December 6, 2021

Crush streak snuffed

Cortland Crush starter Shae Edmonds throws a pitch against the Syracuse Junior Chiefs Thursday night on Greg’s Field. The visitors won 8-7 in 10 innings.

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

New York Lottery representative Yolanda Vega interviews lottery winner Lee Houghtling, 26, of Groton, Wednesday at the Dryden Xtra Mart after he won $1 million on a New York Poker scratch-off ticket. Houghtling, who received a total payment of $536,058 after taxes, said he plans to pay off debt and buy his mother a new car.

When the Cortland Crush hosted the Syracuse Junior Chiefs in New York Collegiate Baseball League play back on June 3 the Junior Chiefs rallied from a 12-run deficit, only to fall 18-17 in 13 innings.

The two teams met for the first time since that epic five-hour Eastern Division contest Thursday night at Greg’s Field on Cortland Regional Medical Center Night and history repeated itself in some aspects. The Crush saw a 7-2 lead slip away as the Junior Chiefs scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 7-7 before scoring an unconventional run in the top of the 10th for an 8-7 victory that snapped the Crush’s 11-game win streak.

Cortland still holds a four-game advantage in the loss column at 11-2 over the second-place Junior Chiefs at 8-6.

Cortland reliever Tyler Saundry walked Zach Smith to start the 10th inning. Nate Verst came in for the Crush and a wild pitch moved Smith to second base. Anthony Seminaris singled to right field, but a strong throw from Derek Martin held Smith at third base. A second wild pitch allowed Smith to score what would be the winning run.

Cortland did threatened in the bottom of the 10th. Joe DiTorrice, the loser in the 13th inning contest, struck out the first two batters in the innings. DiTorrice then lost the strike zone as he walked Brody Santilli, Paul Ludden and David Murphy to lads the bases. Crush fans were hoping for a little two-out magic like the Josh Lopez two-run single to win that earlier game, but DiTorrice struck out Derek Martin to end the game and the winning streak.

Cortland took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. After Murphy and Martin walked, Anthony Searles collected his first of three singles to plate Murphy.

Syracuse scored twice in the top of the second. Sam Little would lead off with a single and Tyler Patane stroked a one-out double to put runners at second and third. Smith followed with a double and the Junior Chiefs had a 2-1 lead.

That lead would be short-lived as Crush designated hitter Andrew Taft belted a solo home run to left-centerfield to knot the score at 2-2.

Cortland starter Shae Edmonds bounced back from that second inning bump and tossed second solid innings. Edmonds allowed five hits, walked one and struck out six Syracuse batters in addition to the two runs allowed, but he would get a no decision for his efforts.

The Crush took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Searles singled and George Haaland doubled to put runner sin scoring position. Luke Gilbert served a single into right field to plated both runners for s 4-2 advantage. Taft and Greg Mula walked before Santilli ground out to second base. Gilbert scored on the play for the three-run cushion.

Cortland added two more runs in the sixth inning. An RBI single by Murphy and a sacrifice fly by Searles accounted for the runs. From that points on Jason Wasilnak, Chris Morelli and DiTorrice allowed just one Crush hit and other than the three walks in the 10th inning, Cortland never really threatened.

The Junior Chiefs scratched out a run in the top of the eighth inning despite loading the bases with no outs on singles by Seminaris and Nicholas Roy that sandwiched a walk to John Militano. Tristan Dacey hit a sacrifice fly to plate Seminaris off reliever Clayton Jeffries who shut the door on the rally.

Jeffries surrendered a walk and two singles with one out in the top of the ninth. Pinch hitter Joe DeLuca’s single pulled the Junior Chiefs to within 7-4. Another walk loaded the bases, but Jeffries got an infield popout for the second out. Jeffries would walk Sam Little to force in a run and Syracuse trailed 7-5 as Saundry came to the mound. He was greeted by a two-run single by Trevor Thompson to tie the game before a ground out ended the Junior Chiefs threat, but the damage had been done.

Martin did lead off the Crush half of the ninth inning, but DiTorrice got two strikeouts and a bouncer back to him for the third out.

Syracuse got the lead in the 10th and held on for the win. DiTorrice improves to 1-1 on the season while Saundry takes the loss to fall to 0-1.

Cortland will host the Rochester Ridgemen in a 6 p.m. NYCBL contest tonight before the Hornell Dodgers come to Greg’s Field Saturday for a 3 p.m. contest. The Crush and Junior Chiefs meet Sunday for a 3 p.m. Father’s Day clash on Greg’s Field at 3 p.m.