July 20, 2011
Homer’s run ends losing to Oneonta
BINGHAMTON — Homer Post 465 saw its determined baseball run in the American Legion District 6 Tournament come to an end Tuesday.
Post 465 opened its day with a 16-5 mercy-rule win over Vestal Post 89 in an eight-inning contest to stay alive at Conlon Field. The bats fell silent in the losers’ bracket final as Oneonta Post 259 posted the 13-5 win to advance to the finals against Binghamton Post 1645 today.
Homer was eliminated, but the locals played very well — plating 55 runs in five games and nearly recovering from an opening round setback in this double-elimination affair.
“This loss was bittersweet especially after the way we played earlier in the day and yesterday,” Homer coach Mike DiMattei said. “Our guys showed that we belong and can stay with any team in this tournament. It was a great showing for our boys and for the Homer Legion program. Each and every boy on this team should be proud of what they did this year. We competed against some tough competition this year and we showed that we are a darn good team.
“I want to thank every player and every parent for their time and commitment this summer,” he added. “A lot of players, parents and coaches would be happy to take the summer off and that is why I’m so grateful to this handful of players. I look forward to coaching some of the players again next year and I hope they look forward to competing for another District 6 American Legion championship.”
Homer 16, Vestal 5: Post 465’s bats came alive in the first of two games played at Conlon Field. Homer pounded out 16 hits and won by the mercy rule for the second game in a row.
Homer started the scoring in the top of the second inning as Logan Kinney (4-for-5, 4 RBIs) singled home Chris Wheeler (2-for-4). Kinney scored, as did Marcus Warner (2-for-4), on an error by the Vestal shortstop for a 3-0 lead.
Vestal tied the game in the bottom of the third inning, but Homer busted the game wide open in the top of the fourth inning with an eight-run outburst. Alex Nelson began the inning with a walk and move the third on a double by Wheeler. Kinney doubled home both runners and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Ethan Forster.
After a walk to Kevin McNeil and Zephan Kash was hit by a pitch, Brandon Watkins (2-for-5, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs) smacked a double that plated both Warner and McNeil. Mike Courtwright (3-for-4, 3 runs scored) then cleared the bases with a three-run home run to deep left field.
Homer tacked on two runs in the top of the sixth inning to make the score 13-3. Vestal scored one run in the bottom of sixth on a double and single and plated another one in the bottom of the eight on a home run by Nick Buchta.
Post 465 put the game away for good in the top of the eighth inning with three more runs. Courtwright started the inning with a single and he stole second base. Kinney’s base hit scored Courtwright and Kinney later crossed the plate on a Forster single. McNeil singled home Warner for the final run.
Ben Smith pitched all eight innings for Post 465 to pick up the victory.
Oneonta 13, Homer 5: Oneonta grabbed a 3-0 lead during the first three innings. Ben Moxley hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning. Chris Pindar added a solo shot in the third.
Homer rallied to take the lead, scoring all five runs in the top of the fourth inning. Brandon Watkins smacked a two-RBI bases-loaded single and Alex Nelson delivered a three-run homer. Those were two of the four hits Post 465 mustered against a tough Oneonta pitching staff.
“Those five runs certainly gave us life, but Oneonta just kept coming,” DiMattei said.
Oneonta took the lead for good with four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Five more runs in the sixth inning sealed the victory.
“I will give Oneonta credit for hitting the ball hard and making plays,” DiMattei said. “Playing eight innings earlier and running out of pitching, we just couldn’t compete.
“Oneonta’s defense was stellar as well and they made a lot of great plays on a lot of hard hit balls from our guys,” he continued. “We fought valiantly but could never break through again after the fourth inning.”
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