By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE June 26, 2007 The Sullivan Spartans scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday afternoon to record a dramatic 9-8 victory over the previously undefeated Wappinger Yankees in Game 2 of a Collegiate Baseball League (CBL) doubleheader at the Sullivan County Community College baseball field.
With two outs, two runners on base and Wappinger holding an 8-7 lead, Sullivan Spartans batter Chris Gates hit the ball to deep left field. Dave Luczyski, who had been on second base, scored the tying run, and Byron Haynes, who was on first, crossed the plate for the winning run as Gates stopped at second base.
With the victory, which was the first for the Spartans in nine games against the Yankees this season, the Spartans improved to 6-13-1 overall and 3-8 in CBL play. Wappinger, which won the CBL championship in 2005 and 2006, is now 17-1 overall and 13-1 in the CBL.
(Last month, the Spartans and Yankees played to a 0-0 tie as darkness prevented the teams from finishing the game.)
“Chris made the most of his opportunity,” Sullivan Spartans Head Coach/General Manager Jed Carrier said of Gates’ game-winning double.
Gates also earned the victory as he relieved teammate Jeremiah Ferris on the pitcher’s mound with two outs in the top of the sixth.
The Spartans faced an 8-6 deficit heading into the bottom of the seventh. But a one-out sacrifice fly by Lenin Sepluveda allowed Kyle Sinclair to score from third base and bring Sullivan to within a run.
Wappinger took an 8-4 lead in the top of the sixth on a Spartans’ error.
The Spartans responded by scoring twice in the bottom of the sixth. Haynes scored on a double by Derek Blume. The next batter, Pete Eichner, singled to right field and Blume scored on the base hit to make it an 8-6 game.
The victory was the first of the weekend for the Spartans. On Saturday at SCCC, the Dutchess Tigers swept Sullivan, 7-5, 6-3, in a CBL doubleheader.
Carrier was happy with the way his team has been competing lately.
“We have battled back like that in other games this season, but this time we were finally able to get the win,” he said. “Our pitching has been great lately, but our defense and clutch hitting have been inconsistent at times.”
Naturally, Wappinger Yankees Manager E. Roland Norris was disappointed to see his team’s 17-game win streak snapped.
“[Being undefeated] is kind of like a hitting streak, there’s going to be a game where you don’t get a hit, so the team has to lose a game eventually,” Norris said.
But Norris noted that he is “very happy with our overall season.”
He also gave credit to Carrier and the Spartans.
“Jed has a very good team,” Norris said.
In Sunday’s opener, the Yankees posted a 9-2 victory.
Wappinger scored five unearned runs in the first five innings to overcome an early Spartans’ advantage.
Sullivan took a 1-0 lead when Blume led off the bottom of the first by blasting a 360-foot home run down the left field line.
Haynes was 2-for-2 with an RBI double and a stolen base (his first of five over Sunday’s two games).
Despite allowing only two unearned runs, Kyle Sinclair took the loss for the Spartans.
Spartan pitcher Everett Saul threw three innings. He allowed three unearned runs and struck out four batters.