By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE April 28, 2006 Two innings made all the difference in Tuesdays Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV baseball game between visiting John S. Burke Catholic High School and Sullivan West.
Burke (4-5, 1-0 Division IV) sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the third inning. As a result, the Eagles turned a 1-0 deficit into a 7-1 lead.
But after SW (1-3, 0-1 Division IV) rallied to tie the game at 7-7, Burke responded with six runs in the top of the sixth.
The Eagles added a run in the seventh to record a 14-8 victory over the Bulldogs in the contest, which was played at the Lions Field in Jeffersonville.
After falling behind by six runs, the Bulldogs gradually erased the Burke lead.
SW scored four runs in the bottom of the third. Jim Moloney got things started by ripping an RBI double to deep left center field. Moloney scored two batters later when Steve Daley stroked a double down the left field line.
Burke pitcher John Commins recorded a strikeout for the second out of the frame, but the next batter, Brad Reimer, singled to right center field. Daley scored on the base hit, which brought the Bulldogs to within two runs at 7-5.
After holding the Eagles scoreless in the top of the fourth, SW continued its comeback in the bottom of the fourth.
Paul Pitz began the frame by smacking a double to left center. The next batter, Garrett Owen, hit a double of his own. Pitz scored on Owens double to bring the Bulldogs to within a run at 7-6.
Lloyd Shaffer hit a ground ball to third base, but the throw across the diamond by Burkes Nick Lambros eluded the glove of first baseman Anthony VanCuren. As Shaffer continued running to second base, Owen crossed the plate to make it a 7-7 ballgame.
But Burke made sure that the Bulldogs rally did not continue. Steve Ferrazzara, who relieved Commins in the bottom of the fourth after SW tied the score, struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, the Eagles gave Ferrazzara plenty of run support. With runners on second and third and no outs, Jimmy Smith stepped into the batters box. He then crushed a pitch, sending the baseball flying over the fence in the right field corner for a three-run homer. Smiths blast gave the Eagles a 10-7 advantage.
But the Burke offense was not finished. The next batter, Chris Batelli, doubled to deep right center field. He scored moments later on a wild pitch.
After SW pitcher Reimer struck out a batter for the second out of the frame, Mike Murphy hit a bloop single to shallow right field. Mike Casabona hit a ground ball to third base, but safely reached base and continued on to second base on an error. Murphy scored on the play, which extended the Burke lead to 13-7.
The Bulldogs attempted another rally in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Moloney doubled to left center field. Two batters later, he scored thanks to a single up the middle by Daley.
Although Chris Freebs drew a walk to put runners on first and second, Ferrazzara induced a groundout to end the Bulldogs threat.
The Eagles added an insurance run in the top of the seventh as VanCuren singled home Jim McFarlane.
Casabona and McFarlane each finished the contest with two hits and two RBIs, while Erik Reinfried recorded two hits and three RBIs.
Daley led the Bulldogs offense with three hits and three RBIs.
Ferrazzara picked up the win for the Eagles, while Reimer took the loss for the Bulldogs.
We took an early lead and Sullivan West came back to tie the game, Burke Coach Adam Kless said. But our guys didnt get nervous. They just went out and scored some more runs.
We just have a good group of guys who play together as a team, Kless continued. I think thats going to serve us well the rest of the season. If our pitching is off on a given day, our hitting picks us up. If our defense is poor, out pitching bails us out.
While SW Coach Kurt Scheibe Jr. was proud of his team for coming back from a six-run deficit to tie the score, he noted that the Bulldogs struggled in one key area of the game.
Our defense let us down today, he said. We made five or six errors and had a few more mental errors and other mistakes.
You are not going to win a ballgame when you give the other team extra outs, Scheibe added.
Scheibe noted that one bright spot for the Bulldogs was the performance by Reimer, who relieved starting pitcher Will OBrien in the top of the third inning.
Reimer pitched very well, Scheibe said.