Liverpool pitcher Jake Wheeler (14) did not allow a run in 5 2/3 innings of last Tuesday’s game at Baldwinsville, keying a 6-4 victory over the Bees.
A month ago, the Liverpool baseball team languished and wondered if it could ever get close to the magic its senior-heavy roster created in 2017 on the way to a state Class AA championship.
And while that far-off goal remains unlikely, the Warriors are, at least, making a strong late-season push, which included wins last week over two other top contenders before its series this week with Cicero-North Syracuse.
First the Warriors had to deal with Baldwinsville, dropping the opening game of the series to the Bees 5-1.
For four innings, Liverpool’s Brandon Exner and B’ville’s Jason Savacool dueled, and it stayed 0-0. Then Liverpool gained a run in the fifth as Shane Hazelmyer’s double drove home Exner.
But B’ville got to Exner for three runs in that same fifth inning and scored twice more late. Kobe Stenson had two of the Warriors’ four hits against Savacool, who overcame four walks by amassing 15 strikeouts in his complete-game effort.
Turning it around a day later, Liverpool prevailed 6-4 over B’ville, seeing pitcher Jake Wheeler blank the Bees for 5 2/3 innings and hold them to five hits.
Single runs in the second and fourth innings gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead, and then it struck four times in the sixth to chase B’ville starter Jack Andres as Nick Brown got two RBIs, with Shane Hazelmyer, Luke Harder and Sam Sgroi also driving in runs. Stenson had a walk, single and three runs scored.
What looked like a comfortable lead nearly vanished in the bottom of the seventh when the Bees struck for four runs before Stenson and Jordan Brown combined to earn the final outs.
Then Liverpool took that momentum into Wednesday’s game with West Genesee and, with great work from the trio of Harder, Wheeler and Mike DeStefano, prevailed 8-1 to avenge a defeat to the Wildcats four days earlier.
Down 1-0, the Warriors went in front with two runs in the fourth, added a run in the fifth and got away with a five-run seventh inning. DeStefano had three hits and drove in a run, with Wheeler getting three RBIs.
Meanwhile, Harder had his best start of the spring, holding a potent WG lineup to four hits in six innings while striking out six before Gerard Mouton worked the last inning in relief.
Great as this was, Liverpool could not carry it over into the series finale with B’ville on Thursday, shut down for most of a 4-1 defeat to the Bees.
Brown, with his team’s lone hit of the game drove in Sgroi with Liverpool’s lone run in the third that tied it, 1-1, but despite seven walks (two each by DeStefano and Brown) the Warriors could not get anything else against B’ville starter Jacob Marshall.
Ryan Syrko pitched for Liverpool, keeping it close, but watching B’ville get two runs in the top of the fourth to go in front for good as Andres and Matt Mercurio both earned a pair of RBIs.