May 6, 2011
Comeback beats J-D in extra innings, 12-11 —
Trojan bats shake the blues
Christine McNeil/contributing photographer
Homer Central’s Kevin McNeil heads to first base after stroking the game-winning hit while coach Rob Nasiatka celebrates as the Trojans beat visiting Jamesville-DeWitt, 12-11, in extra innings Thursday.
After warming up in pink shirts in recognition of Coaches vs. Cancer fund-raising festivities at the school, Homer Central decided to stick with the traditional blue jersey for their OHSL Freedom Division baseball showdown with visiting Jamesville-DeWitt.
Then the Trojans’ bats were feeling blue for six innings before coming alive to make this a Thursday afternoon to remember.
After surrendering 11 runs on just 10 hits with six errors, Kevin McNeil capped a stirring Trojans’ come-from-behind victory with a two-out single in the bottom of an extra eighth inning for a 12-11 triumph over the Red Rams.
First place Homer improves to 7-0 in division play, 8-1 overall. J-D falls to 2-7, 4-9 overall.
J-D took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with the help of an error, but Homer tied the game in the bottom of the frame. Zach Blanden’s lead-off homer knotted the score at 1-1.
The Red Rams got two more runs in the second with the aid of two hits and two more errors. The visitors appeared to put the game away in the third when Tyler Kirwan cleared the bases with two outs on a grand-slam home run to centerfield. That chased Trojan starter Brent Quinlan from the mound and brought Tyler Simonetta to the hill.
Matt Yonta was looking strong for J-D with four strikeouts and just four hits allowed through four innings. The Trojans tagged the hurler for three runs in the bottom of the fifth on back-to-back home runs by Zephan Kash and Andy Parker. Kash launched a two-run shot to left-centerfield. Parker (2-for-5) followed with a solo shot down the left field line to cut the deficit to 7-4.
J-D scratched out a run in the top of the sixth, but went quietly in the seventh.
Trailing by four runs, Blanden (3-for-5) opened the Trojan seventh with a single and he hustled to second when the ball was bobbled in left field. Ethan Forster (3-for-5) got an infield single as he beat the throw to first and Blanden raced to third base. J-D went to Justin Marzella for the save opportunity. Kash walked to load the bases and Thomas Austin came in to pinch run for the first baseman. Parker hit into a fielder’s choice. Blanden scored from third as Austin beat the throw to second base. Payten Boice (3-for-4) grounded into a double play, but Forster scored from third to close the deficit to 8-6. Quinlan walked and stole second base. On the throw, Austin dashed home and Homer trailed by one. McNeil (2-for-5) stroked a single down the right field line to score Quinlan with the tying run.
Play moved to the eighth inning. Dan Canfield walked and stole second. Marzella singled to put runners at the corners and sent Simonetta back to the outfield. Simonetta had been effective with 10 strikeouts and four hits allowed over four and one-third innings. Blanden took the mound and struck out the first batter he faced. A single by Paul Fitzgibbons scored Canfield and Marzella went to third on a wild pitch prior to the knock. A passed ball allowed Marzella to score and Fitzgibbons went to second. Another strikeout accounted for the second out of the inning. Mason Schoeneck (2-for-3) walked before Jimmy Sinopoli (2-for-3) singled home Fitzgibbons to give J-D an 11-8 lead. After another walk, Blanden struck out Kirwan to end the inning.
The bottom of the eight started with Blanden striking out. Forster singled, but Kash lined out with a shot to left field. Down to their final out, Parker singled to right field and Forster scored. Parker went to second on catcher’s indifference. With two strikes, Boice singled to centerfield. Parker chugged home and Boice raced to second on the throw to the plate. Quinlan singled to put runners on the corners and McNeil followed with the game-winning single to left-centerfield.
Homer will return to Freedom Division Monday traveling to Beaudry Park for a doubleheader against Cortland High. Game one begins at 4 p.m.
HOMER JVs struggled offensively and defensively Thursday. After posting a one-run win at home a few days earlier against Jamesville-DeWitt, the Trojans managed just eight hits and three runs as the Red Rams rolled to a 16-3 victory
“It was a rough night,” Homer coach Mike DiMattei said after J-D collected 18 hits..
Connor Simonetta was 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and two runs scored to lead the Trojans. Chase Davis added a 3-for-3 bat to the offensive attack.
Homer JVs will host Cortland at 4 p.m. Monday.
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