By Rob Potter
MOUNTAINDALE July 27, 2004 After sweeping a Collegiate Baseball League (CBL) doubleheader versus Marlboro on Saturday afternoon, the Sullivan Spartans were looking to take two games from Poughkeepsie Frozen Ropes on Sunday.
A stellar pitching performance by Travis Steffens enabled Sullivan to post a 1-0 win over the Frozen Ropes in Sunday afternoons first contest. But in the second game, Poughkeepsie took advantage of some mistakes by the Spartans to record a 5-4 victory.
Poughkeepsie (8-16, 8-16 CBL) also had to withstand a late rally by Sullivan (13-17, 13-13 CBL).
Going into the bottom of the seventh, Frozen Ropes enjoyed a 5-2 lead. But the first batter of the inning, Joe Carriccia, ripped a double to left field. He then moved to third base on a sacrifice fly by Brian Gannon and scored on a passed ball.
After the second out of the inning had been recorded, Elvin Guiterrez kept the Spartans hopes alive by stroking a double to left field. Andy Peterson then hit a ground ball to third base, but the Poughkeepsie third baseman booted the ball. The shortstop then grabbed the ball and threw home, but the throw was high and went to the backstop. Guiterrez scored on the play to make it a one-run game.
Eddie Gonzalez then hit a sharp grounder to first base. Poughkeepsie first baseman Grant Elkin flipped the ball to pitcher Joe Barone, who caught the ball and stepped on the bag a split second before Gonzalez put his foot on the base to preserve the win for Frozen Ropes.
Poughkeepsie had to battle back from an early deficit. In the bottom of the first, Sullivan took a 2-0 lead thanks to a two-run single by Gonzalez.
In the top of the second, Poughkeepsie knotted the score at 2-2. With one out, Adam McCaffrey reached on an error and later scored on an error. Seconds after McCaffrey scored, John DAngelo, who reached base on the error that allowed McCaffrey to cross home plate, tied the game at 2-2 on yet another error by the Spartans.
McCaffrey gave Frozen Ropes a 4-2 advantage with a two-run double in the top of the third. Shane Arce then ripped an RBI single to left field to make it a 5-2 game.
We played well in that second game, Poughkeepsie Manager Matt Veronesi said. We got some hits when we needed to and were able to get a win.
Sullivan starter Kyle Bright gave up five runs, but only two of them were earned.
He did a great job for us, Sullivan General Manager/Head Coach Jed Carrier said. This was his first start of the year and he pitched well. We just didnt get hits at the right time.
Carrier also noted that mistakes hurt the Spartans.
When you play four games in two days, things catch up with you in that last game, he said. I think by the second game today, we had some players who were physically and mentally tired.
On the positive side, Carrier noted that the Spartans took the first three games of the weekend. In Saturdays twinbill versus Marlboro at Baxter Stadium, Sullivan prevailed 3-2 in the first game and took the second by a final score of 8-1.
Steffens then kept the Poughkeepsie batters off-balance in Sundays first contest. He allowed only three hits and struck out five batters to earn the complete-game win.
His teammates gave Steffens all the run support he would need in the third inning. Carriccia led off the frame with a single and Vicchiariello reached base on an error to put runners on first and second with no outs. Guiterrez then bunted Vicchiariello and Carriccia over to second and third, respectively.
Two batters later, Gonzalez singled and Carriccia trotted home to score the games only run.
Note: Entering the weekend, Sullivan was battling Wappingers for the final playoff spot. Wappingers, which has a record of 13-12 in CBL play, was slated to play Kingston twice over the weekend and is scheduled to meet Poughkeepsie tonight.
Sullivan is scheduled to play Washingtonville tonight and Marlboro tomorrow night to close the regular season.