October 22, 2021

Western rallies for All-Star win

SYRACUSE — The first-place Cortland Crush had four starters for the Eastern Division squad, but it was the Western Division that prevailed 7-5 in Thursday night’s New York Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game hosted by Onondaga Community College.

Cortland shortstop Dave Murphy batted third for the Eastern Division to start the contest, while rightfielder Derek Martin batted fifth and first baseman George Haaland was in the seventh spot. Steve Witkowski was the starting pitcher.

Leftfielder Broderick Santilli and pitchers Dylan Leahy and Jake Kinney were also part of the Eastern Division team. No individual statistics were reported for any Cortland players.

The Western Division rallied from a 4-0 deficit with five runs in the seventh, keyed by a three-run double by Olean Oilers second baseman David Yanni, who scored on an error on the same play. Yanni singled home another run in the eighth and Oilers third baseman David Hollins hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth to make it 7-4.

The Eastern Division pushed across one run in the bottom of the ninth but the game ended on a double play that Yanni started with a back-handed snag of a grounder and a glove flip.

Hollins won the Bob Belizzi Big Stick Award as the game’s top offensive player while Yanni was named the top defensive player, earning the Tom Kenney Gold Glove Award.

The Oilers, at 34-5 the top team in the league with the Western Division championship already secured, had four of the nine Western Division starters, Hollins and Yanni both entering as reserves for their manager, Bobby Bell. Olean made it a sweep of key honors on the day as outfielder/designated hitter Aaron Phillips won the Home Run Derby prior to the all-star game itself. Murphy and Martin were also among the eight players involved.

The Crush (23-12) returns to league play today, visiting the second-place Syracuse Junior Crush (21-16) in a 7 p.m. start at Onondaga CC, before hosting the Rome Generals Saturday and Sunday in 3 p.m. starts on Greg’s Field. The Syracuse Salt Cats then come south for a 6 p.m. game Monday.