The Syracuse Junior Chiefs and Hornell Dodgers advanced to their respective New York Collegiate Baseball League Division Championship Series with wins in the one-game showdowns between second and third place teams.
At Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, the second place Junior Chiefs (27-20) scored early, and often, to take control during an 8-1 triumph over the third place Syracuse Salt Cats (24-23).
Connor Lafferty had a two-run single in the bottom of the first inning of the Eastern Division one-game playoff. John Militano and Webb Little drove in runs in the bottom of the second inning and Nicholas Roy added a sacrifice fly in the third as the Junior Chiefs bolted to a 5-0 lead it never lost.
Little paced the Junior Chiefs as he swung a 3-for-5 bat with a double, one run scored and two RBIs. Zachary Smith added a 2-for-4 effort with a home run and two ribbies.
Starting pitcher Jimmy Skiff went five and one-third innings to earn the win. Sean Pisik lasted just four innings and was the losing pitcher.
Christian Sanchez, Brandon Cornelius and Johnny Knight IV each had two hits for the Salt Cats.
The Eastern Division champion Cortland Crush (29-17) will host the Junior Chiefs tonight at six o’clock on Greg’s Field for the first game of the best-of-three division championship series. Stephan Witkowski (3-0) is the probable starter for the Crush and will square off against Matthew Sandoval (3-2) for the Junior Chiefs.
Game two is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at OCC with game three, if necessary, Friday at Greg’s Field starting at 6 p.m.
— At Wellsville, third place Hornell (22-25) rode the arm of Connor Ryan to a 3-0 win over second place Wellsville in the Western Division playoffs. Ryan went eighth strong innings allowing just four hits, striking out seven and walking one.
Dylan May led the Dodgers offense by going 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and one RBI. Ty Reginelli (double), Mike Wick, Adam Fitzgibbon (double) and John Ricotta (HR) each contributed two hits. The Dodgers scored single runs in the top of the fourth, sixth and eight innings. May homered in the fourth and Ricotta hit his dinger in the sixth.
Carlos Tejada went five innings and took the loss for Wellsville (24-23). Nicolas Varda went 2-for-3 to account for half of the Nitros hits.
Hornell will travel to Olean (39-7) tonight for a seven o’clock meeting with the division champion in game one of the best-of-three series. Game two is scheduled for Thursday in Hornell at 7 p.m.
with game three, if necessary, back in Olean Friday at 7 p.m. Chance Murphy (2-6) is the probable starter for Hornell and he will face Olean ace Aaron Phillips (6-1).