By Lori Brown
LOCH SHELDRAKE The top-seeded SUNY Sullivan Generals hosted the No. 4 seed SUNY Ulster Senators on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Baseball Tournament.
At the same time, No. 2 seed Westchester Community College and No. 3 seed Dutchess Community College, played an opening-round game.
The winners of the two games were slated to meet on Saturday when the tournament moved to Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill. The losers of the two games were also scheduled to play each other on Saturday.
The first four innings of the Generals vs. Senators game was close, but Sullivan scored four runs in the next four innings to record an 8-4 victory.
Ulster held a 4-2 lead, but some big hits by Sullivan tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. Michael Gonzales slammed an RBI triple and then scored on a single by Jose Castellanos to knot the score at 4-4.
Stephen Sunday had the key hit for the Generals in the bottom of the fifth. He hit a two-run single to left field to give the home team a 6-4 advantage.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the eighth. Ariel Tineo hit a deep ball to center field for an RBI triple. He crossed home plate when the next batter, Sunday, singled.
Down by four runs entering their final at-bat, the Senators attempted to rally to at least tie the score. But the Generals’ strong defense prevented any kind of rally.
Sullivan pitcher Jimmy Sanchez earned the win to improve his record to 6-0 this season. Jeffrey Prouse relieved Sanchez during the ninth inning.
With the win, Sullivan improved its overall record to 27-16 on the year. Ulster fell to 10-18 this season.
While satisfied with the victory, Sullivan Coach Ryan Snair was already looking ahead to Saturday’s game.
“We will have to wait and see what happens on Saturday,” he said. “We have to just keep playing our game. The key to winning is timely hits, throwing strikes and playing defense.”
Jeremy Fredenburg and Jay Smith led the Senators’ offense. Fredenburg had two hits and two walks and Smith went 2 for 3 at the plate.
Ulster Coach Justin Karn said, “A couple of things did not go our way today. We have to play our game on Saturday.”