Nick Cody had a breakout day for the Cortland High baseball team Saturday in the Greg Partigianoni Memorial Tournament.
Cody went a collective 5-for-7 with six RBIs and a run scored as the Purple Tigers claimed the championship of their own event by beating Groton 11-1 in six innings in the opener and Dryden 5-1 with the title on the line in games on Greg’s Field. Cody went 3-for-4 with five RBIs against the Indians and was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run against the Purple Lions. For good measure, he pitched the final 1 2/3 scoreless innings against Groton, giving up one hit with three strikeouts.
“I came out of a slump today,” the senior said after the championship contest. “I wasn’t doing too well the last couple of games. Mostly, the difference was adjusting on two strikes. You have to keep with it and can’t take anything for granted.”
“Nick hit the ball well,” said Cortland coach Ben Albright, whose team ran its winning streak to four games after an 0-5 start to the season. “He stayed hot in the second game and we got the early lead again. I was pleased with the way the whole team swung the bats.”
CHS totaled 12 hits against Groton, scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back. The hosts had 11 hits against Dryden and used a three-run second inning to take control.
Cortland also got stellar pitching in both games. Junior Noah Barber went all six innings against Groton, giving up five hits and an unearned run with three strikeouts. Sophomore Zach Norton, a JV callup for the day, was the starter and winner against Dryden, allowing four hits and an unearned run in 5 1/3 innings with one strikeout before Cody closed things out. “I was impressed with how Groton swung their bats — I told coach (Cody) Cosby that the final score wasn’t indicative of that — and Noah did a good job,” Albright said. “His basesloaded pickoff (in the sixth inning) was clutch.
“We needed to someone to throw strikes in the second game, and Zach’s done that at the JV level. With Zach pitching for us, a lot of people were able to stay in their (defensive) spots, and they made plays behind him. Nick came in and closed the door; he was able to throw strikes with all three pitches.”
Cortland’s fast start in the first inning against Groton started when junior second baseman Jake Prunier led off with a double to right-center. He went to third on a wild pitch by Indians starter Shane Smith and came home on a single to center by senior first baseman Alex Morgan. Junior third baseman Zac Discenza and freshman catcher Jason Carr then drew walks, Morgan scoring when the final pitch to Carr went awry. Discenza went to third on the play and later scored on a sacrifice fly to center by senior shortstop Cameron Woodard.
Cody’s two-run single to left in the third made it a 5-0 game, and he singled to left to drive in another run in the fifth before junior left fielder Jordan Shortsleeve’s RBI single to center made it a 7-0 game.
Groton collected three of its hits, including a run-scoring single to left by third baseman Mason Reynolds, in the sixth and, as noted, had the bases loaded when Barber picked a runner off first to end the inning.
Cortland finished the scoring in the bottom of the frame. Woodard drew a bases-loaded walk, Cody singled to left to drive in two more runs and an errant pickoff throw allowed Woodard to come home and end the game via the 10-run rule.
“We have a real young team,” Cosby said. “We came out hitting the ball; the whole team has been hitting well. Cortland has a good group of guys, and they made plays.”
Morgan (RBI, run) and senior right fielder Jake VanGorder both went 2-for-3 and Prunier was 2-for-4 with a double and a run to complement Cody offensively for the Purple Tigers. No one had more than one hit for the Indians.
Carr was hit by a pitch to lead off the CHS second against Dryden and Cody singled to center one out later to move him to third. VanGorder doubled deep to left to score Carr, and when junior left fielder Caleb Thompson lined out to right Cody hustled home on the slow throw back to the infield. Prunier then singled to left to score VanGorder.
Dryden (6-6) scored its run in the fifth as junior third baseman Dylan Bell reached on an error and later scored on a sacrifice fly to left by senior left fielder Jeff Kucerak. RBI singles to right by Woodard and to left by Cody in the bottom of the fifth finished the scoring.
Discenza went 3-for-4 and scored a run for Cortland to complement Cody. Bell went 2-for-3 with a run and sophomore second baseman Sam Dow went 2-for-4 for Dryden.
“That’s one of the better lineups we’ll see all year,” Dryden coach Andrew Lampman said. “Dylan had two hits; he’s been struggling. This was a good day for him.”
The Purple Lions edged Stockbridge Valley, coached by former CHS assistant Sanders Shanks, 4-3 in eight innings on Dave Guido Field in the first round. The winners had only two hits but took advantage of six Cougar errors. Chad Masker went 4-for-5 with an RBI and Alex Guinto was 2-for-4 with two RBIs for Stockbridge Valley. No information was reported on the Groton-Stockbridge Valley consolation game.