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April 16, 2009

 

Trojans perfect champions

TrojansRich Barnes/contributing photographer
Homer Central third baseman Alex Duell follows through on his two-run home run that helped beat Skaneateles 9-6 in the Baden Tournament title game.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer
Ricky Newman was 2-for-2 with two runs scored while Alex Duell belted a long two-run homer into the pine trees in left-centerfield to help Homer Central cap a four-game, three-day string of baseball wins with a tournament titleWednesday.
The unbeaten Trojans improved to 4-0 with a 9-6 victory over previously undefeated Skaneateles in the John Baden Tournament championship game at the high school.
Tully (3-2) took third-place with a 20-18 triumph over Fulton (1-3), while Onondaga (1-3) edged LaFayette (1-3) with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 6-5 win in the fifth-place game.
“I was in a slump at the end of last year and at the beginning of pre-season so I have really been working on my swing,” said Newman, who also picked up the win in relief. “It was nice to win today. This really was a team effort.
“We are the new team in the league and we want to be the team to beat,” Newman added after knocking off Liberty Division foe Skaneateles. “We really don’t know anything about the other teams so it was nice to see one of them and see where we stand.”
For Trojan coach Rob Nasiatka, the tournament title is really nice, as is the 4-0 start.
“We hope we can keep it rolling,” said Nasiatka. “With this many seniors and this much flexibility, I hope we can keep winning for a while. I don’t want to jinx us because I am a superstitious guy, but we do have a number of guys who can pull innings on the mound and we have had a different hitter step up every day. We have had guys come off the bench to help. We got behind today, but came back. Those are all positives for a group of guys who lost 13 one-run games last year during the high school and American Legion season. The guys are believing they can win and that is so important.
‘It is nice to start out 4-0 and to win this tournament,” Nasiatka added. “You figure that two of the wins have come against Class A schools (Cortland, Fulton). The tournament is nice and it’s great to have Coach Baden come and is gives me a chance to see what guys can do. Without this, I don’t get to see what guys like Andy Parker, Ethan Forester and Brent Quinlan can do. It gets the parents involved and it’s a chance to get the community involved. I really want to make this tournament a regular thing.”
Despite the loss, Skaneateles coach Thomas Warner feels good about his team which stands at 4-1 after going 2-1 in the tournament.
“We gave Homer opportunities to score,” said Warner. “We really beat ourselves in many ways. We have been hitting the ball well. Our defensive let up a little today and they took advantage of it. It was nice to get three games in the books over the last two days and we will look to get going again in our next game.”
HOMER GRABBED a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Brendan L’Hommedieu, who went 2-for-3, led off with a single.
“It took a little while to get going again,” said L’Hommedieu, who came back to baseball program after a couple of years away. “The first practices were tough, but it got easier. I like playing with these guys.”
Duell stepped to the plate next and clubbed a high drive that settled into the pine trees in left-centerfield for a 2-0 advantage. The next two batters were retired, but four consecutive hits helped score three more runs. Newman singled and stole second base. Danny Miller (2-for-3) singled to right field to score Newman. Brandon Simonetta singled to put runners at first and second. Zach Bladen ripped a single to right field. Miller scored on the play and, when the right fielder misplayed the ball, Simonetta scored on the error for the 5-0 lead.
Skaneateles came right back with five runs in the top of the third inning to tie the game. With two outs, the Lakers went to work. Two wild pitches, four straight singles and the second Trojan error of the inning all aided the Skaneateles rally. With three runs in the book and runners at second and third, Newman came on in relief of starting pitcher Zach Blanden. A passed ball allowed Owen Stokes (2-for-3) to score the tying run from third base before the final out was recorded.
The Lakers took a 6-5 lead in the fourth. Phillip Weiss (2-for-4) drove in the go-ahead run with a ground-rule double. Jonathan Chapman scored on the play after a walk. Zachary Augustine also walked before Weiss’ double. Newman struck out Pesarchick to end the threat.
Homer immediately retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Newman doubled to lead off the Trojan at-bat. Miller shocked everyone with an opposite field double into the right-centerfield gap to plate Newman. Zandrew Zimmerman came in to pinch run while Skaneateles replaced starting pitcher Paul Hamilton with Jacob Bird. A passed ball moved Zimmerman to third and he scored on an error at second base as the Trojans went in front 7-6.
THE TROJANS added two more runs in the fifth inning for a 9-6 cushion. With one out, Duell walked and Randolph reached on an error. Alex Nelson singled to load the bases. A passed ball allowed Duell to score from third. Newman then walked to load the bases. With two outs, Simonetta was hit by a pitch which forced Randolph across the plate. That would complete the scoring in the game.
Newman worked one and two-thirds inning in relief with two strike outs, two walks and two hits allowed, plus one hit batter. Miller picked up his first save of the season by retiring all eight batters he faced, including two strikeouts.
Homer will enjoy one day off before beginning the Liberty Division season Friday. The Trojans will host Marcellus in a 1 p.m. contest at the high school.