May 17, 2013
Trojans nip Purple Tigers
Boice helps close the door on CHS
Payten Boice calls it short-term memory loss, and Thursday evening the Homer Central senior used it to provide himself and his Trojan baseball teammates with a win to remember.
After a rough third inning against host Cortland High in which he he threw four wild pitches, three of which scored Purple Tiger runs, starting pitcher Boice was relieved of his pitching duties.
He was called back in the bottom of the seventh, though, with runners on first and second and the visitors clinging to an 8-7 lead at Beaudry Park.
After uncorking his fifth wild pitch of the game to move each runner up a base, he struck out CHS senior designated hitter Justin Travis but walked senior left fielder Justin Sidebottom to load the bases. Boice then got senior catcher Parker Williamson to ground out sharply to first, preserving the win.
“This is my fourth year on varsity and I wanted to go out with a win in my last regular-season game,” a smiling Boice said after earning his first save of the season. “I had to do something. I’ve been taught short-term memory loss since I started playing. I just put it behind me and focused on what was ahead of me.”
The win enabled the Trojans to finish the season in second place in the OHSL Freedom American Division behind Cortland with a 10-4 record. More importantly, Homer improves to 13-7 overall, improving their chances for a better seed — perhaps third or fourth — in the upcoming Section 3 Class A tournament.
Coach Ben Albright’s Cortland squad, meanwhile finished atop the league at 11-3 and 14-4 overall. Watertown, at 11-1 in the Frontier League and 15-3 overall, is the Class A team with the best record in the section heading into Sunday’s seeding meeting.
This was the third meeting this spring between the two neighbors, Homer winning both league match-ups after CHS prevailed in the early-season Partigianoni Tournament title game.
“THIS WAS FUN,” Homer coach Rob Nasiatka grinned. “First of all, I can’t say enough about the quality program Ben has. They keep coming at you. We did the same, and this was a big win for us heading into sectionals.
“It showed the character of (junior) Darius Stevens, who hadn’t pitched a lot of innings but was strong going against the top team in the league in relief; of (senior) Jared McGee, who came on and did the job in relief; of Payten, who did what he had to do, and of (senior) Tom Belton, who sat on bench for four innings but got a huge hit for us. It helps you realize what character and class this team has.”
“It was back-and-forth. Both teams came ready to play,” Albright said. “It was a good call to bring Payten back in; he stepped it up and got it done. We were in control and they battled back, didn’t let down. Sometimes we go into cruise control, and you can’t do that, especially against a good team like Homer that’s going to battle with you.
“We thought after Peyten went out that we could close the door on them. We had the bases loaded in the seventh, and I’m confident that if we get in that situation again we’ll get it done. Good for them that they got it done tonight; I’m sure this will help them as far as seeding for sectionals. We’ll be seeded one or two; it goes by league record. I’m not sure where we’ll end up.”
On Senior Night, Albright started all six of his upperclassmen and the game was scoreless over the first two innings. Then came the aforementioned third as Boice unraveled. The Trojan defense didn’t help him, committing three errors as all four Cortland runs were unearned.
CHS STARTER SIDEBOTTOM was one batter over the minimum through the first three innings, walking one batter, but the visitors roared back with three runs in the fourth on three hits, an error and two wild pitches, the second of which, with the bases loaded after two hits and walk, scored the first run of the frame. A walk to junior second baseman Jake Trierweiler reloaded the bases before junior right fielder-center fielder Connor Simonetta’s infield single made it 3-2.
The third run came home as Williamson threw past third trying to nail the runner after a strikeout.
The Trojans took their first lead with two more runs in the top of the fifth off sophomore reliever Quinn Kennedy. Sophomore shortstop Jake Hayes led off with a walk and went all the way around to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior catcher Chase Davis. Junior center fielder-first baseman Jake Casey scored Hayes with a sharp single off Cortland senior first baseman Brian Hughes, and came home when Boice slashed a double to left.
The Purple Tiger retook the lead with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth off Stevens. Junior center fielder Victor McCutcheon singled with one out and stole second. One out later Hughes was intentionally walked before junior shortstop Zach Whelan walked to load the bases. Consecutive walks to sophomore third baseman Andrew Babcock and Travis plated the two runs.
Cortland made it 7-5 in the sixth as Williamson led off with a single, went to third on two wild pitches by McGee and scored on a groundout by McCutcheon. Down to its last three outs, Homer responded.
A LEAD OFF WALK by Hayes and a bloop single to right by Davis put men on first and second before, one out later, Boice walked to load the bases.. Hughes then came on in relief of Kennedy, and Belton greeted him with a line-hugging single past third that scored Hayes and left the bases loaded. Trierweiler then hit into a fielder’s choice that brought Davis home with the tying run and, also allowed Boice to score when a throw to first for an attempted double play went awry.
Hughes led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and went to second on a sacrifice by Whelan before Babcock was hit by a pitch. Boice then moved back to the mound from first base and closed out the game.
“Cortland is a well-coached team,” Nasiatka said in summing things up. “It would be fun to see them again.....but I don’t want to.”
CORTLAND JVs romped to a 10-2 win at Homer to improve to 12-3. Winning pitcher Jake Woods allowed two hits with 10 strikeouts over six innings. Tyler Straka went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs for CHS while Matt Pasquarello was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run and Nate Turkow homered and drove in a pair of runs.
Brandon Grant led Homer, going 2-for-3 with an RBI while Gage Root doubled and had an RBI for Homer (4-10), which hosts Fulton at 4:30 p.m. today.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe