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Rob Potter | Democrat

Liberty's Justen Mills (31) scores a run for the Sullivan County Community Generals during the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday. Mills, who plays right field for the Generals, would later drop down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to help lead his team to a 9 - 6 win.

Sullivan Generals split baseball doubleheader against Westchester Community College

By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE — April 6, 2010 — The Sullivan County Community College baseball team split a Mid-Hudson Conference (MHC) doubleheader versus the visiting Westchester Community College Vikings on Saturday afternoon.
Westchester took the opening game, 6-3, but the Generals rebounded to prevail in Game 2, 9-6, at the baseball field on the SCCC campus in Loch Sheldrake.
Westchester (13-7, 2-2 MHC) gained control of Game 1 with a five-run outburst in the top of the second inning. With one out and a teammate on base, Steve Valdes blasted a home run over the center field fence to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead.
The next batter, Anthony Petrone, walked and Andy Mendez and Mike Schiulaz followed with consecutive singles to load the bases. Chris Orlando then flew out to right field, but he earned an RBI as Petrone tagged and scored on the play.
Frank Sinatra then ripped a double to right center field to bring both Mendez and Schiulaz around to score and expand Westchester’s advantage to 5-0.
SCCC (7-12, 2-2 MHC) got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Alejandro Diaz led off the frame and drew a walk from Vikings’ pitcher Joe Panavese. Diaz advanced to second base on a passed ball and went to third base when Jimmy Caceras grounded out.
The next batter, Efrain Bautista, belted a double to the base of the fence in center field, which allowed Diaz to score the Generals’ first run of the day.
The score remained 5-1 in favor of Westchester until the bottom of the fourth inning. In that frame, SCCC loaded the bases with one out. After Panavese recorded a strikeout, Curtis Lopez singled to center field to bring Caceras and Bautista around to score.
With runners at the corners, the Generals tried to continue their rally. But Panavese struck out the next batter to end the inning.
The Vikings added a run in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Bobby Rodriguez singled to right field. He then scored when Ahmad Jeffrey reached base on an error.
Faced with a three-run deficit in their final at-bat, the Generals tried to come back in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Benny Martinez singled and Justen Mills walked to put runners on first and second.
However, the Generals’ hopes of rallying were dashed when the Westchester infielders turned a double play to end the game.
Panavese earned the win for the Vikings, while Jerolld Mejia (1-2) took the loss for SCCC.
Bautista led the Generals’ offense by going 3-for-3.
Generals take Game 2
Things worked out much better for SCCC in the second game as the team rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to record a victory.
Westchester grabbed that 3-0 advantage in the top of the first inning. The team scored its runs on an RBI single by Orlando, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly by Jeffrey.
The Generals answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Martinez led off the frame by singling to center field. He crossed home plate moments later when Mills reached base on an infield hit to shortstop.
After Vikings’ pitcher Pasquale Nigro struck out two batters, Mills scored on a passed ball to bring SCCC within a run at 3-2.
Westchester got those two runs back in the top of the seventh. With two outs and two runners on base, Orlando singled down the right field line to again give the Vikings a three-run lead.
However, the Generals tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the second.
With one out and runners at the corners, Martinez singled to center field to bring Brian Aponte in to score. Mills then bunted and Joel Cabrera, who was on third base, immediately broke for home. Cabrera safely slid across the plate and Mills reached first base on the successful suicide squeeze play.
Martinez scored the tying run moments later when Joe Coto hit a sacrifice fly to center field.
Westchester took a 6-5 lead in the top of the fifth inning as Jeffrey had an RBI single.
But SCCC answered with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Diaz started the frame with a single to left field and scored on a single by Bautista.
Bautista scored the go-ahead run when Aponte hit a stand-up double to left center field. Aponte then crossed home plate when Caceras reached base on an error.
Caceras scored the final run of the afternoon on a passed ball.
Elier Santana (2-3) earned the complete game victory for the Generals.
“I thought we did a good job in the first game,” Westchester Coach Billy McClure said. “We had that one big inning and added an insurance run in the sixth inning.”
He praised his two pitchers for their performances.
“Joe Panavese had a strong six and a third innings and then we brought our closer Andy Mendez in and he did the job for us,” McClure said.
“In the second game, we made five errors,” he commented. “It doesn’t matter what team you are playing, you’re not going to win the game if you make five errors.”
McClure lauded the Generals for the way they played in the second game.
“We had a lead, but they came right back and won,” he said. “They are a very good team and will be a tough team in the conference.”
SCCC Coach Ryan Snair noted that his team was unable to come up with a timely hit in the opening contest.
“In the first game, we just couldn’t get a hit when we needed to,” he said. “We had a chance to tie it in the fourth inning, but just couldn’t get a hit.”
Snair happily noted the work done by Santana in the second game.
“Elier Santana pitched very well,” Snair said. “He had a great performance out there today.”

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