By Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE June 2, 2006 On Saturday, the host Tri-Valley Bears defeated S.S. Seward Spartans, 4-3, in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V game to advance to the Section IX Class C tournament.
T-V had to win three games last week in order to move on to the sectionals.
My team showed a lot of heart and character and I hope they will continue it during sectionals, T-V Coach John Rusin said.
With the win, T-V improved its record to 9-11 overall and 5-7 in Division V. Seward fell to 15-9 overall and 4-8 in Division V.
Seward took an early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. The Spartans then prevented the Bears from scoring any runs in the bottom of the frame.
Neither team was able to score during the second and third innings.
It wasnt until the fourth inning that T-V scored a run. With two outs in the inning, Dan Walter hit a single. Walter was able to steal every base before the inning was over and scored the first run for his team.
T-V was able to prevent Seward from scoring during the top of the fifth to keep the Spartans lead at only a single run at 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, T-Vs Andy Cassidy had a base hit then stole second base. Bo Murphy got on base by drawing a walk.
Ian Exner hit a sacrifice bunt to move his teammates Cassidy and Murphy over to third base and second base, respectively. William Elberth recorded a base hit to bring Cassidy home and knot the score at 2-2.
Seward quickly got out of the inning by catching a fly ball.
In the top of the sixth, Cassidy, who is the Bears relief pitcher, came in to finish the game.
But Sewards Brenden Myers used a keen batting eye to earn a walk from Cassidy. Later in the frame, Jeremy Harter stroked a base hit with two outs that enabled Myers to cross home plate.
Myers run gave the Spartans a 3-2 lead.
During the bottom of the sixth, Seward pitcher Mickey Collins, who had started the game on the mound, received some help from his defense. After Collins walked Kyle Byrne, the Spartans turned a double play. Catcher Bryan Folkl caught a bunt and then threw out Byrne, who had strayed a bit too far from first base.
But the Bears tried to put together a two-out rally. Walter stroked a base hit and promptly stole second base. Fred Moore singled and the throw back to the infield was wild. But the Spartans first baseman quickly recovered the ball and threw directly to Collins, who tagged out Walter at home plate.
Cassidy and the Bears defense combined to hold Seward scoreless in the top of the seventh.
Before T-V batted in the bottom of the frame, Rusin had a talk with his players.
We need one run to tie or two runs to win the game, he said to his players.
On that note, Cassidy ripped a double to center field. Ian Exner then singled, which sent Cassidy to third base.
After Exners base hit, Seward Coach Bill Steele called a timeout to slow the game down and get his players back on track, but the Bears did not let up.
William Elberth stroked a base hit that allowed Cassidy to score the tying run as well as Exner with the winning run.
Mickey Collins pitched very well today, Rusin said. My players were hitting fly outs during the early part of the game and then finally were hitting grounders toward the end of the game.
Seward Tops Bears in Sectionals
Two days after suffering that 4-3, last inning defeat to the Bears, Seward gained revenge.
In a Section IX Class C quarterfinal game on Monday in Grahamsville, the Spartans topped T-V by a final score of 12-3.
Leading Seward to victory was Collins, who hit a home run, a double and two singles. He also finished the afternoon with four RBIs.
Also pacing the Spartans offense were Bryan Folkl, who had two doubles, a single and three RBIs, and Steve Sinisi, who recorded four hits and two RBIs.
Spartan pitcher Kyle OSullivan struck out five and allowed only two hits to earn the victory.
Joe Garigliano registered one of the Bears hits and Walter had the other, which was an RBI single.
With the win, Seward (16-9) advanced to face top-seeded Millbrook in the semifinals.
T-V ended its season with a record of 9-12.