Christian Brothers Academy couldn’t put Schenectady away in the sixth inning of Friday’s Big 10 baseball game at Central Park’s Buck Ewing Field, and it cost the Brothers a lead.
Chris Sand nearly put one out in the next inning, sending the Brothers to a 6-4 victory, and the Patriots to what could prove to be a very costly defeat.
“We opened the gate for them,” CBA coach Dave Doemel said of a two-out, infield pop that dropped in to keep Schenectady’s sixth inning alive. “I think Sand got a little ticked off, and he sent one off the 380 sign.”
Sand’s long two-run double following Chris Lewyckyj’s tie-breaking single enabled the Brothers to open up a 6-3 lead in the top of the seventh. Reliever Jeff Mikula worked through a difficult bottom half to secure the victory for Anthony Wesley.
Batting third and fourth in the lineup, Lewyckyj and Sand, both juniors, combined for two doubles, two singles and five runs batted in. In the spot before them, 11th-grader David Russo collected two doubles and a single.
“Those guys have been getting it done,” Doemel said after his Brothers went to 10-3 in the league and 11-4 overall. “They’ve been carrying us all year.”
It’s been an up and down year for the Patriots (5-7 league, 7-11 overall), who dropped their third game in a row Friday in the rain after winning four straight. The Pats need eight league wins to qualify for the Section II Class AA playoffs, where, in 2007, they reached the semifinals.
“If we could have won this one, it would have made things easier. Now we need to win three of our last four. Hopefully we’ll fare a little better,” said Schenectady coach John Isabella, whose team rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits before losing to CBA for the second time this spring. “If we don’t have a letdown, it’s doable. We’ve got to play well.”
Aside from a second-inning error, Schenectady played extremely well in the field to quell several CBA threats, yet the Patriots and reliever Ryan Zielinski could not hold off the Brothers in the seventh.
Zielinski issued a one-out walk and a two-out walk before Lewyckyj singled for a 4-3 lead, and Sand drove two more home with his blast to left-center field.
“I took a pitch [for a ball] and I knew he didn’t want to fall too far behind. I knew he was going to throw a fastball, and it was right down Broadway,” said Sand, a 6-foot, 220-pound first baseman. “When I hit it, I thought it was gone. I actually stood there and watched for a couple of seconds.”
Mikula ran into trouble in the home seventh when he sandwiched two walks around a strikeout and Ryan Quinn singled to load the bases. Mikula got his second strikeout, and Alex Jurczynski followed with an infield RBI single before Dante Shafer lined out to Joe Corrigan in center field.
“Jeff battled through it,” Sand said of the senior righty. “He showed what he’s made of.”
Schenectady did, as well.
“It always seems like we’re playing catchup, and that’s tough, but I can’t ask for more,” Isabella said of his underclassman-diminated group. “They battle and battle and battle.”
“Schenectady was jacked up,” said Sand. “If they make the playoffs, and they play that way, they’re going to be tough.”
Jurczynski reached on a two-out, infied error in the Schenectady sixth and Shafer hit an infield pop between Wesley and Russo, CBA’s catcher. The ball dropped for a single, sending pinch runner Adam DeFruscio to third, and Joe Borowski connected for an RBI single to tie the contest.
“That ball has to be caught,” Doemel said. “When you give a team an extra out, you’re going to have a problem. There are enough good players around that are going to take advantage.”
“We took advantage of a mistake and tied it, but we still fell short,” Isabella said. “We’ve had a lot of close ones like this.”
Lewyckyj hit an RBI double in the CBA first, and the Brothers added a run in the second when Borowski threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt. Kyle O’Brey — who had earlier doubled — hit an RBI triple in the Schenectady third and CBA regained its two-run lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Sand. Quinn doubled in the home half and eventually scored on a groundout by Jurczynski to make it a 3-2 game.
CBA had the bases loaded with two down in the sixth when Schenectady right fielder Zack Andi turned in a defensive gem, a diving grab on Creighton’s sinking line drive. CBA also had the bases filled in the fourth when third baseman Nick Ottati snared T.J. Lane’s hard two-out shot.
CBA 110 100 3 — 6 10 1
Schenectady 001 101 1 — 4 10 1
Wesley, Mikula (7) and Russo; Borowski, Zielinski (5) and Jurczynski.