May 13, 2008


Trojans batter Purple Tigers

CHS silenced by Simonetta


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Homer Central pitcher Brandon Simonetta pitched six strong innings as the Trojans trounced host Cortland High 17-1 Wednesday at Beaudry Park.

Staff Writer

Brandon Simonetta has something of an unusual pitching delivery.
In stepping back, then lunging forward and bringing the ball over the top, the Homer Central junior right-hander drew a comparison from his coach Rob Nasiatka, to Satchel Paige.
On Monday afternoon, Simonetta had about the same success that the ageless Negro League and Major League hurler had during his illustrious career, allowing three hits over six innings of work with seven strikeouts as the Trojans romped to a 17-1 OHSL Freedom American Division victory over host Cortland High at Beaudry Park.
“I threw more curves than fastballs today,” Simonetta said after raising his record to 2-2 on the season. “It depends on the team I’m facing If they start to hit the fastball a little bit, I go more with the curve. If I know an individual batter can’t hit the fastball, I’ll stay with that.
“This is up there as one of my better games of the season,” he added. “My catcher (Zach Randolph) called a good game. I only allowed Mexico, a good-hitting team, seven or eight hits earlier this season.”
“Brandon (in his first year of varsity play) has turned into a good pitcher,” Homer coach Rob Nasiatka said, his team now 6-4 in league play and 11-8 overall. “He has that awkward motion, and he’s a good athlete. He’ll gut it out for you, fight and do what he has to do. Zach, in calling the game for the first time this season, did an excellent job of keeping their hitters off-stride.”
While Cortland was stifled offensively by Simonetta and junior lefty Dan Miller, who tossed a perfect seventh in relief, Homer pounded out 15 hits off Cortland senior starter Jason Hogan, who took the loss, and sophomore reliever Ryann Hubbard.
Senior rightfielder Mike Riehlman led the way, going 4-for-4 with a double, four RBIs and three runs scored, while Randolph (double, four RBIs, two runs) and senior designated hitter Nick Biondi (three doubles, two RBIs, three runs) both went 3-for-5 and senior shortstop Anthony Brevetti went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and four runs.
“It was the same thing,” said Cortland coach John Tobin, whose team fell to 3-8 in league play and 6-11 overall. “You think you’re making progress. This is a young team that’s going to make mistakes, but we need to be able to put up a better fight than that.
“When guys don’t make plays, pitchers throw more pitches than they need to and get hit, which makes it look like they’re not doing their job,” added Tobin. “If we’d made the plays, it wouldn’t have been that bad. It’s a team thing — the whole group has got to step up. It’s easy to be enthusiastic when things are going well; it’s a little tougher when you’re up against it. When you get down a little, you can’t be calling in the dogs.”
HOMER GOT ALL of the runs it would need in the second, when it scored three times. Randolph singled home the first run with one out, and the next two came on an infield error and bad throw into left field trying to catch Randolph stealing third.
Brevetti homered to left to make it 4-0 in the third, and the visitors sewed up verdict with five runs in the fourth. Biondi drove in the first run with the first of his doubles, and after Brevetti was then walked intentionally to load the bases, Riehlman cracked a three-run double to the gap in left-center. He later scored on a bloop single to right by Randolph.
A single by Brevetti and a groundout by Randolph plated two more runs in the sixth to make it 11-0. Cortland scored its only run in the bottom of the sixth as Hubbard reached base on an error that allowed him to wind up at second, took third on a wild pitch by Simonetta and scored when junior pinch-hitter Cod Smith singled to right.
The Trojans sent 10 men to the plate in the seventh, scoring six runs on five hits, to account for the final margin. Biondi’s double to right scored the first run, and he later scored on a single to left by Riehlman. Junior first baseman K.J. Reese then smacked a two-run double off the leftfield fence and came home on a double to right by Randolph, who in turn scored when senior third baseman Ryne Austin doubled to left-center.
A year ago, the Trojans struggled to make sectionals, where they lost in the first round. Asked about the keys to the improvement they’ve made since last spring, Nasiatka, now in his second year as coach of the squad, said:  “The guys are such good friends this year. They’re a good bunch of kids, and their devotion ion the off-season was huge. Of the 13 on the roster, 11 went to clinics — Cortland State, LeMoyne and our own. They have a belief now in winning that wasn’t there last year.
“WE WANT TO get back to the level this program was at under Jeff Tabel (now a CHS assistant coach). The parents have formed the Baseball Boosters, and the kids get the equipment and support they need. This game will give us a boost toward sectionals, where we’re looking for a good seed and I think we could surprise some teams.”
“Homer’s got good senior leadership,” Tobin said. Their kids do a good job, and Rob does a good job.”
Homer was to host Fulton this afternoon and Phoenix on Thursday in a pair of 4:30 p.m. starts, while Cortland visits Phoenix Wednesday and hosts Jamesville-DeWitt at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
HOMER JVS blanked CHS 10-0 as Zach Blanden threw a complete-game four-hitter with 11 strikeouts and helped himself by going 2-for-3 at the plate, including a bases-loaded triple in the third to open the scoring. “Zach’s fastball was phenomenal and he was able to spot it well and get ahead of the hitters all day,” said Trojans coach Mike DiMattei, his team now 13-5. “He limited his walks today (two) and when he does that he is very difficult to beat. He did a great job for us.”
Zandrew Zimmerman went 2-for-3 and scored twice for the winners, while Zephan Kash had a double and two RBIs. Devon Darrow went 2-for-3 for Cortland (9-5), while Justin Hogan gave up three runs and fanned five but took the mound loss.
Homer visits Fulton today while Cortland hosts Phoenix Wednesday in a 4:30 p.m. start at Dave Guido Field.