By Ted Waddell
MOUNTAINDALE July 15, 2003 The Pine Bush Bandits pulled a Jessie James on the Sullivan Spartans in Thursdays Collegiate Baseball League (CBL) game at Baxter Stadium in Mountaindale.
The Bandits ambushed the home team lads, 7-2.
In the top of the first, Pine Bush (11-5) jumped out to a four-run lead on as many hits.
At their turn at bat in the opening inning, the Spartans (9-12, 6-11 CBL) made it a 4-1 ballgame.
Andy Peterson smacked a two-out double and Tim Gilmore tripled to send Peterson across the plate. Gilmore was left stranded when Jesus Pintado struck out.
In the second, Pine Bush picked up three runs on three hits, to set up a situation in which Sullivan faced having to battle back from a 7-1 hole.
In the fifth, the Spartans got a couple of hits but left three runners stranded.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Spartans picked up their final run of the evening as darkness descended over the stadium.
Jared Carrier doubled to right, but was picked off while sliding into the hot corner on a Michael Vichieariello double. Vichieariello later scored on a passed ball.
In the final frame, it was three up and three down for the Bandits. In the bottom of the seventh, the umpires called the game due to darkness.
James Biondo got tagged with the loss for the Spartans, while John Lunney picked up the win for the Bandits.
Anytime we get a W, its good, right? said Pine Bush Coach Jim Distefano, who played in a pinch due to the Bandits light bench.
Anchoring first base, the coach took to the field for the first time as a player since 1973.
We got some timely hitting and good defense, and had Lunney up on the mound, Distefano added.
In the seventh season in the CBL, the Bandits are at the top of the conference and are hoping for a berth in the playoffs.
The Sullivan Spartans have been playing in the CBL for two summers, thus bringing back the crack of the bat to Baxter Stadium.
Carrier, head coach/player for the Spartans, said of the 2003 baseball season, Weve had flashes where we went out and put together a quality product on the field, [but] then for whatever reason, we get an inning where we have physical and mental errors that put us in a hole early in the game.
We play hard to the end, but its frustrating to lose, Carrier added. Its been up and down all season . . . we never hit our potential.
After the game, there was an almost spectral feel to the place as the Spartans labored in the dark to rake the base lines and shadows moved like ghosts in the falling night. Memories of games under the lights lingered in the still air as the teams headed back on the road.