt at a squeeze play all season, and Penafeather said Savacool was the only player in the lineup he trusted with the decision.

Norton’s run was his second game-winning play of the weekend. Less than 24 hours earlier, he dropped an 11th-inning single into left field that brought second baseman Zach Leo home as the Bees came back from one-run deficits twice against Auburn.

Blewett came on in relief of McAllister in the fourth and pitched a complete game’s worth of innings. The two had identical stat lines: one earned run on five hits and a walk. McAllister gave up an RBI single to third baseman Mike Charles in the second and stranded an Auburn runner in each inning before departing.

The Bees tied things up with two outs in the fourth as Charles misplayed a windblown popup from Blewett that fell at his feet, allowing Savacool to score.

But B'ville was unable to capitalize on a bases-loaded no-out situation in the seventh with a chance to end it in regulation. Schmidt was hit by a pitch, and Colin Conklin and Norton followed with successful bunt singles. Josh Demoski grounded into a fielder’s choice before Savacool grounded into a double play.

Auburn threatened to end B'ville season prematurely when it loaded the bases themselves in the top of the the ninth. Blewett mishandled Eric Gatewood’s bunt, allowing Matt Nolan to score the go-ahead run.

But the bottom half of the Bees’ order responded again, and again used Auburn’s mistakes to their favor.

Zach Leo opened the bottom of the ninth with an infield single and reached second on Schmidt’s sacrifice bunt. He reached third on a dropped third strike to Conklin and reached home when Auburn shortstop Ryan Ringwood misplayed Norton’s grounder with a chance to close it out.

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