By Rob Potter
LIBERTY May 4, 2001 The Liberty Indians battled back from an early deficit but could not recover from two other offensive outbursts by visiting John S. Burke Catholic Tuesday in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III baseball game.
After Liberty (17, 07 OCIAA) cut what had been a 5-0 lead to a mere 5-4 advantage in the third inning, Burke (213, 27 OCIAA) scored six times in the fourth inning. The Eagles added three runs in the fifth and a pair in the sixth to post a 17-8 victory.
In that key fourth inning, Burkes Sean McGuire walked to lead off the frame and scored when the next batter, Chris Dowd, tripled to right field.
The next two batters walked to load the bases. Dan Lennon then hit a fly ball that was misplayed in the outfield. The ball rolled deeper into the outfield, allowing all three runners and Lennon himself to come around and score.
Burke added another run three batters later when an errant pick-off throw allowed Mike Finnegan to score as he stole third base.
Down 14-5 in the bottom of the fifth, Liberty managed to piece together a rally. After loading the bases against Lennon, who was the Burke starting pitcher, Brian Gatta scored from third base on a passed ball.
After a groundout allowed another Liberty run to score, Adam Lake singled to bring home Brendon Gonzalez and narrow the Indians deficit to 14-8. But Lennon quelled the comeback by striking out Nick Rusin to end the frame.
Were maintaining and trying to focus on what he have to do, Burke coach James Kelly said. Right now, this series has been a pleasure. The guys have been hitting pretty well and making contact.
Burke managed to sandwich a few timely hits around Liberty errors and miscues to score many of its runs.
Were still trying, Liberty coach James OConnor said. We are still trying, as a team, to play a complete game. And until we do that, were not going to win another game.
OConnor said that he knew his squads move to a Class B schedule would be tough.
Playing the Class B teams while still growing together as a team has led to some difficult defeats for the Indians. Last week, for instance, Liberty dropped a three-game Division III series against Ellenville. But two of the defeats were by a single run and the other was a two-run loss.
We have a few players who have been steady, OConnor said. Although others are not playing as well as I had anticipated them playing.
Despite the fact that the Indians have only one win on the season, OConnor remains optimistic.
This is a great group of kids, he praised. Were going to keep playing hard and hustling every single game until we get it right.
A solo home by catcher Joe Colacurcio was one highlight for the Indians. Colacurcio, a sophomore, got Liberty on the board when he led off the bottom of the second by hitting an absolute rocket to left field. The ball landed well beyond Burke left fielder Kyle Reed and kept rolling, ending up in extreme right field of the adjacent softball field.
Mike Poje went 3-for-5 with three RBI for Liberty.
Lennon, who scattered nine hits and struck out six batters over six innings on the mound, picked up the win for Burke.