JEFF COOKES UP COMPLETE GAME VICTORY AS KNIGHTS CRUISE-9-2
DYLAN THOMAS MONSTER ENERGY DRINK PLAYER OF THE GAME
“Photos by Mark Simon of DirtyJerz Images.com”
Day one of the Inaugural Oneida County Stop DWI Baseball Classic brought together the second of five great high school baseball matchups. The nightcap pitted the Rome Free Academy Black Knights against the Blue Devils of Camden.
As you know, some athletes handle the bright lights better than others. Two of those athletes wore RFA colors on this April Evening.
Junior pitcher, Jeff Cooke and senior center fielder Dylan Thomas made the most of their time in this marquee matchup and helped lead the Black Knights to a convincing (9-2) win over Camden, to improve to (4-5) overall.
Cooke improved to (3-1), as a starter, pitching a gem, and holding the Blue Devils in check with a masterful seven inning outing. Cooke struck out eight, yielded just four hits and two runs.
Jeff also showed great form at the plate, collecting two hits and driving in two runs, to aid his own cause.
Thomas showed great range, roaming the vast expanses of center field at Murnane. Thomas made playing center field, on a very difficult night, look like a piece of cake.
Dylan also drove in three runs by going 3-4, and all this added up to Thomas being named the Monster Energy Drink Player of the Game.
One of the three RBI Thomas picked up came in the first inning, as RFA scored five big runs to take command early.
Garrett Reilley lofted a deep fly ball to right field that eluded three Camden Blue Devils and dropped in for a wind-aided single.
Jeff Cooke stepped up next and drilled a deep sac fly, to the deepest part of the park, in straight away center, to send Eychner home with the first run for the Romans.
Then Thomas got into the act, as Reilley scored when Dylan pounded a ground ball to the left side of the infield to pick up the run batted in.
Catcher Josh Mazzaffero then joined the hit parade with an RBI single of his own, as Thomas raced home to make it (3-0) RFA.
Ryan Reilley kept the two out rally alive when, the other Reilley, Ryan came to the plate and blasted an RBI double to deep left field, as Josh Mazzaferro scored the games fourth run.
First baseman Connor Miller kept the momentum going, as he ripped one through the infield down the third base line to force Ryan Reilley home, as it was raining runs for RFA. After one half inning RFA led (5-0), as the Black Knights sent 9 men to the dish.
Coach Jake Bates and his Blue Devils entered tourney play with a record of (4-3) coming off a solid 12-6 win over former Tri-Valley League member Vernon-Verona-Sherrill on Thursday.
The Devils tried to answer the Knight’s big inning in the home first and had a runner in scoring position in Cody Sullivan, with one out, as Sullivan doubled. Sullivan stayed planted at second as Cooke retired Parker Smith and then struck out right fielder James Matthews to end the threat.
Starter Jake Come settled down and put goose eggs up on the board in the second and third innings as Camden tried to rally from behind.
Rally the Devils did, as they plated two runs in the second inning. Center fielder Ryan McCarthy started a two run rally, for the home team, when he hustled to first to beat out an infield single, as he hit a deep grounder to short.
Ryan put himself in scoring position when he stole second base. Sam Platt then drove a double to right field as McCarthy raced to third base.
Joe Foll, the Camden first basemen, worked out a walk to fill ‘em up with Blue Devils.
Starter Jake Come came through when he bounced one into right field to pick up two RBI as McCarthy and Platt scored to make the score (5-2) RFA.
Cooke dug deep to retire the next three batters and leave two Devils stranded to end the Camden threat.
Cooke was helped out by a great defensive play of his own, as he picked off Come. The pick was followed by James Mitchell hitting into an inning ending double play.
From there, Cooke really got in a groove, as he allowed just two more hits the rest of the way.
Leading (5-2), coach Mike Davis had the pleasure of watching his Knights erupt for three more runs, in the fourth inning, to start to put the Devils on the ropes.
RFA did all of the damage with another two out rally. Connor Miller flied out to right to start the frame off. Left fielder Tom Amuso, singled up the middle and later, scored RFA’s sixth run of the game.
The Amuso single was followed by the second out of the inning, as short stop Steve Eychner popped out to opposing short stop Cody Sullivan.
The two out rally was kept alive when Garret Reilley lifted a flair into left field to set up a first and third situation with Amuso at third and Reilley at first.
Up steps Jeff Cooke, who picked up another RBI by singling to right, scoring Amuso, as RFA upped the lead to (6-2).
Thomas ripped a pitch deep down the left field line to chase home Garrett Reilley and Kenny Adams to pick up his third ribby.
The Romans added one more run, to put the icing on the cake, in the fifth inning.
With one out, Ryan Reilley lofted a single to right field and later scored from third on a throwing error, as James Henry came on in relief of starter Jake Come.
No matter how hard the Blue Devils tried they could not solve Cooke, as the right hander put up nothing but zeros the rest of the way.
The win improves RFA’s record to (4-5) on the season while Camden drops to (4-5) with the loss.
Both teams and their fans seemed to enjoy the festivities at the 2012 Oneida County Stop DWI High School Baseball Classic.
RFA 9 Camden 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H
RFA 5 0 0 3 1 0 0 9 11
Camden 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 4