SAUQUOIT DEALS ACE AS SLIVINSKI GOES THE DISTANCE IN 3-2 WIN OVER IHC
The Sauquoit Valley Indians held off a late Watertown rally to secure a 3-2 sectional playoff victory by a smooth pitching performance from senior Rob Slivinski, timely hitting and solid team defensive play.
Slivinski walked the first Watertown batter he faced, Vince Alteri, but quickly followed with two outs as he forced Jake Fussilli and Austin Frechette both to pop up in foul territory. Fussilli popped up to Sauquoit senior catcher, Tom Jalowiec and Frechette to senior first baseman, Zack Thomas.
The Cavaliers quickly responded with two singles off the bats of Louie Freda and Robin Massey, sending a run home and taking the early 1-0 lead. The inning ended shortly thereafter when Slivinski struck out Miles Sexton.
Sauquoit came out in the bottom of the first ready to swing the bats and get the offense moving.
R.J. Spinella was first to take a cut and grounded out to the shortstop for the first out of the inning.
Pitcher, Rob Slivinski, was next up for the Indians and hit a liner to the shortstop who made a long throw across the diamond that sailed high and resulted in first baseman Joe Fay not being able to make the play, as Slivinski ran out the play and was safe.
Senior, Tom Jalowiec, then stepped into the batters box and turned on a pitch and gave it a long ride to left field nearly clearing the fences for a double and putting the Indians in scoring position.
With runners on 2nd and 3rd right handed batter, Zack Thomas, made his way to the plate and smashed a single to the shortstop who picked up the ball and tossed it to first, but a hustling Thomas was able to beat out the throw, netting an RBI and tying the game at one (1-1).
The bottom of the second started off with a single by Gary Falchi, when he placed a ball between the right and center fielder. However, the Watertown pitcher, Robin Massey, was able to strike out the next batter, Lewandrowski, and then record out number two when Ethan Harris perfectly placed a bunt between the pitchers mound and the third baseman to advance the runner.
R.J Spinella stepped up next looking to bring home some runners and was safe after hitting a ball hard to the third baseman who mishandled it. The Indians however, were unable to capitalize when Massey was able to strike out Rob Slivinski leaving two runners stranded.
Heading into the third inning with the score tied at one, both teams were eager to break out the bats and put some more runs on the board. However, both pitchers had alternate plans for the inning.
Slivinski worked a quick inning, facing only four batters. He was able to get Jake Fussilli and Austin Frechette to ground out and later struck out Robin Massey. The only hit was by Louie Freda, who scorched a ball to the right of a diving Gary Falchi, whose glove just grazed the ball.
Watertown’s Massey matched his counterpart in the inning by doing one better. He retired the side, striking out Tom Jalowiec and Kevin Owens and popping up Zack Thomas.
Slivinski continued to move along efficient and effectively in the fourth inning. He allowed a single to center by the first batter he faced, Miles Sexton.
Slivinski then struck out the next batter, Spencer Sharlow and helped himself when a ball came back to him and he went to second for the 1-6-3 double play.
The Indians continued to battle, and Kory Lewandrowski hit a ball at Watertown shortstop Jude Fussilli, who botched it for an E6. Runners were now at 1st and 2nd for the home team.
That brought up Ethan Harris for the Indians, who took direction from his coach and laid down a bunt and ran like the wind, again beating out the throw to load the bases.
Seeing his opportunity, senior R.J Spinella moved into the batters box and smoked a ball to left field sending two runners home, picking up two RBI and giving the Indians a 3-1 advantage.
The Indians turned to the bottom of their batting order in the bottom of the sixth to add some insurance runs and “have a day” as many of the kids on the bench were encouraging.
Still confident in his starter, Sauquoit Valley head coach, Frank Curriere Jr., sent his senior pitcher back on the mound for what he hoped would be the final inning to finish what he started, and finish he did.
Curriere could not ask for more as Slivinski forced Joe Fay to ground out back to him for the first out, then secured out number two with a fly out and ended the game in dramatic fashion by striking out Jake Fussilli. The Sauquoit Valley Indians were victorious by a final score of 3-2. Slivinski finished with six strikeouts, one earned run and two bases on balls.
Leading the offense was Tom Jalowiec, who was 2 for 3 with a double, two stolen bases and an RBI and R.J Spinella with two RBI and two stolen bases.
Following the game senior starting pitcher, Rob Slivinski, spoke with My Home Town Sports regarding his complete game sectional playoff performance. Slivinski said, “I came out in that first inning a little rusty and was not able to hit my spots like I wanted. I was missing with my curve ball. A lot of it may just have been adrenaline.”
Slivinski added, “Starting in the second inning I started hitting my spots and getting command of my curve ball and started to feel good and settle in. Our defense today played really well and helped me out a lot, with a few great double plays and a diving catch.”
Slivinski reflected on what it means to pick up a sectional win in front of the home crowd and in his senior year. “It feels good to get that first win under our belt but, we feel we have a lot more left in us. We have something to prove after our first round exit last year to Little Falls. We are excited and ready for the competition.”
Senior second baseman R.J Spinella told My Home Town Sports, “This win means everything to us. We know we have a good team and after last year we have to prove that to everyone else. We know we can play with anybody, and this is our chance to show everyone.” Spinella stated, “When we put all the pieces together we can do things. Today we did that. We hit well, pitched well and played well defensively.”
Senior first baseman Zack Thomas agreed saying, “When we have everything firing at all cylinders we can be pretty good. We had some big plays that were confidence boosters and we played off of that and got fired up.” Thomas also said that “This team has a lot of confidence. We believe in each other. We stay together, play together and we can be successful together.”
Lastly, senior catcher Tom Jalowiec commented, “We played small ball and did it well today. The first few innings we got the momentum going and played off of that. I personally felt good today getting two hits as I was in a little bit of a slump. This win is a big confidence booster and this team feels like they have a lot left in the tank.”
The coach told us, “I am very proud of this team. We have had some ups and downs but, they don’t quit or give up. It is a perfect time for them to come together.”
Curriere described the team as a “close-knit group with some returners and some younger players all of whom are stepping up at the right time.” The coach added, “I am happy for these boys. They have worked hard all season and have practiced hard these last few days, wanting to be at practice.”
“We will gear up for it and hope for a deep run but, we will take each game one at a time.”
Watertown IHC 100 010 0 2-6-2
Sauquoit 100 200 X 3-8-1