May 25, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Though the Liverpool baseball team lost twice in the regular season to Cicero-North Syracuse, it was the Warriors moving past the early rounds of the Section III Class AA playoffs, while the Northstars exited early.
In last Saturday’s AA quarterfinal, the no. 2 seed Warriors, whose late-season charge had created that lofty seed, maintained that momentum, leading to start to finish as it eliminated no. 7 seed Rome Free Academy 7-2.
Immediately, Liverpool got to the Black Knights’ starting pitcher, Colin Shunk, scoring a run in the first and three runs in the second to grab a 4-0 lead. Two more runs in the fourth forced Shunk to exit, and the Warriors tacked on a run in the fifth.
Luke Gilbert and Nick Claver led the way, each of them producing two hits and two RBIs. Don Pauldine also had two hits, driving in a run as Jason Schulz scored twice and Michael Wright also got an RBI.
Claver also pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits and two walks, but only surrendering single runs in the fourth and fifth innings as he picked up four strikeouts.
The exit for C-NS was particularly painful because it came in an nine-inning, 3-2 thriller against no. 4 seed Fayetteville-Manlius, another side it had defeated twice during the spring.
Not only had the Northstars won those games, it had done so with the same pitcher, Steven Theetge, that would try to beat the Hornets again as Mike Hoalcraft got the start for F-M.
Hoalcraft matched Theetge pitch-for-pitch, and in the bottom of the fourth got some help when F-M pushed across a run to grab a 1-0 lead. That didn’t last long, as the Northstars tied it, 1-1, in the top of the fifth.
And it stayed that way through seven innings of regulation, plus an eighth inning. Then, in the top of the ninth, C-NS got a pair of hits off reliever Sean Brown (who had replaced Hoalcraft in the eighth) and also plated a run to inch in front, 2-1.
Theetge, after eight innings, was done, with Brad Hamilton trying to earn the save. But he could not pull it off as the Hornets got the tying run and then saw Nate Olson’s single drive home the winning run.
In the lead-up to the sectional playoffs, both sides secured tense late-season road wins. Liverpool edged Auburn 3-2 at Falcon Park and C-NS had a similar close call, but beat Syracuse East 5-4.
C-NS and Syracuse East traded two-run rallies in the first inning. After the Northstars went in front, 4-2, in the third, East pulled even again, 4-4 in the fifth, as Damon Ozelek’s pair of singles drove in all of his team’s runs against Northstars ace Steven Theetge.
Against East reliever Alex Winzens, C-NS again inched in front in the top of the seventh, and Brad Hamilton, pitching in relief of Theetge, got the final three outs to earn the win. Jake McArdell had three RBIs, with Jessie Farabee driving in the Northstars’ other two runs as Farabee and Owen Dziados scored all of the runs.
At Auburn, Liverpool also found itself tied, 2-2, after one inning thanks to Nick Claver’s two-run single. But in this game, neither side scored again until the top of the sixth, when Liverpool poked across the go-ahead run, driven home by Ben Terzini, and held on. Don Pauldine, who pitched three shutout innings in relief of Nick Claver, earned the win as Luke Gilbert got two hits.
Liverpool also blanked Oswego 3-0 in eight innings in last Tuesday’s regular-season finale, seeing Bobby Zywicki go all eight innings and strike out 12 against eight hits allowed.
Buccaneers pitcher Ryan Lavner was just as stingy as Zywicki, but he finally tired in the top of the eighth, and Liverpool got to him and reliever Josh Carney for all three of its runs to break the 0-0 deadlock. Jason Schulz, Michael Wright and Tim Cerniglia scored the runs as Schulz managed a double and RBI.
Ironically, the early playoff results meant that Liverpool will face Auburn (who stunned no. 2 seed and defending state champion Baldwinsville 2-1) in Monday night’s semifinal at Onondaga Community College, with the winner to face F-M or West Genesee in next Friday’s title game at NBT Bank Stadium.