Maybe it wasn’t the method that Baldwinsville baseball fans had grown familiar with during its memorable 2018 post-season push, but the result sure proved satisfying.
Instead of depending on another pitching gem from sophomore ace Jason Savacool, the Bees turned to its bats to erase an early deficit and defeat Victor 7-4 in Friday’s state Class AA semifinal at Union-Endicott High School, near Binghamton.
To win at the state final four would require two victories. Unlike 2013, when its could count on two strong arms (Scott Blewett and Pat Merryweather) to carry them to the top, B’ville had a clear first pitching option with Savacool.
So the key question on when to start Savacool was answered when he took to the mound against Victor, the Section V champions, as B’ville counted on him to try to equal his 1-0 shutouts over West Genesee in the Section III final and Columbia in the regional final.
But the Blue Devils would not get shut out. Savacool worked around Santino Rosso’s leadoff triple in the first inning, but in the second Victor loaded the bases and used two squeeze bunts, plus an error, to score twice.
Trailing in a game for the first time this post-season, B’ville responded well. In the bottom of the third, the Bees loaded the bases and, with well-placed ground balls from Cam Williams and Jack Andres, brought home runs that tied it, 2-2.
And that didn’t last long, either, for in the bottom of the fourth the Bees abused three Victor pitchers for five decisive runs, all with two out.
Frankie Levanti was on base, having singled, when Jacob Marshall drew a two-out walk. Michael Carni made the Blue Devils pay for it with a go-ahead RBI single.
Matt Mercurio walked to load the bases for Williams, who drilled it up the middle for a two-run single, immediately followed by an RBI single from Andres and a bases-loaded walk.
Staked to a 7-2 lead, Savacool allowed a run in the fifth and another run in the sixth thanks to Victor getting a triple from Tommy Ryan and doubles from Zack Carpin and Ryan Lucas, but he still earned a complete game, striking out four in the last two innings to run his total to 12.
Now the Bees will go after the state title Saturday at 1 p.m. at Binghamton University against Massapequa, who beat Horseheads 5-1 in the other semifinal. This is the Massapequa team that lost to Liverpool in the 2017 state final.