The Cortland High baseball team won its own Greg Partigianoni Memorial Tournament for the fifth time in a row Saturday night, edging Homer Central 5-4 in eight innings in the championship game at Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex.
The Purple Tigers, now 5-2 overall, have won the tournament title every year since 2013 (the event did not take place in 2015 or 2017) and currently have a 10-game winning streak in the event. Their last loss was 8-5 to Homer in eight innings with the 2012 crown on the line.
CHS advanced to the championship game earlier on Saturday as Tyler Blake, Jason Carr, Zach Norton and Adam Minnard combined to throw a no-hitter in a 32-1 rout of Tully while the Trojans earned their berth by beating Dryden 6-2. The Purple Lions beat Tully 11-0 in Saturday night’s consolation game as Sean Peck threw a complete-game no-hitter.
Cortland 5, Homer 4, 8 innings: Homer took the early lead in the championship game as Nick Gravel walked to lead off the second inning and later scored on an infield error. Jed Brazo led off the Trojans’ third with a double to left-center and, two outs later, went to third on a wild pitch on the final ball of a walk issued to Andrew Hage. After Hage stole second, Gravel lashed a two-run single to right to make it 3-0 for Homer.
Cortland got a run back in the fourth as Jordan Shortsleeve singled to left, stole second and continued to third when the throw went awry before scoring on a groundout by Noah Barber.
Adam Minnard singled to lead off the Cortland fifth and, after Michael Jewett reached on an error, scored on a single to center by Tyler Blake. Gravel then replaced Trojans starter Aaron Newcomb and Blake stole second before Jake Prunier’s tworun single to center gave the Purple Tigers a 4-3 lead.
Homer equalized in the sixth as Jacob Lyman led off with a walk, stole second and later came home on an infield error.
Barber was hit by a pitch to lead off the Cortland eighth, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch before Caleb Thompson walked. Braeden Rolfe then relieved Gravel and, after Thompson stole second, Cody hit a bouncer as Barber broke for home. An error on the throw to the plate allowed Barber to score the game-winner.
Cortland starter Thompson and reliever and winner Cody combined on a four-hitter, each pitching four innings with seven and six strikeouts, respectively.
Newcomb, Gravel and Rolfe gave up only five hits between them, Newcomb (4 1/3 innings) and Gravel (2 and 2/3 innings) with two strikeouts each. No one on either team had more than one hit in the game.
“The kids did a good job of keeping their composure,” Purple Tigers coach Ben Albright said, his team now 5-2 overall. “We knew we’d get some chances that we had to capitalize on, but Homer did a good job of keeping us in check, especially after our first game. Their pitchers did a nice job of mixing things up and their defense did a good enough job to keep us from having a big inning.”
“It was a classic Cortland-Homer battle,” Trojans coach Robert Nasiatka said after his team had fallen to 1-2 on the season. “Ben and I played a little chess. You don’t like to lose, but I emphasized to the guys that this game will help going into later in the season. They played a Class A team, saw better pitching and great defense and did what they needed to do. Coming up short in a 5-4 eight-inning game is nothing to be ashamed of.”
The tournament honors the late Greg Partigianoni, a standout baseball player at Cortland High who went on to play and become a coach at then-SUNY Binghamton as well as SUNY Cortland and Ohio State. He was also the first head coach of the Cortland Apples of the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League, and led the team to the league title in its first year of existence. He was pitching coach at Cornell under the late Ted Thoren and had been hand-selected by Thoren to replace him as head coach in 1991, but passed away on Oct. 6, 1990.
“We told the players about the history of the tournament and Greg’s history,” Albright said. We have a field (Greg’s Field) renovated and named after him at Beaudry Park, and we have ‘Parge’ patches on the purple jerseys we wore today.”
Cortland visits Central Square Tuesday at 11 a.m. in an SCAC Empire Division matchup while Homer travels to Phoenix Thursday for an 11 a.m. OHSL contest.
Cortland 32, Tully 1: Starter and winner Blake had three strikeouts in two innings for Cortland while Carr gave up an unearned run and fanned four batter in two innings, Norton had three strikeouts in two innings and Minnard had one strikeout in the final inning as the quartet combined to silence the Black Knights’ bats. The Purple Tigers set the tone early, sending 17 men to the plate and scoring 12 runs in the first inning.
Carr and Minnard both went 4-for-6 to lead the 18-hit CHS attack, Carr with two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored and Minnard with a double, three RBIs and two runs. Jordan Shortsleeve went 3-for-6 with a double, triple, three RBIs and five runs and Blake went 2-for- 3 with a double, two RBIs and two. A total of 10 different players had at least one hit for the winners.
Homer 6, Dryden 2: Michael Strangeway held Dryden to five hits and two runs in the opening game of the tournament. Strangeway recorded six strikeouts and two walks over five innings of work. Gravel tossed the final two innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
The Trojans broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, Hunter White drew a walk and Brazo reached on an error. Wolfe singled home White before Newcomb drew a walk to load the bases. Hage (3-for-4) singled home one run, Gravel forced another run in with a bases loaded walk and Newcomb scored on a wild pitch.
Cody Senecal, Trey Tyler, Sean Peck, Harold Lobdell and Taron Lyon collected the Dryden hits.
Dryden 11, Tully 0: Peck went the distance and threw a no-hitter in the consolation game for the Purple Lions (4-2 overall). Peck struck out 14 Tully batters.
Adam Buttaccio went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBIs to lead the Dryden offense with six other Purple Lions getting one hit each.
Dryden scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and added three runs in the second to pull away.
The Purple Lions sealed the victory with five runs in the fourth inning.
Adam Duffy struck out nine Dryden batters for the Black Knights (1-4).