May 4, 2012
Bunts come up big for CHS
Two key innings and some bunting prowess meant victory for the Cortland High baseball team Thursday afternoon against visiting Phoenix at Beaudry Park.
The Purple Tigers scored five runs in the third to erase a 2-1 deficit and — after the Firebirds had rallied to tie the score at 6-6 — used a three-run sixth to decide what ended up a 9-6 win.
The victory improved Coach Ben Albright’s squad to 5-5 in the OHSL Freedom American Division and 6-7 overall.
The visitors took the early lead with two runs in the second before Cortland scored once in the bottom of the frame as senior right fielder Jonathan Prior, who had walked to open the inning, scored on a groundout by senior first baseman J.P. Reagan. A two-run triple to deep right-center by junior left fielder Brian Hughes, who subsequently scored on a suicide squeeze single by senior center fielder Vinnie Bellardini, keyed the five-run third. Senior shortstop Connor Griffin and Reagan also had RBI singles to account for the other runs.
Phoenix (4-6 league and overall) came right back to tie the game with a four-run fourth. Adam Thoryk’s two-run double was the key blow as the visitors also used two singles and two walks to rally.
The scored stayed at 6-6 until the bottom of the sixth. Senior third baseman Cory Broyles led off with a walk, and after a sacrifice bunt by senior second baseman Devon Darrow was misplayed Griffin laid down a sacrifice bunt of his own that put men on second and third with one out. Hughes was then walked intentionally before sophomore right fielder Caden Giroux’s suicide squeeze hit scored Broyles and left the bases loaded. Bellardini then singled home Darrow and Hughes to account for the final margin.
Senior reliever and winner Dylan Stafford finished the game by picking a runner off first for the final out, with another runner on second.
All told, the Purple Tigers had two suicide squeezes, two sacrifice bunts and a drag bunt en route to the win. Griffin went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run, while Bellardini (three RBIs, run) and Reagan both went 2-for-4.
Stafford allowed one hit and one earned run with five strikeouts in 3 2-3 innings in relief of senior starter Will Lessard, who was reached for five hits and four earned runs in 3 1-3 innings.
“Will pitched for the first time and did well enough to put us in a position to win,” Albright said. “Dylan held it for us, got out of a jam in the fourth and held them scoreless the rest of the way
No one had more than one hit for Phoenix.
CORTLAND JVs improved to 9-1 on the season with a 14-6 win over Phoenix as Greg Brown went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run and Victor McCutcheon was 2-for-5 with three runs and three stolen bases. Nikolai Tubbs was the winning pitcher, giving up seven hits and five earned runs with seven strikeouts in five innings. Andrew Babcock gave up a hit and fanned three in working a scoreless final two innings.
Both Purple Tigers squads were to host East Syracuse-Minoa in doubleheaders today in 4:30 p.m. starts, the varsity at Beaudry Park and the JVs at Dave Guido Field.
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