July 23, 2007
Finucane blow boosts Post 489
Bill Sinsabaugh/contributing photographer
Cortland Post 489 catcher Sean Finucane unloads on 3-run homer that helped beat Marathon Post 617 7-2 in the Cortland County Legion title game Sunday.
DRYDEN — With one swing of the bat Sunday afternoon, Cortland Post 489 catcher Sean Finucane did exactly what he was known for.
Finucane blasted a 1-0 inside fastball from Marathon Post 617 pitcher Dan Bleck 380-plus feet over the left field fence to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning of the Cortland County American Legion Championship baseball game at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Post 489 would seize the momentum and plated four more runs in the inning for a 7-2 lead. That would be the final score as Cortland will advance to the District 6 Tournament in Binghamton. Post 489 will open the tournament with an 11 a.m. game Sunday at Conlon Field against the Tompkins County champion.
Marathon (5-9) reached the championship game with a 6-3 win over Homer Post 465 early in the day.
Cortland 7, Marathon 2: For four innings, things were going well for Marathon pitcher Dan Bleck and his Post 617 teammates. Bleck was staked to a 2-0 lead and held the powerful Cortland Post 489 offense to a lone first-inning single by Tim Fulton.
With the help of three walks, one hit batter and the Fulton single, Cortland had scoring chances in the first fourth innings, but came up empty. Part of the scoring frustrations were some great defensive work by Marathon third baseman Brett McGowan and second baseman Adam Wiley, who each grabbed hard hit balls for out, plus three strikeouts by Bleck.
Marathon took the 2-0 advantage in the top of the third. Dave Bleck and Wiley hit back-to-back singles. Tony Ortiz (2-for-3) followed with an RBI single that scored Bleck with the trailing runners each advancing one base on the throw to the plate. Aubrey Brown grounded out, but Wiley dashed home from third on the play.
The bottom of the Cortland fifth started with Brett Wright hitting a single and Tim Fulton trying to sacrifice bunt Wright to second. The throw to first was high, which allowed Wright to race to third and Fulton scampered to second. With first base open, Finucane stepped to the plate.
“Most definitely, that was probably the time we should have walked him,” Marathon coach Mike Bellefluer said in retrospect. “That was my bad! We played good against Cortland all year long and, for four good innings, we were right there. I have a team full of high school players and just one college player. Cortland is loaded with college players. We stayed with them every game this year. This is a very tough summer league outside the county with many teams having five or more college kids.”
With a 1-0 count, Finucane got his pitch and turned the momentum.
“We had a bunch of opportunities early, but could not get the big hit,” Finucane said. “I was lucky he threw to me because I expected to be walked. He threw me a good pitch and I happened to hit it well.
“We have been together for so long,” Finucane added. “We are all friends and there is no bad blood between any of us here. It is a great team atmosphere here. Even when we get down, we stay relaxed, because the experience is here. We know we can hit and we know we can come back in games.”
Andrew Foster drew a walk after the Finucance homer. Foster promptly stole second base, but it was costly as he jammed his ankle and left the game unable to put pressure on the ankle. Foster stayed in the dugout with his team and left for the hospital afterwards.
“Andrew said he felt a pop,” said Cortland coach Jeff Flegler. “He is going to the emergency room to have it checked out. The good thing that we have a week until our next game. We hope Andrew will be ready to play, but, if he’s not, we have guys who can step in there. It would be a shame if he can’t play.”
Ryann Hubbard came in to pinch run and play second base for Foster. Aaron Galutz walked and both runners advance on base on a wild pitch before Ian Spafford delivered a two-run single for a 5-2 lead. A couple of fielding errors led to two more runs and the game was essentially over.
“These kids are winners,” said Flegler, who was ejected in the sixth inning after a debate with the umpires. “They did not want Marathon to take what they believe is theirs. We think we are the superior team in this county and this district. We want to represent District Six well.”
Cortland pitcher Steve Wright settled down after that third inning and allowed just three more hits before Galutz came on after one batter in the top of the sixth and closed the door.
“Steve pitched a real good game today,” said Flegler. “He really has not pitched in about two weeks. His last start was in the World Youth Classic. We had a good scouting report on their hitters. Sean handled things from behind the plate. Steve buckled down and the rest of the defense buckled down and got the job done.”
Bleck did go the distance and allowed just four hits, but seven walks, three wild pitches and four team errors were too much to overcome.
Despite the final outcome, Coach Bellefluer was pleased with his players and their effort this season.
