May 10, 2011
Split decision for CHS, Homer
Rich Barnes/contributing photographer
Cortland High pitcher Cory Broyles throws to first baseman Brian Hughes to get an out as Homer Central’s Brent Quinlan (15) chugs down the baseline following a sacrifice bunt in the opening game of Monday’s OHSL Freedom Division doublehader at Beaudry Field. The rivals split the two games.
After playing two games in six hours of elapsed time, including a short break between contests, Monday afternoon into the night at Beaudry Park, the Cortland High and Homer Central baseball teams each had a win and a loss to show for it.
The Purple Tigers were the visitors in the first game and won 6-5, handing the Trojans their first league loss of the season.
Homer, the nightcap visitor, then got a dominant pitching performance from sophomore Payton Boice — who outdueled Brian Hughes, also a sophomore — in the second game to lead his club to a 4-1 victory.
“It was a fantastic job by Payton,” Trojans coach Rob Nasiatka said of Boice’s second-game three-hitter with 12 strikeouts. “Our team was down a little. They’re not used to losing. They came back from the first game well; our defense looked better, like night and day compared to the first game, and for Payton to pitch that type of game was fantastic.
“I can’t say enough about Ben’s team,” he added, referring to CHS coach Ben Albright. “Brian pitched a nice game and Ben does a nice job with them. I miss having John (Tobin, the longtime CHS coach) over in the dugout. John was a great competitor and it seems like Ben has picked up right where John left off. ”
Hughes allowed just five hits with eight strikeouts on the losing side of the game two pitching duel.
Homer is now 8-1 atop the OHSL Freedom American Division and 9-2 overall, while Cortland is 6-4 in the league and 7-4 overall.
“We’ve talked all year about being competitive in every game,” Albright said. “We’ve lost some close games, but we fell that we can play with any team at any level, and Homer is at a high level. Devon (Darrow, who won the first game in relief of junior starter Cory Broyles) came in and held them when we needed him to, like he has time and time again. He made the pitches, and the defense made the plays behind him.
“Brian pitched well in the second game, and the fact that two sophomores were the pitchers in that game and did such a great job says a lot about both of them. Payton was dominant all game and did a wonderful job,” he added.
Cortland 6, Homer 5: The Purple Tigers scored early in the first game, as leadoff hitter Darrow, then playing second base, was hit by a pitch from Trojans starter Tyler Simonetta, stole second and third and came home on an infield single by Hughes.
“Scoring in the first was key,” Albright said. “We started out strong against a good team, and showed them that we were there to play for seven innings.”
Homer took the lead back in the bottom of the first as senior first baseman Zephan Kash lashed a double to left-center and came home on a home run over the left field fence by senior catcher Andy Parker. Broyles walked to lead off the CHS third and later came home on a double to left-center by Hughes, but the Trojans retook the lead at 4-2 in the bottom of that same inning as Kash unloaded a long homer to right that also scored senior leftfielder Ethan Forster, won had singled to left.
It was Cortland’s turn to regain the lead in the top of the fifth. Senior left fielder Ryan Flatt led off with a single to right and eventually scored on a misplayed grounder by senior right fielder Luke Bush. Junior Will Lessard pinch-ran for Bush and later scored on a single to left by Darrow, and, with junior Kevin McNeil on in relief, senior catcher Alex Stacy singled to right to score junior third baseman Vinnie Bellardini, who had walked, to make it 5-4 for CHS.
Homer junior second baseman Mike Hartnett led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and later scored on a single to right by Forster to make it a 5-5 game. Both teams were then scoreless until the top of the seventh. Stacy led off with a walk, which brought senior Zach Blanden on as Homer’s third pitcher. Hughes then sacrificed Stacy to second, and he went to third on a wild pitch before scoring the eventual winning run on a sacrifice fly to center by junior shortstop Connor Griffin.
The Trojans had the bases loaded (on a single, walk, and infield error) with two outs in the bottom of the seventh before Darrow, after taking a moment by himself behind the mound, got an an infield line drive to end the game.
“Basically I try to hit the corners with my stuff,” said Darrow (2-0), who held Homer scoreless on one hit and had three strikeouts over the final three frames. “It’s not overpowering. I was just trying to take it all in (behind the mound); it was fun. I just walked off the field on the last out. I knew it was off the end of the bat.”
“In a game like this, records go out the window,” Albright said. “The kids know each other and they battled it out, down to the last at-bat. Homer didn’t let up or fold, like some teams would have.”
“We shouldn’t have had to come back,” Nasiatka said. “We didn’t play well defensively, and weren’t talking. We knew it would come back to hurt us one day, and this was that day. we hit well, but didn’t execute in the field. If you told me we’d get homers from Parker and Kash and not win, I’d tell you you were insane. Ben and his team played it smart in the seventh to score the (winning) run.”
Hughes went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and Darrow was 2-for-3 with Darrow went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run, the winners with seven hits in all. Kash was 2-for-3 with the double and homer, two RBIs and two runs for Homer, while Parker (homer, two RBIs, run) and Forster (RBI, run) both went 2-for-4 to lead their team’s eight-hit attack.
Homer 4, Cortland 1: Homer opened the scoring in the nightcap with a three-run third. Simonetta was hit by a pitch with one out and, after Blanden walked, Forster was safe and Simonetta scored on an infield error on a fielder’s choice. Blanden then dashed home on a steal as Forster was funned down at second, and Kash then unloaded another shot to right — his sixth of the season.
Cortland got its only run in the fourth. Stacy got to second base on a mishandled grounder on a bad throw, and two outs later senior first baseman Brycen Dunn walked and senior left fielder Alex Boyland was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A passed ball scored Stacy before Lessard, playing right, walked to reload the bases. Boice then got a strikeout to end the inning.
The Trojans closed out the scoring in the seventh as Blanden was hit by a pitch with two outs, stole second and came home on a single to right by Forster. Boice then struck out the side in the seventh to close it out.
No one had more than one hit for the winners in the game, while Griffin had two of the Purple Tigers’ three hits in three at-bats.
“Coach wanted to take me out before the seventh, but I wanted to finish it out,” Boice said after improving to 3-0. “My fastball and changeup were working; those are the pitches I’ve used throughout my career. I could tell early that I had good stuff; I was focused, and hitting my spots early. I could tell.
“After our first league loss, we wanted to go out and show who were are. The defense played great behind me; I wouldn’t have won without them.”
Both teams have a busy week of league play ahead. Cortland was to host Fulton today, Phoenix Wednesday and Fowler Friday, all at 4:30 p.m., while Homer is at Mexico Wednesday and hosts Syracuse CBA Thursday, both of those games also starting at 4:30 p.m.
CORTLAND JVs scored twice in the top of the ninth for an 18-16 extra-inning win over host Homer. The winners scored eight runs in the top of the six to take a 13-10 lead, and were up 16-10 when Homer scored six runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and send it to extra innings
Caden Giroux went 3-for-5 for the Purple Tigers, while Parker Williamson hit a three-run homer and ended up with four RBIs and two runs scored. Cody Cranston was the winning pitcher and struck out six of the last seven batters he faced. Tom Belton (triple, homer, five RBIs, two runs) and Connor Simonetta (three runs) both went 3-for-5 for Homer.
The Cortland JVs host Phoenix Wednesday at Guido Field in a 4:30 p.m. start, while and Homer’s JVs visit Fulton Wednesday.
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