One more time, Peter Fiorini led the Baldwinsville boys lacrosse team into the crucible of the Section III Class A playoffs, wanting to see his players earn a championship that could send him off into retirement in full glory.
If this were the movies, it might have worked out that way – but in reality, the no. 3 seed Bees saw its season again end in the Class A semifinals at the expense of defending champion West Genesee, who defeated B’ville 12-8 last Thursday night at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.
In this exact same round (and on the same C-NS turf) a season ago, B’ville led late in the fourth quarter against West Genesee, only to see the Wildcats rally and pull it out, 9-8, on Brady Hoose’s goal in the final seconds of regulation.
Burning for payback, B’ville got the start it wanted in this particular semifinal, overcoming an early 1-0 deficit and taking the lead late in the first quarter on goals by Sean Barron and Ben Kaminski just 28 seconds apart, with Kyle Akers’ tally making it 3-1 in the Bees’ favor.
But the Bees would not score again for more than 17 minutes, until Mitch Rein found the net early in the third period. By that point, WG was out in front to stay, having blanked B’ville for the entire second period and scored six straight goals.
Two things went wrong for B’ville. First, it had difficulty passing the ball on the hard Bragman Stadium Astroturf, which led to a string of turnovers and more possession time for the Wildcats. Second, the shots that the Bees did take didn’t scare WG goalie Matt Koziol, who would finish the game with 18 saves.
Despite all that, once Rein ended the scoring drought, the Bees nearly climbed back in it, pulling within two, 7-5, when Connor Chapman netted a goal just 26 seconds later.
Entering the fourth quarter, it was still just a three-goal deficit, 9-6, but in a span of less than three minutes, goals by Derek Farrell, Ryan McDonald and Tyler Brown (his third of the game) put things out of reach for the Bees, though Akers and Steve Petrelli would add some late goals to make the outcome a bit closer.
Before all this, the Bees first had to get past last Tuesday’s opening-round game against no. 6 seed C-NS, but that didn’t prove too taxing as B’ville jumped out in front at the outset and never looked back in a 16-8 romp over the Northstars.
But that, as it turned out, would be Fiorini’s last win, the 405th of a coaching career that included, in his 35-year tenure, a lone sectional championship in 1992 and dozens of players that moved on to flourish in the college ranks.