July 22, 2014
Crush beaten by grand slam blow
After building an early 3-0 lead, the Cortland Crush were in position to knock off the current New York Collegiate Baseball League Eastern Division leaders on Monday afternoon.
Instead, the Geneva Red Wings made it three wins in as many days over the Crush, a clutch grand slam home run off the bat of shortstop Mark Huddle in the top of the sixth putting the Beaudry Park visitors ahead for keeps before securing a 5-4 victory.
The Crush scored once in the bottom of the ninth to pull to with a run before the Red Wings were able to finish things off.
Coming off lopsided 10-1 and 12-1 wins over the Crush this past weekend in Geneva, the Red Wings now stand 26-14 starting off the final week of the regular season and are still battling the Oneonta Outlaws for first place. The Outlaws are 25-16 after blanking the Syracuse Junior Chiefs 7-0 last night.
Cortland falls to 13-29 and has today off before facing the Syracuse Junior Chiefs on Wednesday in a 7 p.m. start at Onondaga Community College.
“One pitch made the difference in the game,” said Cortland Crush associate head coach Yale Hughes after the loss, referring to Huddle’s grand slam over the left field fence at Greg’s Field. “Mark Huddle’s at bat in the sixth was simply outstanding.”
The Red Wings had loaded the bases against Cortland starting pitcher Josh Mollett, and the Crush made the move to bring Cortland High graduate Yale Brian Hughes to the mound looking to end the threat.
“Brian came in with the bases loaded and two outs and got behind Huddle 2-0, but battled back to 2-2 when Huddle fouled off a number of pitches,” said Coach Hughes, referring to his son’s mound effort. “Finally,with the count 3-2, Huddle got the pitch he wanted, a belt-high fast ball, and deposited it onto the basketball courts for a grand slam.”
Pitcher Hughes held the Red Wings scoreless the rest of the way and Cortland created some bottom of the ninth concern when Christopher Kwitzer and Greg Jasek opened with singles and moved into scoring position on a passed ball.
Kwitzer scored on a Nick Rybarczyk grounder to second, but the tying run was left stranded as a fly ball out and a game-ending strikeoutfollowed.
“The game was very typical of the year. We have been so close in so many games this year, but somehow we find a way to let it slip away,” said Coach Hughes.
Cortland grabbed a 1-0 lead when leadoff batter Zach Racusin doubled, took third on a Wesley Burghardt base hit and scored when Burghardt was caught in a run-down.
Rybarczyk walked and eventually scored on Conner Dwyer’s base hit for a second inning run, while Racusin singled and swiped a pair of bases before scoring on a fielder’s choice in the third.
Mollett pitched well into the sixth, striking out six and walking five before being lifted with the bases loaded to set the stage for Huddle’s decisive swing of the bat. He had two walks sandwiched around a base hit before being lifted in the sixth.
“This was a very well played game. Even though we lost, it was good to see our players play well again,” said Coach Hughes. “With four games left, we are tied with the Junior Chiefs for last place in our division but we play them two more times. Hopefully we can finish strong and stay out of the cellar.”
After visiting the Junior Chiefs Wednesday, the Crush play a2 p.m. doubleheader at Sherrill on Thursday before concluding the season Friday hosting the Junior Chiefs with a 7 p.m. first pitch at Greg’s Field.
In other NYCBL games last night, the Hornell Dodgers are still ruling the Western Division after defeating Wellsville 9-3. In other games in that division, the Geneva Twins topped Genesee 8-1 and Rochester shut out Olean 4-0.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe