By Lori Brown
FALLSBURG May 29, 2007 The Tri-Valley Bears earned a trip to the Section IX Class C Baseball Tournament by defeating the host Fallsburg Comets, 12-5, last Thursday in a non-league game.
The Bears, who are the fourth-seeded team in Class C, will play at No. 1 Tuxedo tomorrow afternoon. The first pitch of that semifinal game is scheduled for 4 p.m.
T-V started off Thursday’s game against Fallsburg (2-18) by scoring two runs in the first inning. Fred Moore hit a sacrifice fly and Bo Murphy scored on a base hit by William Elberth.
After holding the Comets scoreless in the bottom of the first, T-V’s Brendan Walsh started off the second inning with a solo home run.
James Knapp scored later in the frame to give the Bears a 4-0 lead.
During the second inning, Fallsburg’s Colin Whitaker hit a double and stole third base. But he could not score before the Bears recorded the third out of the inning.
T-V (10-9) extended its lead in the fourth inning. With two outs and three teammates on base, Moore slammed a line drive through the infield, bringing home Knapp and Kyle Byrne.
Bo Murphy then singled, which allowed Brendan Musa and Moore to cross home plate.
Murphy scored when Elberth singled to left center field.
Whitaker, the Comets’ pitcher, picked off Elberth and threw him out at second base to end the inning.
Fallsburg got off to a good start in the bottom of the fourth inning when Joey Sep hit a single.
Adam Pavloff singled and Matt Seletsky also got on base with a single.
With one out and the bases loaded, Kenny Corley slammed a double down the left field line. Sep and Pavloff both scored on the hit to make it a 9-2 game. Moments later, Mike Melko slammed a double to bring home Seletsky.
Corley was sent home as well, but he was tagged out by the Bears’ catcher, Moore.
T-V quickly got the last out to end the inning and hold a 9-3 advantage.
The Comets added a run in the bottom of the fifth as Weigand scored on a base hit by Sep.
The Bears scored their final runs of the afternoon in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Sep blasted a solo home run to pull the Comets to within seven runs.
But the Bears, behind Elberth, who entered the game as a relief pitcher in the fifth inning, got the next three Fallsburg batters out to earn the win and sectional berth.
Fallsburg Coach Darren Kenney noted that his team played the Bears at the beginning of the season and failed to score even one run. He saw some improvement by the Comets in Thursday’s contest with T-V.
“We hit the ball and gave them a run,” Kenney said of Thursday’s game. “We had a turning point during the game when Tri-Valley had five runs cross the plate with two outs in the inning. It was a close game until then and then they had breathing room.”
T-V Coach John Rusin said, “We had two senior pitchers that got ahead in the count and then pitched us out of jams.”
Rusin noted that Elberth made a double play during his relief pitching.
“We hit the ball well and put it in play with hard line drives,” Rusin said.
“Mentally, we had a good attitude today,” he added. “We lost the last five games, [so] we desperately needed a win today to advance to sectionals.”
Note: Prior to the game, Coach Kenney recognized the five seniors on the team: Kenny Corley, Gavin Gandulla, Adam Pavloff, Joey Sep and Shane Weigand. Also recognized was senior scorekeeper Danielle Persell.
Each senior was given a corsage to present to their mothers.
Kenney thanked those seniors for all of their hard work. He noted that the wins did not come, but was happy they had fun.
Kenney also thanked the parents for all of their support during the season.