In so many ways, the 2018 edition of the Baldwinsville baseball team mirrored the 2013 side that won the program’s first state championship, right down to the fact that several Bees players this spring were younger brothers of members of that special side five springs ago.
Yet this B’ville squad could not quite get all the way to the top step, denied on Saturday at Binghamton University by a Long Island side quite hungry to do the same.
Massapequa, who lost the 2017 state title game to Liverpool, did not fall this time, the Chiefs striking for five runs in the first inning and never looking back as it defeated the Bees 10-1.
B’ville had decided to use its ace pitcher, Jason Savacool, in Friday’s semifinal, a 7-4 win over Victor. This meant the start in the state final fell to Jack Andres, who had not pitched in more than two weeks.
Andres started strong at the plate with an RBI single in the top of the first that scored Cam Williams, who had walked and stolen second. But it was the only run the Bees would produce as a 3-2-4 double play cut short a larger B’ville rally.
Right away, Andres got into trouble in the bottom of the first. Before he could record an out, Massapequa had loaded the bases and James Zupo cleared them with a triple to put the Chiefs in front for good.
Two more runs followed, and it was 5-1 in Massapequa’s favor. The Bees’ best chance to answer came in the third, when it loaded the bases with two out on singles by Matt Mercurio and Nate Ray, plus a walk to Pat May.
The Chiefs pulled starter Bobby Conlon and replaced him with Kenny Galvin, who fell behind Frankie Levanti but, on a 3-1 count, induced Levanti to ground out.
Fired up by that escape, Massapequa tacked on two runs with two out in the bottom of the third, chasing Andres. Jacob Marshall relieved him, only to give up three total runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Galvin shut out B’ville the rest of the way and the Chiefs earned a second state title to go with the one it earned in 2006.
The fact that Savacool returns with an ample supporting cast gives B’ville reason to think that, with some more pitching in 2019, another long run into June is quite possible.