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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

ELDRED PITCHER MIKE Prunka throws a strike in Thursday’s win over Livingston Manor.

Eldred Leaps Ahead

By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR — May 27, 2003 – A late-inning scoring spree allowed the Eldred Yellowjacket baseball team to earn a victory in its last game of the season.
Eldred scored seven runs in the sixth inning of last Thursday’s OCIAA Division VI game versus host Livingston Manor to post an 11-7 win.
The Yellowjackets held a slim 4-2 lead before breaking the game open in that key sixth inning.
Patrick Kean walked to lead off the frame and the next batter, Mike Prunka, reached base on an error. Devin Weyant then singled to center field to bring Kean across the plate.
After another walk loaded the bases, Manor’s Brian Will relieved Marvin Bonilla on the mound. Tim Schneider then greeted Will with a double to right field to make it a 8-2 game. Walter Kreidel followed with an RBI single to left field that brought John Martin and Schneider in to score.
Eldred (3-11, 2-5 Division VI) scored its final run of the game on an error later in the inning.
Manor (5-9, 3-5 Division VI) battled back in the bottom of the sixth.
With one out, Bobby Caputo singled to center field. After Derek Irwin walked, Bonilla ripped a single to left that allowed Caputo to score. Ryan Taggart then singled, which brought Irwin across the plate and cut the Yellowjackets’ lead to 11-4.
The Wildcats added three runs in the bottom of the seventh. After the first two batters, Brian Smith and Kyle Lackey, reached base, Evan Irwin hit a fly ball to deep center field. The ball bounced under the fence for a ground rule double and Smith scored on the play.
Lackey and Irwin scored on groundouts to draw Manor within four runs. But Prunka struck out Bonilla to end the game.
“We hit the ball hard today,” Eldred Coach Frank Kean said. “We learned a lesson yesterday. We had Florida down 5-4 in the sixth inning and they came back to beat us 8-6. We let them back in it. But today, we didn’t let Manor back in the game.”
Prunka was 3-for-5, while Schneider went 3-for-4 with three RBI for the Yellowjackets.
Will was 4-for-4 for Manor.
While happy to get a win in the final game of the season, Kean said he is not focused solely on wins and losses.
“The record isn’t what’s most important,” he explained. “What I’m looking for most is progression in the team’s play from the beginning of the season to the end.”
When asked if he had seen that improvement this season, the veteran coach was quick to answer.
“Very much so,” Kean said. “And that’s good because we have an eighth-grader and several ninth-graders on the team.”
Manor Coach Rob Farrell was impressed with Eldred’s performance.
“They really hit the ball,” he said. “Give all the credit to Eldred. They played a fine game. Offensively, they made all the plays they needed to and I don’t think they made an error all day. That’s impressive.”
Despite ending the season with a loss, Farrell was pleased with how the Wildcats played over the past 14 games.
“This is my second year coaching here and sometimes as an outsider you hear negative comments about a community and its school,” he said. “But you can throw all of that out the window as far as this team goes. They’ve been a class act and a pleasure to coach.
“Some games this season we did not make an error and in others we scored several runs, but we couldn’t put it together for one perfect game. But these guys deserve a lot of credit because they played hard all season.”

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