LATE RALLY BY HORNETS STINGS BLACK KNIGHTS-FM 5 RFA 2
Rome’s Robbie Waller takes a whack in early action against FM.
“ When we play in Rome it’s always a dogfight”….those the words of Fayetteville-Manlius head coach Stephen Musso, as he stood in the first base coache’s box on a blustery, damp, windy, raw, cold, nasty, “spring” day.
A day that was not fit for man nor beast, speaking of dogs. Fortunately for coach Musso and his visiting Hornets, they got to head out to the bus, with a warm fuzzy feeling inside, as they held off the stubborn Black Knights of Rome Free Academy (1-3) and improved to (2-0) on the young season.
Nothing came easy, as mother nature laughed and smirked at those brave souls, who dared to sit through this windswept, seven inning affair.
How cold was it? Well, when the seventh inning rolled around, I could no longer move my fingers or grip my pen, as I tracked this nail-bitter. How cold was it you ask again? How about the this?
With the wind whipping, at about 40 miles per hour, the skies decided to treat us to a sudden burst of tiny frozen pellets, ice balls, in the fourth inning. I kid you not.
For those brave enough to trot out to the outfield at DeLutis, we all give you a hearty hand shake for trying to get under, let alone catch, a routine fly ball. It was that type of day.
The gray and green clad visitors drove to Rome, having played just one game so far this season, a game they won against the Proctor Raiders back on April 5th.
Mike Davis and his Knights were looking to get back to their winning ways, having dropped two straight, to Baldwinsville and West Genesee, after a season opening win against Auburn.
When the Black Knights ran out of outs, McClure and his fellow Hornets came out on top and McClure got the win, going the distance, pitching all seven innings, scattering 7 hits, striking out 5 and walking just two, while allowing just two earned runs.
Tennant’s line was not too shabby either. Aaron went 6 and 1/3 innings, yielding 7 hits, striking out 1 and unfortunately, for Black Knight fans, walking 8.
Of the five runs, Tennant surrendered, just 3 were earned. Steve Eychner came in to close things out for RFA.
The first three innings were controlled by both starters, as they took different roads to the same destination.
Tennant mixed up a great breaking ball with a sneaky fast, fast ball while McClure tried to burn one by the RFA hitters.
FM sent four men to the plate in the first inning. Mike Holcraft laced a single down the left field line with two outs. Holcraft didn’t get too far, as Tennant got Dave Nuzzo to fly out to center.
Both offenses were kept at bay until the fourth inning. The Hornets went down like ducks in a row in the visitor’s fourth as Steve Eychner made a great stop on a hot shot off the bat of first basemen Dave Nuzzo.
The solid defensive effort by Eychner was followed up by two strikeouts. The final one of the inning came as Tennant fanned, fellow starter, McClure.
The Knights were pumped as they headed to the dish ready to do some damage.
Robbie Waller started the rally with a sharp single to left and later scored the games first run as catcher Josh Mazzaferro ripped an RBI single as RFA led 1-0.
FM seemed to take offense as RFA grabbed the lead and got right back in it with a run of their own in the top of the fifth.
A slow roller to third, off the bat of DH Seth Pedersen, got the inning off on the right foot. Scott Bellina laid down a perfect sac bunt and just like that Pedersen was in scoring position.
Mike Perry continued the dink and dunk display as he beat out an infield single of his own to put men on first and third with two outs.
Coach Musso and the Hornets took a gamble, that paid off, when Perry broke for second with Tommy Flynn at the plate.
Mike Holcraft started the 6th off by sending a slow roller to third. First basemen Spencer Kahler could not dig the throw out of the dirt and Holcraft was on. Pinch runner Joe Salamone would later come around to score when Dave Nuzzo singled to right as FM now led 2-1.
RFA answered right back in their half of the 6th when Ryan Reilley and Josh Mazzaferro singled to start the rally. Mazzaferro later came around to tie it up 2-2 when Dylan Thomas singled to left to pick up an RBI.
We headed to the final frame tied at two. The Hornets loaded the bases and took the lead for good when Dave Nuzzo picked up the game winning RBI when he was issued a free pass by Tennant.
Little doubt was left when Tommy Flynn and Nuzzo scampered home thanks to a two RBI single by Mike Monashefsky who sealed the deal.
McClure sat the Black Knights down 1-2-3 in the home 7th to put a bow on the Hornets second win of the season.
Monashefsky and Nuzzo drove in 2 runs each for the winners. Josh Mazzaferro and Dylan Thomas drove in the two runs the Knights plated.
Up next for RFA, now 1-3, is a matchup with VVS on Thursday. For Fayetteville-Manlius now 2-0 they host Auburn on Friday morning.
Fayetteville-Manlius 5 Rome Free Academy 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
FM 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 5 7 1
RFA 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 7 2
Mike Monashefsky-2-3-2 RBI
Dave Nuzzo-1-3-2 RBI
Josh Mazzaferro-2-3-2 RBI-1 run scored
Dylan Thomas-1-2-1 RBI