SYRACUSE — The Cortland Crush went into extra innings for the second time this season Wednesday night against the Syracuse Salt Cats at Onondaga CC.
For the second time, the extra work paid off.
Three 10th-inning runs did the trick as Cortland won its 11th straight game, 5-2, and improved to 11-1 on the season, easily the best record in the NYCBL’s Eastern Division.
Pinch-hitter Greg Mula was hit by a pitch to lead off the visitors’ 10th before leftfielder Broderick Santilli and third baseman Paul Ludden both laid down bunt singles to load the bases. After Mula was retired at the plate on a fielder’s choice grounder by shortstop David Murphy, rightfielder Derek Martin drew a walk to bring Santilli home and catcher Ethan Moore was hit by a pitch to score Ludden. JonPaul Ramirez then came on in relief of Matthew Colon, who had started the inning and was the losing pitcher. A passed ball plated Murphy with the final run of the game.
Verst gave up a one-out double to Salt Cats leftfielder Anthony Galanoudis in the bottom of the 10th, but retired the next two batters to end the game and pick up the mound win.
The visitors didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard as the contest got underway. Santilli led off the game with a single and went all the way to third on a subsequent error. After Ludden walked, Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to score Santilli.
Cortland scored its second run of the game in the sixth. Ludden led off with a single, like Santilli reached third on a subsequent error and scored on a wild pitch.
The Salt Cats scored their first run in the eighth off Crush starter Stephen Witkowski, who gave up only four hits and the one earned run with nine strikeouts in eight innings. Rightfielder Chris McGee led off with a walk and stole second before second baseman Christian Sanchez also drew a walk. Leftfielder Joseph Anselmi then advanced the runners a base apiece on a fielder’s choice groundout before first baseman Justin Clark’s infield single loaded the bases.
Shortstop James Thomas then reached on a fielder’s choice to score McGee before pinch-hitter Galanoudis grounded out to end the inning and strand two runners.
Cody Shelton relieved Witkowski to start the ninth and got two quick outs before the hosts rallied to tie the score.
Catcher Henry Pellicciotti, a former Cortland player, singled before McGee and Sanchez both drew walks to load the bases. Nate Verst then came on in relief of Shelton and uncorked a wild pitch that scored Pellicciotti, tying the game, before Anselmi walked to reload the bases. With the final outcome on the line, Verst then got a groundout to send the contest into extra innings.
Santilli went 3-for-5 with a triple and Ludden went 2-for-4 for the Crush, each scoring twice. No one had more than one hit for Syracuse. The Crush host the Syracuse Salt Cats at 6 p.m. today on Greg’s Field for Cortland Regional Medical Center Night. The Rochester Ridgemen visit Friday in a 6 p.m. start.Cortland is then home against the Hornell Dodgers on Saturday and the Junior Chiefs Sunday, both games starting at 3 p.m.
In other league games Wednesday night, the Sherrill Silversmiths downed the Junior Chiefs 6-3; the Olean Oilers extended their league-record winning streak to 15 games with an 8-0 win over the Genesee Rapids and are now 16-1 atop the Western Division, and Hornell survived a 15-14 slugfest against the Wellsville Nitros.