A long shutout performance by the starting pitcher, two hits each from six different players and, most importantly, a win.
That sums up opening night for the 2017 Cortland Crush, who broke open a close New York Collegiate Baseball League game with a big sixth inning en route to a 6-0 win over the Genesee Rapids on a cool night on Greg’s Field at Beaudry Park.
Crush starter Will Ginsberg (Salve Regina U.), a returnee from last year’s team, allowed three hits over six scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Shortstop Armando Valentin (Benedict College) went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs to lead the offense.
Also going 2-for-3 for the winners were third baseman Dylan Ott (Wisconsin-Oshkosh; double, RBI and run); Valentine’s teammate at Benedict, first baseman David White, who scored a run, and second baseman Tyler Ault (Salem International), who also scored a run. Going 2-for-4 were centerfielder Charles Edwards, an Ithaca native who plays for East Stroudsburg U. and had an RBI and two runs, and designated Kyle Bouchard (Nichols College), who scored a run.
“Will pitched six very good innings,” Crush manager Bill McConnell said. “He’s a returning player for us, and knew two weeks ago that he was getting this game. Both pitchers did well up until the fifth; then we were able to string together some hits off their starter (John Marsh from Indiana Wesleyan U.).
“Armando is one of the players we’re looking to for offense; he has good speed, the ability to hit, and is a good shortstop. He has the total package.”
“My fastball and slider were working best,” Ginsberg said. “During the season at school I used the slider, and I want to work on it here. I worked the fastball the first couple innings, and once I threw the slider I knew it was good. It was my strikeout pitch.
“I like to be in games where the other pitcher is throwing well; it’s competitive nature to want to do as well as the other guy. Fast-aced games work to my advantage, and we were able to break through.”
“I always like to get set to see the ball and hit it,” Valentin aid. “I use a consistent approach; if the ball falls it falls, if not, then not. I just focus in on hitting it hard. A lot of our college seasons ended in early May — this was my first actual game since May 3 — so some of us aren’t used to seeing real pitching. But we did well tonight, and once we get going we’re going to be OK.”
Ginsberg faced only one batter over the minimum over the first five innings, giving up one hit each in the third and fourth, with both baserunners eliminated by double plays. The Crush had four hits over the first four innings off Rapids starter Austin Marsh and reliever Jake Knox, who came on to start the fourth, before finally getting the only run they’d need off Knox in the fifth.
Edwards led off with an infield single deep to shortstop, was sacrificed to second by Ault, went to third on a deep flyout to left by leftfielder Joe Assenza (Nichols College) and came home on Valentin’s first double, a shot into the left field corner.
Ginsberg allowed one hit in his sixth and final inning of work, and in the bottom of the frame the hosts broke the game open.
White led off with a single up the middle and went to third on a hit-and-run single to right by Bouchard. Ott then doubled to score White, leaving men in first and second. Bouchard scored on a sacrifice fly to right by catcher Joseph Tevlin (Niagara U.) and Edwards singled to right to score Ott. Ault then singled to left, taking second on the throw in trying to get Edwards. Jeam Castillo then relieved Knox, and one out later Valentin’s two-run double to right made it 6-0.
Patrick Meagher (Keystone College) pitched the seventh and eighth innings for Cortland and Quantique White threw in the ninth to finish the three-man shutout. Center fielder Joe Michael did double in the ninth for Genesee’s only extra-base hit.
While happy with the final outcome, McConnell was also happy with the way his squad is coming together. “The first two days have been very good,” he said. “There’s been good bonding. They’re all good character kids, all here looking to improve to be a prospect someday.”
“We’re definitely coming together,” Ginsberg said. “This was only our first game, and guys are picking each other up after making plays and coming together. It’s a good group of guys, and I can’t emphasize that enough.”
The late Greg “Crusher” Partigianoni, the inspiration for both the team’s name and the name of the field the game was played on, was remembered in pre-game ceremonies. The family was represented by Greg’s mother, Angie Partigianoni, and brother Mike Partigianoni., and a donation was made by the Crush to the Cortland Youth Bureau’s Jim Partigianoni Scholarship Fund.
The Crush were to host the Syracuse Spartans at 2 p.m. today, with a Little League Fanfest to take place prior to the game starting at 11 a.m. After trips to Rome on Sunday to take on the Generals and Syracuse on Monday to play the Salt Cats on Monday, the Crush returns home Tuesday to host the Rochester Ridgemen at 6 p.m. on Greg’s Field.