December 5, 2021

Crown City Gold goes quietly

Sam Feeley/Sports editor

The Syracuse, left, and Crown City Gold, right, Little League all-star teams prepare to receive their awards after Syracuse defeated Crown City, 6-1, in Saturday’s New York Section 8 championship game.

NORTH SYRACUSE — The Crown City Little League Gold all-stars learned a hard lesson in Saturday’s New York Section 8 championship game — just because you expect to win doesn’t mean you will.

After breezing through much of the tournament up to that point, the Crown City bats were silenced by Luke Ruddy and Syracuse in a 6-1 loss at Lonergan Park.

Ruddy was the star on the mound and at the plate for Syracuse, allowing just one run in five and a third innings while scattering seven hits and just one walk while striking out four. He also added a clutch two-out, two-run single in the third.

After both teams had a quiet first inning, Syracuse got runners on first and second with one out in the top of the second. Blair Mulcahy’s command was beginning to depart him early, so manager Ben Albright brought Owen Johnson in to pitch after just an inning and a third.

A wild pitch and David Pierce single later, and Syracuse would have all the offense they would need for the win.

Crown City tried to answer back in the bottom half, getting the tying runs on base with two out. But Connor Browngardt grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Crown City would never get any closer.

In the top of the third, Syracuse put the game out of reach with four runs on six hits. Back-to-back doubles to begin the frame by Cal Petrone (2-for4) and Trevor Young (1-for-3, walk) made it 3-0, then Ryan Victriono (2-for-3, two runs) singled home Young to extend the lead to 4-0.

With two on and two out, Ruddy helped his own cause with a two-run single to make it 6-0. A strong relay from the outfield cut down a third run and put an end to the inning, but the damage had been done.

From there, Ruddy twirled a gem, then handed over the ball to Pierce for the final two outs to close a most unique Little League season.

“Pregame wasn’t good, we were a little flat today,” Albright said. “I think we kind of just expected to win the game, and Syracuse showed up. They were ready to play, they battled at the plate and they made us pay. Kudos to them.”

Crown City’s lone run came with one out in the sixth when Sean Rogoff (2-for-3) plated Zach Muir (1-for-1, two walks) with an RBI single.

Mulcahy reached base three times for Crown City on two singles and a fielder’s choice, and also stole two bases.

While this marks the end of the Little League careers for some of these players, Albright believes great things will come from this group in years to come.

“The nice thing is this group of kids will grow up together and hopefully get to play for me someday (at Cortland High),” he said. “I look forward to coaching them.”