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May 22, 2013

 

Trojans shake off Spartans

SlideJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer’s Nate Urich slides safely into second base on a steal under the tag of East Syracuse-Minoa’s Brandon Breen in the third inning of Tuesday’s sectional contest.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

Jake Casey was part of the one of the scarier moments of Tuesday’s Section 3 Class A first round playoff baseball game, but he also knew his Homer Central teammates were there for him.
Pitcher Casey was hit in the heel by a line shot off the bat of East Syracuse-Minoa third baseman Matthew Hunter with two outs in the top of the second inning, but the junior left-hander shook off the pain to toss a four-hitter as the fifth-seeded Trojans recorded the 4-3 victory over the 12-seeded Spartans.
Homer (14-7) advances to Thursday’s quarterfinal round and travels to take on fourth-seed Jamesville-DeWitt (16-4) at 4:30 p.m.
Other first round games saw ninth-seed Oneida nip eighth-seed Camden 4-3, sixth-seed Christian Brothers Academy edge 11th-seed Bishop Ludden 3-2 and seventh-seed Carthage down 10th-seed Indian River 7-4.
Other Thursday quarterfinals have third-seed Cortland (14-4) hosting CBA (13-6) at 6:30 p.m. at Beaudry Park, Carthage (12-7) heading to second-seed Watertown (15-4) and Oneida (9-10) traveling to top-seed New Hartford (11-9).
Hunter’s shot off Casey was the first of three ES-M hits that inning as the Spartans took a 2-1 lead . Sam Pascarella doubled home Hunter and Matt Barbini singled Pascarella in. Those hits came after Casey had retired the first five ES-M batters he faced.
The Spartans then added a run in the third inning after a lead-off walk to Joel Clark. Stephen Loder sacrificed the runner to second. Clark moved to third on a ground out and scored on an error which would have been the third out of the inning.
The only other hit Casey surrendered was a one-out double by Greg Fingar, the losing pitcher, in the top of the fifth inning. He was left stranded at third base after Casey struck out the next two batters and the visitors would not score again.
Casey allowed two walks, hit one batter and struck out eight on an off day.
“IT WAS A GREAT team win,” Casey said. “I didn’t have my best stuff today, but that sometimes happens. My fastball wasn’t working so Chase (Davis) got together after the first inning and we talked about mixing things up because they were sitting on my fastball. They were able to do that because I pitched all seven innings in both regular season games against them so they saw me a lot. Chase is my catcher and his decisions were a big part of our win today. It really was my defense behind me that won this game.”
“We did pitch in reverse a little bit,” Homer coach Robert Nasiatka said. “Jake didn’t have the fastball he usually does, but he had what he needed. It was a great team effort with a lot of different guys having a part of this win.
“You never know who is going to step up,” he continued. “Connor Simonetta made a couple of great catches in centerfield. Igor (Sokolik) made a couple of big catches in left field. Chris Lee made some great plays at third. This was a defensive win for us and that is huge. That helps set the tone for what should be a very good game Thursday.”
The first big defensive play was a nice scoop in the dirt by Trojan first baseman Millet DeAngles on a low throw for the second out of the first inning.
Homer came to bat in the bottom of the first and took a 1-0 lead. Jake Hayes drew a lead-off walk off Fingar. Hayes stole second and scored on a one-out single by Casey, who was only multiple hit guy for either team.
After ES-M took that 2-1 lead, the Trojans responded with two run in the bottom of the second. Connor Simonetta drew a lead-off walk. DeAngles hit a high fly to right field that the fielder bobbled and dropped to put runners at second and third. Sokolik grounded out but that allowed Simonetta to score from third and tie the game at 2-2. With two outs, Davis legged out an infield single to put runners at the corners. Casey blooped a single into left field to score DeAngles for the 3-2 lead.
AFTER ES-M TIED the game at 3-3, Homer got the winning run in the bottom of the third. Nate Ulrich was hit by a pitch. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Simonetta hit a double into centerfield.
The Trojans got the first two batters on in the bottom of the fifth, but could not push any insurance runs across the plate.
ES-M had a runner at first with two out in the top of the fourth. Clark launched a deep fly ball into right-centerfield. Simonetta ran the rocket down and made a great catch to end the inning.
Casey retired the final eight batters after Fingar’s fifth inning double. Four were strikeouts. Hayes and Lee fielded grounders and made the throws to first for two more with Simonetta and Sokolik tracking down fly balls for the other two outs.
Homer will face Jamesville-DeWitt for the third time this season Thursday. The Red Rams won a the season-opener 14-0, but the Trojans got revenge with a big 6-5 win in the rematch at home May 2.
“Thursday is a big game for us,” Casey said. “We won the first playoff game and lost the second game in recent years so this is one we want. We not done yet. Thursday is just the next step.”
“I have my four-year veteran (Payten Boice) ready to go Thursday,” Nasiatka said, Boice getting the start against J-D. “If I had thrown him today instead of Jake, Payten would have been done for the tournament. Jake has the ability to come back on three days rest so things had to be set up right and we got the first step right with the win by Jake today.”
HOMER JVs overcame a 4-0 deficit to end their season 5-4 winners over East Syracuse-Minoa in eight innings. The Trojans (6-10) were the home team because the game had to be switched to ES-M for the varsity sectional game at home.
In the bottom of the seventh, Alex Parker roped a one out double down the left field line and pinch runner Matt Guerrera came around to score on an infield single from Gage Root that was also aided by a throwing error.
ES-M loaded the bases in the top of the eighth on three infield singles before pitcher Tim Russell struck out the next two batters and induced a groundout to the second baseman.
Homer filled the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning on a lead-off single by Brandon Grant, a single by Russell and a walk to Kenny Ellis. Jackson Dowdle would then foul off four 3-2 pitches before drawing the game winning walk.

 

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