The following is a republished press release…to submit a community announcement, email Peter Blanchard at [email protected].
By CONNER PETERSEN
CORTLAND, N.Y. — Halfway through the ball game, Friday’s contest seemed all but lost for the Cortland Crush.
After the Sherrill Silversmiths were retired in the top of the fifth inning the Crush trailed 7-0, having given up three runs in the frame. In the bottom half of the inning Julian Gallup (Niagara) would go on to score on a wild pitch, setting the stage to what would become an unlikely eight run, unanswered rally. The Crush capped the night with a three run ninth inning and walked off winners on Friday night, as Grant Hoover (Shippensburg University) nailed a line-drive off of the opposing pitcher, allowing Julian Gallup to score the winning run.
The Sherrill Silversmiths jumped on the Crush early and often on Friday night. Cody Barnes (Le Moyne College) allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits in four innings pitched, as Sherrill dominated the first half of the ballgame. Alex Bellardini (Monroe CC) tossed six strong innings of two run ball for the Silversmiths and left the game with a five run lead.
Sherrill started off their scoring in the top of the second inning when Andrew Taft (University of Buffalo) scored on a wild throw after attempting to steal third base.
In the top of the third, Sherrill strung three hits and two walks together, as Mitch Sloan (Ft Scott CC), Zach Taylor (Haverford Col), and Luke Johnson (Bucknell U) all scored runs giving Sherrill a 4-0 lead after two and a half innings.
The top of the fifth inning was a similar story, as Sherrill plated three more runs, extending their lead to 7-0. Zach Taylor and Mitch Sloan both notched singles before Michael-Patrick Buckley (Seton Hill U) hit a three-run homer over the left field fence to give the Silversmiths a commanding lead.
The Crush progressively made their way back into the ballgame though with runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. In the fifth inning, Julian Gallup scored on scored on a wild pitch, starting the Cortland comeback. In the sixth inning, Luke Gilbert (The College at Brockport) scored on an RBI single by Wesley Burghardt (The College at Brockport). In the seventh inning, the Crush continued to chip away as Grant Hoover scored on a fielder’s choice. Adam Holowienka (Neumann Col) tossed two perfect innings in relief for Cody Barnes to keep Sherrill at bay. Grant Hoover also stepped up on the mound, tossing three scoreless innings of relief to end the game, earning him the win.
It was the eighth inning in which things got particularly interesting. With the bases loaded and two out, Zephan Kash (Mansfield University) stepped up to the plate as the tying run. Kash then skied a 2-1 pitch to deep centerfield, which was misplayed by Tim Carapi (Le Moyne Col). Julian Gallup and Wesley Burghardt both scored on the critical error, and the Crush pulled to within two runs, only trailing 7-5 at that point. Although Cortland failed to tie the game in the eighth, they were ready to give it another shot in the ninth inning.
Matt Alberino (Northland Col) started off the ninth inning with a hard single up the middle. Wesley Burghardt then worked a walk to put the tying runs on first and second. Having been put in as a pinch runner for Alberino, Hank Pellicciotti (Binghamton U) stepped a bit too far off second base and was picked off by Sherrill catcher Kevin Jordan (Pomona-Pitzer Col). This was critical at this point of the game, considering the immediate threat that Cortland started the inning off with.
Nick Panissidi (Neumann) stopped the Silversmiths from gaining any momentum though as he stroked a 2-2 pitch to deep right-center field. Carapi, the Sherrill centerfielder was once again not able to coral the deep fly-ball, resulting in Wesley Burghardt scoring from first. In a relay attempt to throw Panissidi out at third base, the Sherrill second baseman’s throw soared over the third-baseman’s head allowing Panissidi to score an inside the park home run.
The defensive woes continued for the Silversmiths as Julian Gallup stepped up and laced a ball right between the legs of the Sherrill first baseman. Gallup would then advance to second on a wild pitch. With the winning run standing at second base, Grant Hoover lined a 1-2 pitch right back at the Sherrill pitcher. The ball was hit so hard, it deflected off the pitcher towards the first base side, allowing Julian Gallup to score from second, making the Cortland Crush winners.
The thrilling late inning walk-off single was a very impactful game for Cortland, as they improved to 19-15 on the year, and moved back into second place in the Eastern Division.