May 21, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Nothing has proven smooth for the Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse baseball teams, as they both had to absorb close defeats in the last week of the regular season.
The Warriors fell, 4-3, to West Genesee in eight innings last Wednesday afternoon, just as the Northstars, at home, took a 7-6 defeat to Rome Free Academy.
Liverpool and WG were still even, 3-3, with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning, and threatening to go longer as Nathan Dodge was working effectively in relief of starter Nick Claver before WG’s Wes Randall took full advantage of two Liverpool defensive mistakes.
A fielding error got Randall on base. After moving to second, Randall took off for third when Sean Pisik hit a slow grounder, eventually beating the throw for an infield hit.
Zooming right past third, Randall sprinted for home, and when Liverpool first baseman Pat Wright could not get a clean grip on the ball, Randall crossed the plate with the winning run.
So ended an exciting game where WG twice came from behind. The Warriors got single runs off Matt Naton in the second and third innings, and threatened to break it open in the fifth, loading the bases before Randall threw out a runner trying to score, ending the threat.
Fired up by that, the Wildcats got two runs in the bottom of the fifth, both driven home on Pisik’s single. A tense exchanged followed in the seventh as Liverpool went back in front, 3-2, only to see WG tie it once more and send it to extra frames.
Naton stayed in there in the top of the eighth, again loading the bases – and again getting out of it with his fifth strikeout of the day, setting up Randall’s winning trip around the bases in the bottom of that frame.
Claver pitched six innings, striking out four and allowing just four hits. Alex Caruso was the only Liverpool player to get two hits, while Ryan Contegni and Matt Isbell earned one RBI apiece.
Meanwhile, at the Gillette Road complex, C-NS suffered another close defeat against RFA, just five days removed from a 4-3 defeat it took against Liverpool on May 11.
Up 2-0, the Northstars watched the Black Knights score five times in the top of the third off left-hander Joe Pokrentowski. From there, Pokrentowski didn’t allow anything more as C-NS tied it with single runs in each of the next three innings.
So it was 5-5 going to the top of the seventh. RFA got to reliever Will Apps, scoring twice, and then had to hang on as the Northstars pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh before pitcher Jeff Cooke picked up the final out.
Eric Hamilton led C-NS with a home run, double and three RBIs. T.J. Sprague also drove in a run as Joe Bodnar picked up three hits, including a double, and scored twice.
From there, the Northstars went to its own John Ilacqua Memorial Tournament, where it finished in third place.
In the opening round, C-NS lost to Bishop Ludden 7-5, hurt most by a third inning where the Gaelic Knights broke a 1-1 tie by scoring four runs off Austin Frawley, who took the loss. In defeat, Vince Mallaro doubled twice as he, along with Paul Vinciguerra, Jake Geloff and Paul Ludden, earned one RBI apiece.
C-NS recovered on Saturday to beat Westhill 3-2 in the consolation game, rallying from a 2-0 deficit when it scored a run in the sixth and two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Geloff, Ludden and Brandon Kapcinski each had RBIs in that comeback as Baldwinsville beat Bishop Ludden 21-5 in the championship game.
All of these close defeats pushed the Northstars down to the no. 6 seed in the Section III Class AA playoffs, where it would have to beat no. 11 seed Syracuse West in the opening round to get a shot at B’ville, the no. 3 seed, in Thursday’s quarterfinal round.
After Liverpool beat New Hartford 4-3 on Saturday with a seventh-inning run to break a 3-3 tie, it found that it had the no. 2 seed in the Class AA playoffs and would face the survivor of Tuesday’s RFA-Utica Proctor game in those quarterfinals on Thursday.