By Ted Waddell
TUXEDO June 4, 2002 Both teams came to play in last Thursdays Section IX Class C baseball semifinal.
The Torandoes of Tuxedo (14-5 overall) wanted to make it three wins in row over the Sullivan West Bulldogs (14-4) this year. In their OCIAA Division IV games this spring, Tuxedo prevailed by 13-9 and 13-0 margins.
But the Bulldogs kept fighting back to put the hotly contested game into extra innings until finally yielding 16-15 in the bottom of the 9th.
In the opening frame, Sullivan West signaled the opposition they came to play by scoring four runs.
With one out in the frame, Rob Taylor singled to right, followed to a walk to Jon Fanning. Two batters later, Everett Saul singled to send two runs across the plate. James Kearns smacked a RBI double and came in when a grounder by Mike Popolillo was misplayed by the Tuxedo shortstop.
In the bottom of the first, the Torandoes showed they werent taking any bark from the visiting hounds as they sent six runners across the plate.
Tuxedos Peter Bourke tied the game at 4-4 with a grand slam. The next two batters, J. C. Piazza and Billy Stalnaker walked and Seth Caridi whacked a triple to score both Piazza and Stalnaker to make it a 6-4 ballgame.
The Bulldogs fanged their way back to a two-run lead in the second. Jake Sauer-Jones led off with a double and Henry singled. A sacrifice fly off Taylors bat allowed Sauer-Jones to score from third.
Fanning singled to send Henry across the plate. Bright reached on a single. Kearns singled to drive in Fanning and Bright and give SW an 8-6 advantage.
In the bottom of the second, the Torandoes got back a run.
In the third inning, each team scored five runs.
SWs Pinkel singled and stole second. Sauer-Jones walked and Henry singled. Taylor singled to score Pinkel. Fanning then cleared the bases with a triple. Bright closed out the scoring by sending Fanning home with a single.
In the bottom of the third, Caridi had a 2 RBI single. Makoe sent another Torando across the plate with a single and scooted to second on the peg home. Squillini doubled, scoring a run.
Another Tuxedo runner crossed the plate on a Bulldog error.
SW was scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
At their turn at bat in the fourth, the Torandoes scored a run to knot the score at 13-13.
In the fifth frame, Tuxedo edged their way to a one run lead. Makoe led off with a walk. Muniz singled to place runners at first and third. Bourke hit into a forced play, scoring Makoe from third.
Tuxedo went up by two in the sixth. Caridi led off with a walk and came around to make it a 15-13 contest on an RBI single by Makoe.
In the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs sent the game into extra innings by sending two runners all the way home.
Henry started it off with a single. Taylor then tripled to bring Henry across the plate. With one out, Bright singled to score Taylor, making it a 15-15 ballgame.
Then things began to get a bit wild and wooly.
In the top of the 8th, Cookingham got to first after getting hit by a pitch, and then stole second. Pinkel attempted a bunt and Cookingham stole third. With Sauer-Jones at bat, Cookingham left SW fans scratching their heads in disbelief and despair after he tried to leg it across the plate on a botched sign but was tagged out on the line. A Sauer-Jones infield chopper closed out the inning.
Cookingham set down the Tuxedo batters 1-2-3 in the 8th.
In the top of the 9th, Henry reached on an error and advanced to second on a passed ball. Taylor singled, and Henry attempted a desperation race to the plate but was called out on a close call. Taylor moved to second on the throw home.
Fanning flew out, and Bright grounded out to wrap up the frame.
And then Tuxedo stepped up to the plate. With one out, Squillini walked and stole second. Muniz was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second. After Cookingham struck out the next batter, Squillini legged it to third. In the attempted tagout on the steal, the ball got away from the SW third baseman and Squillini streaked home to hand the Torandoes a hard fought 16-15 victory.
The slugfest required both teams to go through their stable of hurlers.
Taylor started out on the mound for SW, and was followed by Saul. Cookingham took over in the sixth, and pitched an excellent three innings, according to SW Coach Kurt Scheibe.
For the Torandoes, Jessie Bernardini got the ball rolling until being relieved in the third. Piazza pitched Tuxedo to victory.
Anyway you look at it, it was a great game, said Tuxedo coach Marco Margotta. Win or lose, you cant be disappointed with the type of play out here today.
I knew they would be a tough team, and we didnt want to take them for granted, he added.
Scheibe noted that the Bulldogs got beat by a very good hitting team.
It came down to a slugfest, and they got one more than we did, he said. Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes you dont. They got the one that matters.
Scheibe turned the spotlight back on a team that was for the first time, made up of players from three recently merged school districts: Delaware Valley, Jeffersonville-Youngsville and Narrowsburg.
They worked hard and practiced everything we asked of them, said Scheibe. You couldnt ask for a nicer bunch of kids.