By Ted Waddell
PINE PLAINS June 5, 2007 On Thursday afternoon, the fifth-seeded Liberty Indians (14-8) faced the top-seeded and host Pine Plains Bombers in a Section IX Class B baseball semifinal game.
When the dust settled over the field which was baking under a blazing sun, Pine Plains (13-4) advanced to the Class B title game with a 4-2 victory.
The Indians made it to Thursday’s semifinal by defeating the fourth-seeded Sullivan West Bulldogs, 8-1, at Lion’s Field in Jeffersonville two days earlier in the quarterfinal round of the tourney. With that win, Liberty avenged three regular-season losses to SW.
On Thursday, Liberty (13-8) grabbed the lead in its first at-bat.
Justin Garritt walked and Justin Katz was hit by a pitch. The next batter, Evan Kirsch, singled, which allowed Garritt to cross home plate with the first run of the afternoon.
Later in the opening frame, Scott Hamlin walked to load the bases. Trevor Tompkins then patiently drew a walk, which allowed Katz to score and give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Pine Plains scored twice to tie it up at 2-2.
Jimmy Boyles singled. Matt Patterson reached on an error and was sacrificed to second base and third base.
Boyles and Patterson both scored on a triple by Steve Flinn.
At their turn at bat in the fifth inning, the Bombers scored the go-ahead runs.
Giacomo Meccariello walked and Tim Reynolds reached on an error.
Patterson reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Meccariello and Reynolds both scored on a base hit by Kyle Southern.
Pine Plains Coach Phil Amelio selected sophomore Allen Lekocevic as the starting pitcher for the contest.
“He settled down after the first inning,” Amelio said.
“We’re still not hitting the ball the way we should, but we got some timely hits, and for a change came from behind,” he added.
Amelio said his team is known for its ability to steal bases.
For example, in regular season play this year, the Bombers were successful in 50 out of 51 attempts.
Liberty senior pitcher Kelly Hamlin was tagged with the loss.
“He pitched a tremendous ball game, well enough to win, but we just didn’t hit the ball,” Liberty Coach John Wilhelm said.
“We had an opportunity in the first inning to put four or five runs on the board, but we just didn’t hit the ball [enough],” he added.