By Ted Waddell
MOUNTAINDALE July 22, 2003 In what was their last hurrah of the 2003 baseball season, the Sullivan Spartans split a Collegiate Baseball League (CBL) doubleheader versus the Washingtonville Wizards Saturday at Baxter Stadium in Mountaindale.
In the opening game, the Spartans (13-15 overall, 10-14 CBL) blanked the Wizards, 6-0. In the second game, the local lads suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in the seventh inning.
In the first game, Travis Steffans hurled what Sullivan General Manager/Coach Tim Havas called a beautiful game . . . he shut them down and didnt walk a batter.
In the bottom of fifth, the Spartans racked up five runs.
Mike Vichieariello singled. Gil Suarez sacrificed and ended up at the hot corner on a throwing error, which allowed Vichieariello to score.
Corey Huber singled home Suarez to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
David Bradstreet laid down a single between first and second. With no outs, Bill Reichmann reached on a bunt to load the bases. Andy Peterson smacked at 2 RBI single. Reichmann scored on a sacrifice fly by Tim Gilmore to close out the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Vichieariello and Huber reached on base hits. An RBI single by Bradstreet sent Vichieariello home for the final run of the Spartans 6-0 win.
Maynard Schmidt pitched the opener for the Wizards and took the loss.
It was a good game right up until the fifth inning, said Washington ville Coach Bill Bloom, Sr. Then we made some mental and fielding errors, and they wound up scoring five runs. Otherwise, it was a pitching duel.
In the afternoons second contest, the Spartans followed their game plan of sending three pitchers up to the mound. Kyle Bright started, Brett Verdichio entered the game in the fifth and Jim Biondo took over in the sixth.
Bill Bloom, Jr. picked up the 2-1 win for Washingtonville (10-10).
In the top of the sixth, Tim Gilmore singled for the Spartans andscored on a base hit by John McElwee.
The Wizards tied it up with an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth.
Ryan Nataleno reached on an error and legged it to second. He scored on a Luke Brusceno single.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Brusceno stepped up to the plate and poked a sandtrap single down the left field line. After the dirt settled, he was solidly on first. Jeff Van Etten doubled. John McCombs then stroked an infield single to the right side of the line to score the winning run.
Meanwhile up in the roasting hot bleachers, Ray Suarez watched his younger brother, Gil, battle it out for 14 innings. He played for the Spartans last year, but on Saturday afternoon viewed the game while sitting under an umbrella, seeking shelter from the blistering sun.
Gil Suarez was all set to try out for the New York Mets a few weeks ago, but according to Havas, decided to wait until he was at the top of his form before showing the major league team his best stuff.
I have mixed feelings about the season, said Havas. Recordwise, Im disappointed that we didnt do better win-loss wise. But the only reason were here is because we want kids to have an opportunity to play ball during the summer.
Jared Carrier, a player/coach for the Spartans, summed up the 2003 CBL season.
We probably had more downs than ups, especially early in the year, he said. I thought we would hit our peak and run with it, but we never really hit our stride.
Were looking for a good season next year.