May 13, 2011
Trojans come back to beat Brothers in 8th —
Right moves help Homer top CBA
Every baseball coach needs to think on the fly and make last minute decisions.
Homer Central coach Robert Nasiatka had more than his share of that Thursday afternoon before his first place Trojans hosted Christian Brothers Academy out of Syracuse.
In the end, Nasiatka made all the right moves as Homer rallied from a 4-1 deficit and posted a 9-8 OHSL Freedom Division victory over The Brothers in a wild, eight-inning contest. With the rally, Homer is now 10-1 in division play and 11-2 overall.
CBA falls to 3-6, 7-7 overall.
Playing their fourth game in four days, the Trojans were without Brent Quinlan’s arm, and Zach Blanden had pitched six innings the previous day. Then a pre-game injury to Kevin McNeil sidelined the junior all-around player for at least one week — so some Nasiatka juggling was in order.
Second baseman Mike Hartnett moved to left field, Ethan Forster went from left to centerfield, Leo Riley got the start at second base and freshman Jake Casey made the start in right field. The ball was handed to reliable senior pitcher Tyler Simonetta, looking to improve on his 4-0 record this season.
After all those changes, dependable Trojan Zephan Kash delivered the game-winning single in the bottom of the eighth inning to score Simonetta with one-out, capping Kash’s 2-for-4 day. But it was a clutch single by Casey in the bottom of the seventh inning that capped a three-run rally to tie the game at 8-8 and force extra innings. Casey was 0-for-8 since being brought up from the junior varsity, but he will forever remember his ninth at-bat and his first varsity hit.
“I’ve been pressing a little, but the hit came at the right time,” Casey said. “The guys have been great to me since I joined them. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
“I starting to feel like we are comfortable with games like this,” chuckled Kash after his late game heroics. “We like coming back in games. I guess it’s kinda our thing. It’s because we are a solid team and we feel we can come back against anyone.
“We have guys that will do whatever it takes to win,” he continued. “We seem to get stronger when we get behind. Most teams give up, we never give up. We’ve had a couple of wake-up calls from some teams, but it’s been good for us. We need that and it makes us better. We feel that we can beat anyone.”
AFTER RETIRING the side in order in the top of the first, Homer grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Forster reached on an error, moved to second on a wild pitch, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kash.
CBA tied the game in the top of the third inning before scoring three runs in the fourth to take the lead. Back-to-back singles by starting pitcher Jack Glover (2-for-3) and Riley Dixon (2-for-4) gave The Brothers two runners aboard. Glover stole second and went to third on the errant throw before Dixon’s infield single. Dixon went to second on defensive indifference.
With one one, Tim Corapi (2-for-4) stroked a single into centerfield to scored both runners. Corapi stole second and third before Ryan Van Patten walked. Sean Fitzpatrick dropped the ball just in front of Forster in centerfield, but the runners had to hold up originally as the ball looked catchable. When it dropped, Corapi scored, but Van Patten was thrown out on a strong throw by Forster to second base, but the Brothers had a 4-1 lead.
The Trojans got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Quinlan (2-for-4) led off with a single and stole second base. Blanden (2-for-4) followed with a double that plated Quinlan. Blanden stole third and scored on Forster’s sacrifice fly.
Simonetta pitched the sixth inning and retired the side in order. The Trojans took advantage of two CBA errors to score one run and put a runner at second base. Quinlan stroked a two-out single that scored Leo Riley to give the Trojans a 5-4 lead.
Nasiatka would try three pitchers in the top of the seventh inning, but CBA scored four runs to take an 8-5 lead. Payten Boice faced three batters, but after an opening strikeout was tagged with two hits, The second hit was a triple by Steve Gangemi that scored Fitzpatrick. Nasiatka turned to Wednesday’s mound hero Blanden, but he had no pop and was tagged for single, walk and double.
The Glover hit scored two runners, but he was gunned down by a nice throw from Casey in right field to relay man Riley to Hartnett at third base. Dixon followed with another double and Blanden was replaced by Kash on the mound. The sidearm right-hander got a fly ball to end the inning, but the Trojans now trailed 8-5.
AT THIS POINT, CBA coach Tom Dotterer went with his third pitcher of the game, but the Trojans teed off with five hits and tied the game. Blanden led off with a single, but was erased on a force out by Forster. Forster went to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, senior Andy Parker doubled to score Forster and he scored on a double by Boice (2-for-4).
Taylor Withiam came on as a pinch runner and scored on Casey’s first hit. Riley singled to put runners on the corners, but the inning ended with the winning run stranded at third.
Nasiatka turned back to his starter, Simonetta, for the eighth inning. Corapi led off with a single, but he was thrown out by Parker trying to steal second. Simonetta recorded his sixth and seventh strikeouts of the game to retire the side.
Simonetta took matters into his own hands and led off with a single of Glover, who also started and returned to the mound for the eighth inning. Blanden laid down a sacrifice bunt and the Brothers tried to get the lead runner, but Simonetta beat the throw to put runners at first and second. With one out, Kash hit a long single off the centerfield fence. Simonetta held up momentarily to make sure the ball wasn’t caught and quickly raced home as soon as the ball hit the ground and gave the Trojans the win.
“These guys picked me up,” Coach Nasiatka said. “I should have never pulled Tyler in the first place, but I went with the percentages. He was tiring and about to face the top of the order a fourth time. The guys won one for the coach.
“Tyler showed a lot of guts to get back out there,” he continued. “Everyone came up huge. What a great time for ‘Rabbit’ (Casey) to get his first hit. These guys don’t like to lose and we stole one today.”
Homer will return to Freedom Division Monday. The Trojans will travel to Chittenango for a 4:30 p.m. contest.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe