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April 28, 2009

 

Potent Ludden bats topple Trojans

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

The inability to control the heart of the Bishop Ludden batting order proved costly to Homer Central Monday afternoon.
The visiting Gaelic Knights’ 2-3-4 hitters were a combined 10-for-14 with three doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored as undefeated Bishop Ludden handled the Trojans 14-8 in an OHSL Liberty Division baseball clash.
Bishop Ludden is a perfect 11-0 on the season, six of those victories in league play. Homer falls to 8-2. 2-2 in the division.
“That has been the norm for this club all year,” said Ludden coach Ted Klamm.”We battle and put good at-bats together. We really seemed to get after the (Homer) relief pitcher.
“We don’t have an ace for a pitcher this season, but we do have six or seven guys who can throw and we try to divide it up,” Klamm added. “We have played four straight days, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. We were looking at any available arms to get us through today. It certainly does help when you can score runs.”
“We spotted them five runs, but never quit,” said Homer coach Robert Nasiatka about his team that only trailed by one run entering the seventh inning. “Danny Miller showed a lot of heart on the mound. He tweaked his knee a little, but he battled through it. We showed a lot of heart.”
Bishop Ludden jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. With one out, John Rooney ( 3-for-4, 4 runs scored) singled. Trojan first baseman Jack Kissel made a great dive into the hole to stop the ball, but had no throw to get Rooney. Chris Davis (4-for-5, four runs scored, three RBIs) followed with a single to right field and Rooney hustled to third.
On the very next pitch, Matt Pirro (3-for-5, six RBIs) hit a fly ball to right field that just cleared the fence and the Gaelic Knights led by three.
Ludden sophomore James Murray pitched well the first three innings and kept the Trojan batters off-balance. Murray dodged a first-inning bullet when Brandon Simonetta led off with a single, but Murray picked him off with a nice move to first base. Zach Blanden followed with a triple, but was left stranded. Murray then retired eight straight batters, the last four by strikeouts.
Miller tweaked his knee while warming up for the second inning. Coach Nasiatka was called to the mound by the umpires, but Miller said he was alright. He pitched until the sixth inning when he was relieved with one out and two men on base.
The Gaelic Knights added two runs in the third. Rooney singled on a ball that took a top-spin hop over third baseman Alex Duell. Davis got a single on a bad hopper over shortstop Zach Blanden’s glove. After a double steal, Pirro singled to left field to score both runners. He tried to stretch the hit into a double, but a nice throw by left fielder Eric Rosato was cut-off by Duell, who threw to Ricky Newman at second base for the tag on Pirro.
The Homer bats rallied in the bottom of the fourth inning with six runs.
Blanden (3-for-4) led off with a single and he moved to second on a passed ball. With one out, Blanden moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Duell (2-for-4) single to right field. The Trojans were on the board and Murray was struggling with his control. Eric Rosato (2-for-3) and Kissel walked to load the bases. Zach Randolph hit a grounder to shortstop, but Kissel beat the throw to second. Duell scored and the bases remained loaded. K.J. Reese singled to centerfield, two runs scored and Randolph moved to third. Newman walked to again load the bases.
Simonetta hit a grounder to third base, but the ball was bobbled. Randolph scored and everyone else was safe so bases remained loaded and the score was tied at 5-5. After Reese was thrown out at the plate on a Bladen grounder to short, Murray tried to pick Simonetta off at second base, but his throw sailed into centerfield. Newman raced home and the Trojans led 6-5.
Murray finally ended his 43-pitch inning with a ground out.
Bishop Ludden moved back in front 7-6 in the top of the fifth on an error and run-scoring doubles by Davis and Rooney. Miller got out of the inning with no further damage.
After the Trojans were retired in the bottom of the fifth, Miller got a ground out to start things off in the sixth. Freshman Ryan O’Kane singled up the middle and pinch hitter Chris Ganley drew a walk. With two on and the top of the order coming up, Simonetta was brought on the pitch. A misplayed grounder scored one run and a walk filled the bases, but a Simonetta strikeout and grounder ended the Gaelic Knight threat.
O’Kane took over the pitching duties for Bishop Ludden in the bottom of the sixth and quickly got two outs. He walked Simonetta and a wild pitch allowed the Trojan runner to head to second base. Blanden doubled down the left field line to score Simonetta and Homer closed the margin to 8-7. The scored stayed there until the fateful seventh inning.
Two walks sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt and a bloop single by O’Kane filled the bases. The next batter was Paris and the game turned at this point. Paris hit a one-hopper towards Duell at third. The Trojans are thinking a perfect double play ball, but the ball’s top-spin send its over Duell, nearly hitting him in the face. Two runs scored and the wheels come off for the Trojans.
Back-to-back passed balls allow scored a run and sent Paris heads to third, though he was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to shortstop Blanden. But Rooney doubled home Murray and Davis launched a home run over the left-centerfield fence for a 14-7 Gaelic Knight lead.
Blanden took over the pitching duties and strikes out Pirro to end the inning.
The Trojans mounted a small rally in the bottom of the seventh. Duell singles to right field as the ball is lost in the setting sun. Rosato hit’s a shot in centerfield to put runners at first and second. A passed ball moves both runners up. With one out, Randolph singled up the middle to score Duell and Rosato goes to third. O’Kane retires the next two Trojan batters to end the game.
“Despite all the big hits by Ludden, we were a couple of hops away from beating them,” said Nasiatka. “Zach Blanden and Eric Rosato are hitting the ball well right now.
“When you face good hitting teams like this, you get these softball score types of games,” Nasiatka added. “We trailed by one heading into the seventh and a bad hop cost us a good double-play chance. There was nothing Alex could do on that play.”
Nasiatka also believes this race for a division title is still wide open.
“You’re not going to go undefeated to win this league and you’re not going to win the league with two losses,” said Nasiatka. “All the teams in this division are going to battle like this every night. We just need to bounce back against Jordan-Elbridge tomorrow and go from there.”
Homer will travel to Jordan-Elbridge for a 4:30 p.m. Liberty Division contest this afternoon before hosting Skaneateles Thursday at 4:30 p.m.