By Eli Ruiz
LOCH SHELDRAKE The Sullivan Spartan bats came alive in Tuesday’s 10-2 rout of the visiting Montgomery Cardinals in game two of the Hudson Valley Baseball League semifinals at SUNY Sullivan, evening the best-of-three. The deciding game was scheduled last night in Marlboro.
In Monday’s opening game, the Spartans were on the short end of a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. The single run came in the bottom of the first inning as leadoff hitter Mike Levy took Spartan pitcher Travis Renwick deep on just the second pitch of the game, a game Renwick ended up completing, giving-up just three more hits the rest of the way.
Game two was a completely different story for the Spartans, whose offense got off to an early start. Behind strong hitting from Zac Menendez, John Jonas and Joe Mickelson, the Spartans were able to take control of the game early with a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
The Cardinals got on the board in the second inning scoring with two outs on a sac fly to right-center by second baseman Joe Walentin. Later in the inning Nick Carmine lined a single to left loading the bases for Montgomery. With two outs, Spartan pitcher Kyle Montrose walked Mark Swertfager scoring Tommy Weiner. Mike Sciacchitano popped out to left to end the second inning with Montgomery down a run.
The Spartans got hot again in the third with right fielder Brian White ripping a single down the left field line and Jake Shilling following with a liner to left. With no outs and runners on first and second John Jonas struck again with a huge double that scored White and Shilling. Jonas would score later in the inning on bad throw to first giving the Spartans a 6-2 advantage after three.
The Spartans would score two more runs in the fourth behind a single from Menendez that scored second baseman Bobby Wagner. Shilling later flied out to center scoring Mike Mills on the sacrifice.
With the score 8-2, the Spartans would score another two runs in the sixth inning, putting the game out of hand.
The winner of Thursday’s deciding game will play the Extra Inning Clippers who eliminated the Connecticut Titans two games to one in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Spartans compete in the HVBL Western Conference where they represent Sullivan County’s only team.
Sullivan improved its season record to 23-22 and has made the playoffs seven out of its nine years.
Asked how he felt about his team’s chances in this year’s HVBL playoffs, coach Steve Alhona said, “I think we’re great, our pitching has been outstanding . . . I mean we’ve got everybody and we’ve kept the game open two days in a row.