By MICHAEL KNAUFF
CORTLANDVILLE — For the first time since June 25 and 26, the Cortland Crush have lost back-to-back games.
After falling in game two of a doubleheader on Thursday, the Crush were unable to manage much offense and fell 6-3 to the Sherrill Silversmiths Friday night at the Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex in New York Collegiate Baseball League East Division action.
“Baseball’s such a hard sport to win every game,” Cortland outfielder Brad Nowak said. “We’re still going to keep the same mindset, we’re still hungry, we still feel like we’re the best team in the league.”
Cortland (20-12-1) was only able to manage three hits the entire game, two of which were doubles by Nowak.
Sherrill starting Conner VanDreason had the Crush’s number all night, using his slower velocity on his pitches to stifle the Cortland bats.
“It’s very difficult to slow down,” Crush centerfielder Nick Pastore said. “Someone said he was hitting 68 miles per hour and we’re used to seeing at least 80. It’s very hard to sit back and wait for it.”
VanDreason went eight innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on two hits and struck out five.
Cortland got on the board first though in the bottom of the second. After Pastore singled and stole second to lead off the inning, Nowak slipped a double down the left field line. That allowed Pastore to score and make it 1-0 Crush.
“I was seeing the ball well,” Nowak said. “I felt very comfortable at the plate. Not used to seeing those speeds and it was hard to adjust to that, but I was able to stay back.”
Mike Viveiros started on the mound for the Crush and was excellent in the beginning. He allowed only one hit through the first four innings and kept Silversmiths off the board. However, things came off the rails in the top of the fifth.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Matt Crisci hit a single to centerfield. The throw from Pastore held the runners at second and third, but a snap throw from Kam Holland back to third was wide and rolled into the outfield. That allowed a pair of runs to score and give Sherrill (10-21-1) a 2-1 lead.
The Silversmiths added three more runs in the top of the seventh on a triple from Eddy Garcia and a double from Crisci.
Viveiros was pulled from the game at that point. He went six and two-thirds, allowing five runs, only three earned, on six hits. Viveiros struck out six and walked only one.
The Crush got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when Garrett Callaghan scored on an error to make it 5-2.
Sherrill padded it’s lead in the top of the ninth on a Crush error to make the score 6-2.
Cortland finished the scoring when Nowak hit his second double of the game and came around to score on a wild pitch, ending the game at 6-3.
Despite the loss, Cortland is still first in the East Division. The Crush are one point ahead of the Syracuse Salt Cats after the Salt Cats split a doubleheader with Rome.
Cortland have Saturday off before traveling to Hornell to battle the Dodgers in a 3 p.m. doubleheader Sunday.
“We know we’re a good team,” Pastore said. “We can beat anyone. We’ve just got to have that mindset for next game.”