May 28, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Now the Bishop Ludden and Westhill baseball teams stand one victory from an epic clash for the Section III Class B championship – and nothing so far seems to be getting in the way of that inevitability.
Holding the top spot in the state rankings, Ludden, the undefeated top seed, made it 20 wins in a row by smashing no. 8 seed Lowville 20-2 in Thursday’s Class B quarterfinals.
Just up the road, Westhill, the no. 2 seed and defending state champions, was just as destructive in taking out no. 7 seed Adirondack in a 19-0 laugher.
Ludden was the only Class B playoff team with a first-round bye. About the only question against Lowville was whether the Gaelic Knights would show any rust from a four-day layoff.
Little, as it turned out. Ludden scored twice in the first inning, then got five runs in the third and seven runs in the fourth before a six-run fifth inning.
On its way to 21 hits, the Gaelic Knights saw senior John Rooney produce six RBIs through four hits, including a pair of doubles, as he scored four runs. Ryan O’Kane had a double and two other hits as he drove in five runs.
Mike DePalma (who also had three hits) and Chris Davis each drove in two runs, while Aaron Maher, James Murray, Matt Pirro and Ciro Frontale earned one RBI apiece. Pirro pitched five innings to earn the win, striking out seven and allowing just two hits as Cory Hunter saw two innings of relief duty.
It didn’t take long for Westhill to lay out Adirondack – about as long as the first inning, when the Warriors sent everyone to the plate and produced nine runs before the carnage was done.
Dan Karleski didn’t stop with that first inning, either, eventually getting a home run, triple, double and single as he hit for the cycle and finished with four RBIs and scored four runs.
Westhill finished with 18 hits, three of them from Nathan Nigolian as he earned three RBIs. Mike McMullen scored three times as Mark Syron, Greg Schmidt and Mike Fagan joined Karleski by smacking home runs. Dan Lowery and Marcus Rinaldi earned RBIs, too.
All this gave pitcher Corey Hewitt a huge cushion, as Hewitt blanked Adirondack over five innings, giving up three hits while earning five strikeouts. Nigolian and Jack Ganley saw relief duty.
In the Class B semifinals on Saturday, Westhill meets no. 3 seed Ilion, who ended the season of no. 6 seed Marcellus in a 3-2 decision on Thursday night.
The Golden Bombers got all its runs in the fourth and fifth innings to seize a 3-0 lead, overcoming the work of Mustang pitcher Phil Zdanowski, who had a remarkable start with seven consecutive strikeouts on his way to 15 for the game.
Marcellus countered with two runs in the top of the sixth, but could not catch up as Ilion pitcher Tyler Brien held them to just two hits, striking out eight.
As Ilion plays Westhill, Ludden, in the other Class B semifinal, meets no. 12 seed Utica-Notre Dame, who lost 14-0 at Geddes a week ago, but has won road playoff games over Skaneateles and Canastota.