“These guys know how to handle pressure,” Bellefluer said. “Sometimes we get disturbed by certain things, but they are a great group of kids. I have them all returning next year. I really think it will be a different story.”
Marathon 6, Homer 3: Homer struck first in this game with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. After one-out hits by Nick Bondi and Anthony Brevetti (2-for-3) put runners on the corners, Brevetti stole second base before Matt Murphy belted a single that scored both runners.
Marathon tied the game in the bottom of the second. Two walks and a single by Dan Bleck loaded the bases. Cody Bellefluer tried to race on a a suicide squeeze play, but the bunt failed and his was tagged out while Dave Bleck and Dan Bleck both moved up one base. Adam Langtry singled up the middle to push both Blecks across the plate and knot the score.
Post 617 took a 3-2 lead in the fourth after Dan Bleck singled, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on a ground-out by Adam Wiley.
Post 465 mounted a couple of more threats through five innings, but Marathon catcher gunned down a couple of runners on the base paths and Brett McGowan settled down on the mound.
Marathon put the game away with three runs in the fifth. The key hit and bases-loaded double to deep left-centerfield by Wiley that cleared the bases.
Homer did score on unearned run in the top of the sixth to make the final count 6-3. Brevetti was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an error.
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Homer Yankees squeeze out win for title
Zach Blanden’s two-out suicide squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Alex Nelson to cap a four-run, come-from-behind rally to give Homer Yankees a 10-9 win over Cortland Alliance Bank and the Cortland County Babe Ruth Senior Division Championship Saturday night.
Earlier at Beaudry Park in Cortland, Alliance Bank reached the championship game with a 5-3 win over Dryden TTC.
In Junior Division playoff action, Groton downed Dryden APM 10-2 to advance to the semifinals.
Homer Yankees 10, Cortland Alliance Bank 9: Alliance Bank took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Alex Stacy was the first of three consecutive walks that loaded the bases. With one out, Marty Stark hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Stacy to tag-up and score.
The Yankees came back with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Jack Kissel walked and Brandon Simonetta walked to start things off. Alex Nelson singled home Kissel and T.J Casterline singled home Simonetta as Nelson raced to third. Josh Curatolo hit a sacrifice fly to score Nelson.
After scoring once in the third, Alliance Bank scored twice more in the fourth for a 4-3 lead. Matt Testa tied the game with an RBI single and Andy Parker scored on a grounder by Pat Phillips.
Cortland plated three more runs in the top of the fifth for a 7-3 advantage, but the Yankees answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to pull to within 7-6.
Alliance Bank scored twice in the seventh when Parker delivers a clutch two-run single with runners on second and third. Both Hubbard and Stark scored on the play.
Alex Duell led off with a double and Zach Randolph reached on an error. Simonetta plated Duell with a single and Nelson followed with a two-run single to even the score at 9-9. Nelson reached third base as T.J. Casterline drew a walk. Blanden then laid down his bunt single and Nelson crossed the plate with the winning run.
Nelson led Homer’s offense with a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate while Kissel and Duell each plated two runs. Stark had two hits and plated two runs to lead the Alliance offense.
Cortland Alliance Bank 5, Dryden TTC 3: Dryden TTC took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Wayne Dougherty singled up the middle with runners on second and third.
The TTC lead grew to 3-0 while Devon Cross doubled home Pat Perkins.
Alliance Bank began its comeback by scoring on a wild pitch and sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth. In the fifth, Stacy walked and moved to third after two wild pitches. Ryann Hubbard singled Stacy home to tie the game at 3-3.
Alliance Bank scored the winning runs the next inning. Phillips and Stark walked to start the inning. With two outs, Stacy smacked a double scoring both runners.
Groton 10, Dryden APM 2: Dryden scored twice in the top of the first inning, but those would be the only runs for the visitors.
Brian Chaffee began a three-run rally for Groton in the bottom of the fourth with a triple. Groton pulled away with two more runs in the fifth and five runs in the sixth.
Sam Wright, Logan Wannall and Nick Coombs all hit doubles for Groton while Tony Lelik doubled for Dryden.
Wannall started the game for Groton before Isiah Young came on and tossed five innings of shutout ball for the win.
Groton will face Homer White Sox in semifinal action Tuesday at Homer High School. The other semifinal finds Cortland Eagles battling Homer Rangers at Casey Field. Both games start at 5:45 p.m.
The two winners will meet in the Junior Division Championship Game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Beaudry Park.
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