STAYING ALIVE-SMITH POST HOLDS OFF HELMUTH-INGALLS 6-4
Smith Post applies the pressure and holds off late rally to beat Helmuth-Ingalls
Editor’s Note: MHTS update: It was a busy but productive day for Smith Post of Rome as they beat Helmuth-Ingalls and then later doubled up Utica Post,4-2, to keep their hopes of winning the District Five Tournament alive. Smith must now beat Whitestown twice to earn the crown. MHTS will have coverage tomorrow.
By Peter Pagliaro-MHTS
Utica, New York – Donovan Stadium at Murnane Field was the site of the American Legion D5 Tournament elimination game with Smith Post 24 facing off against Helmuth-Ingalls Post 232.
Helmuth-Ingalls Post pitcher Will Blazer also worked efficiently in the first after a ground out, pop out and an outstanding sliding catch by the right fielder Zack Lusby ended the inning.
The top of the second saw three runners reach when Joe Durante singled, Michael Wilson and Ryan Reilley walked.
Durante then stole second only to be picked off later in the inning and Zach Lusby followed by striking out and Benjamin Rolewicz popping out to end the inning with no scoring.
In the bottom of the second Smith Post started the inning with a ground out by Andrew DeBlasiis and Drew DeBlasiis followed by getting hit by a pitch and then Josh Mazzaferro walked, however the inning came to an abrupt end when Derek Murphy grounded out to third baseman Samuel Hale who touched third and threw to first for the double play.
The top of the third saw another stellar pitching performance by Smith Post’s Ryan Reilley as he forced a ground ball from Samuel Hale and then allowed a single up the middle to Patrick Foxton only to pick him off later at first and then got out of the inning after a ground ball from Ian Foxton.
The bottom of the third was a one-two-three inning for Helmuth-Ingalls Blazer who forced three straight ground balls from Smith Post batters Alex Rudiak, Ryan Reilley and Jordan Koons.
The smooth pitching continued in the top of the fourth for Smith Post as three batters came to plate and all three went down with Hardy striking out and Durante and Michael Wilson popping out.
Smith Post posed a threat to score in the bottom of the fourth when they put runners on after a walk to Steven Eychner and a sacrifice bunt from Jeff Cooke.
Andrew DeBlasiis then reached putting runners at the corners only for Drew DeBlasiis to hit into a double play on a close play at first which kept the game scoreless.
Benjamin Rolewicz then came up to bat and hit a rocket to the corner and third baseman Jeff Cooke was able to get his glove on it for the out.
Samuel Hale then stepped to the plate and hit a shot to the gap for a double scoring Lusby and Blazer taking a 2-0 lead before the inning ended following a groundout and pop out by Patrick and Ian Foxton.
The fifth inning Helmuth-Ingalls held Smith Post to just a single when Alex Rudiak reached base and Josh Mazzaferro struck out Derek Murphy grounded out and Ryan Reilley popped out.
Smith Post worked the top of the sixth inning allowing just one runner to reach base by way of a single by Michael Wilson and forced pop outs from Hardy, Durante and Lusby.
Smith Post finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with timely hitting after Jordan Koons walked and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner over.
Then Jeff Cooke hit a shot to the shortstop which should have been a routine out but the ball was bobbled and the runner was safe at first.
Helmuth-Ingalls was limited to a single base runner in the top of the seventh as Samuel Hale hit a ball to the right field gap, however, smart play by Smith Post resulted in Hale being caught stealing after the inning ended.
Smith Post broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh as they scored two runs to take a 4-2 lead and forced out starting Helmuth-Ingalls starter Will Blazer for Benjamin Rolewicz.
The scoring attack started when Derek Murphy singled, Alex Rudiak put down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner and then Ryan Reilley singled and Smith Post took a 3-2 lead.
Helmuth-Ingalls put runners on base by way of a walk and a batter being hit by a pitch in the top of the eighth but was unable to convert.
Smith Post came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth looking for some insurance runs and got just that after Drew DeBlasiis walked and the stole a base and reached third after the throw ended up in centerfield.
Josh Mazzaferro wasted no time as he stepped to the plate and scorched a ball to centerfield for a double bringing in a run and increasing the lead to 5-2.
The top of the ninth saw Helmuth-Ingalls down 6-2 with Smith Post starter Ryan Reilly still on the mound.
A single by Zach Lusby started the inning and then Will Blazer struck out but three straight singled followed by Rolewicz, Hale and Patrick Foxton and the lead was cut to 6-4.
Jeff Cooke was then brought in for relief and closed out the came for Smith Post as they secured the 6-4 win. Ryan Reilley spoke of his performance saying “I felt good and was hitting my spots”.
Smith Post starting pitcher Ryan Reilley went 8 1/3 innings giving up 10 hits, 4 runs, and 3 walks and struck out 4.
The offense was led by Steven Eychner who went 1 for 3 with a triple and an RBI, Andrew DeBlasiis was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI, Josh Mazzaferro was 1 for 3 with an RBI and pitcher Ryan Reilley helped his own cause with a 2 for 4 night and 2 RBI.
Smith Post coach Tony Abone commented that his pitching “…was outstanding… (and) that the kids put out a big time effort in a big time game…” He also mentioned that “we had timely hitting from several kids…Drew (DeBlasiis), Eych (Eychner), Josh (Mazzaferro) and Derek (Murphy)…we got the little parts of the game right today…”
Smith Post 6 Helmuth-Ingalls 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
Helmuth-Ingalls 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4
Smith Post 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 X 6