By Rob Potter
MOUNTAINDALE July 12, 2002 The learning experience continues for the Sullivan County Phillies.
The team has had some ups and downs in its first year competing in the Greater Hudson Valley League. Last Saturday, the Phillies dropped a doubleheader to the CBL Storm at Baxter Stadium in Mountaindale.
CBL won the first game 9-4 and took the second by a 14-7 margin in a match-up of Mickey Mantle Division teams. (The Mantle Division of the Greater Hudson Valley League consists of teams whose players are 16-and-under.)
With the win, CBL improved to 11-1 in the Mantle Division. The Phillies dropped to 2-10 on the season.
After pounding out several hits and scoring nine runs in the opener, the Storm kept hitting in the nightcap.
CBL had six hits in the top of the second, which led to an 8-0 lead. Pete Marinaro, Rich Foy and Phillip Minasi all had RBI singles for the Storm. The big blow in the frame was a two-run home run by Devin Conroy. The inside-the-park round tripper made it an 8-0 game.
After the Storm added a run in the top of the third, the Phillies answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Dan Ratner beat out a grounder to short. Ratner then advanced to second base on a passed ball and scored when Jason Garritt singled to left field.
Sullivan Countys J. R. Rennison was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base and Corey Pazzalia followed with a double to right field. Garritt scored on Pazzalias hit to make it a 9-2 game.
Ryan Taylor then hit a sacrifice fly to center field which allowed Rennison to tag and score from third.
CBL added a pair of runs in the fourth and three in the seventh to take an 11-3 lead.
The Phillies, however, did not go quietly in the bottom of the seventh. After a one out single by Brian Parks, Ratner and Garritt each drew a walk to load the bases.
Parks and Ratner scored on wild pitches to close the gap to 14-5. Pazzalia then ripped a double to right, which brought two more runs across the plate.
But Storm pitcher Rich Foy got Taylor to ground out for the second out of the frame. Foy then struck out Derek Blume to end the game.
We have been hitting very well lately, CBL Co-Coach Al Barton said. We have recorded double figures in hits the past five games and won eight games in a row.
While praising his teams offense, Barton , who coaches the Storm along with Tim Croker, also noted the defense of center fielder Minasi. He took away a couple of potential hits from the Phillies.
He runs from gap to gap very well, Barton said. And he gets to the ball so well.
Despite the two losses, Phillies Coach Tom Pazzalia was pleased with how his team responded to being down so early in the second game.
We had a nice little comeback, Pazzalia said. Their big inning hurt us, but we didnt get flat. We could have been 10 run-ruled but we werent.
Pazzalia noted that the Phillies are starting to come together as the season rolls along.
The Phillies roster consists of 16-and-under players from around the county who play for various high schools. Parks and Taylor play for Sullivan West, Scott Alfano plays for Monticello, Matthew Waldman competes for Fallsburg, and Rennison competes for Tri-Valley. The other members of the Phillies roster Matt Berger, Blume, Garritt, Corey Pazzalia, Shane Noetzel and Ratner all play for Liberty.