By Rob Potter
TUXEDO June 1, 2007 An early eight-run deficit proved to be a bit too much for the Tri-Valley Bears to overcome on Wednesday afternoon.
The host and No. 1 seed Tuxedo Tornadoes defeated the fourth-seeded Bears, 11-2, in a Section IX Class C baseball semifinal at Euvrard Field in Tuxedo.
With the victory, Tuxedo (11-7) advanced to the Section IX Class C title game for the sixth time in the past eight years. The Tornadoes will play second-seeded Millbrook for the championship today at SUNY New Paltz.
Tuxedo grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to an RBI triple by Billy Sahler and an RBI single by Garrett Gallagher.
The Tornadoes added to their lead in the bottom of the second. Leadoff batter Jimmy Lynch blasted a triple to deep center field. He scored when the next batter, Joe McNamee, doubled to right field.
A sacrifice fly by John Casse allowed Tuxedo to take a 4-0 lead.
The Tornadoes then took advantage of some Bear mistakes to grab an 8-0 advantage.
T-V (10-10) got on the scoreboard in the top of third. The first two batters, Kevin Drown and Brendan Musa, reached base with a single and walk, respectively.
After the Tornadoes recorded the first out of the frame, Bo Murphy ripped a single to left field to bring home Drown.
But Tuxedo pitcher Jeff Hart got the next two T-V batter to fly out to prevent the Bears from clawing any closer.
In the bottom of the fourth, Dino Gioffre blasted a two-out, two-run homer over the left-field fence to push the Tornadoes’ lead to 10-1.
T-V scored its second run in the top of the fifth. With Drown on second base with one out, Fred Moore singled to left center field. Drown was thrown out at home plate, but Moore advanced to second base on the play.
Murphy then hit the ball into center field, which allowed Moore to score.
McNamee’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth accounted for the final run of the game.
The Bears, who displayed class and tenacity throughout the game, kept battling in their final at-bat. The first batter in the top of the seventh, Kyle Byrne reached base on an error. He was forced out at second when Drown reached base on a fielder’s choice grounder. Musa then reached base on another Tuxedo error.
But Hart, who allowed only seven hits, got the next two batters to fly out to preserve the victory for the Tornadoes.
Murphy went 3-for-4 to the pace the Bears’ offense.
Tuxedo Coach Marco Margotta noted that his team’s quick start was a key to the victory.
“I told my players that it would be good to get an early lead on them,” Margotta said. “We know that Tri-Valley is a good team and has some great hitters.”
Margotta praised his players for playing together. He especially noted the performances of Gioffre, who is only a sophomore, and Hart, who threw just 91 pitches to earn the victory.
“For some reason, we were a bit nervous those first couple of innings,” T-V Coach John Rusin said. “We made some mistakes and, to its credit, Tuxedo took advantage of them.”
“From the third inning on, we played a good defensive game,” he added.
The game marked the final scholastic baseball contest for five T-V seniors: Kyle Byrne, William Elberth, James Knapp, Fred Moore and Brendan Walsh.