CORTLANDVILLE — If you’re going to win a championship, you need to be able to respond to adversity.
The No. 1 seed Cortland Purple Tigers did just that, erasing a 2-0 deficit with six runs in the bottom of the fourth to oust the No. 8 seed Oswego Buccaneers, 6-4, in a Section III Class A baseball quarterfinal Tuesday at Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex.
After being held to one hit, two walks and no runs through the first three innings, the Purple Tigers sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth. Adam Minnard, Caden Albright, Kooper Knabe and Max Gambitta led off the inning with four straight hits. Knabe’s single plated Minnard and Albright to tie the game at 2, but Oswego starter Michael Douglas got Ethan Johnson to fly out to right and struck out Andre Partigianoni.
The lineup then turned over for Jason Carr, who worked a five-pitch walk, loading the bases for Tyler Blake. On a 1-1 pitch, Douglas made the mistake of missing down and in to a lefty power hitter, and Blake crushed the ball 350 feet down the right field line for a grand slam that would prove to be the gamewinning hit.
“It took us a few innings,” Purple Tigers coach Ben Albright said. “That was huge. We flipped the order around and we got guys on base. (Tyler)’s been taking great BP and he got something he could handle, and he did. It was awesome.”
“I was waiting for a pitch down and inside, got it and turned on it,” Blake said.
The Buccaneers kept the pressure on the Purple Tigers in the sixth inning, as they chased Carr (five innings, nine hits, two earned runs, one walk, three strikeouts) off the mound in favor of Caden Congdon. Congdon got his first batter, Noah Rogers, to ground into a 5-3 double play on one pitch, but allowed an RBI single to Jon Spaulding and an RBI triple to Austin Carroll (3-for-4, home run short of the cycle) to cut the deficit to 6-4.
But Congdon, who has been the No. 1 option out of the bullpen for the Purple Tigers all season, got Will Adkins to pop out to short, then retired the side after a leadoff single in the seventh to seal the victory.
“Jason’s pitch count wasn’t high by any means, he was very efficicent, but CC’s been our go-to guy all year out of the bullpen,” Coach Albright said. “He’s going to throw strikes and he throws hard, and he did a very nice job for us. We weren’t nervous, though we were on the edge of our seats, but CC gets the job done.”
Halfway through the game, the Buccaneers tagged Cortland starter Carr for two runs on seven hits. The first Oswego run came with two outs in the second when Kyle Familo (2-for-2, double, hit by pitch, run) singled to center and Billy Waterbury scored when the ball was bobbled in the outfield. They extended the lead to 2-0 in the third on an RBI double by Adkins, plating Carroll.
The Purple Tigers will host the winner of No. 4 Christian Brothers Academy and No. 5 New Hartford in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Thursday. After the fight the No. 9 seed gave his squad, Albright knows his team can’t take any opponent for granted.
Homer 8, Westhill 1
The No. 4 seed Trojans pulled away from No. 5 Westhill with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to advance to the Section III Class B1 semifinals.
Jake Atkins went 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and a run, Jed Brazo went 1-for-2 with a walk, steal, two RBI and a run, Joey Case went 2-for-4 with a run and two steals and Michael Grant went 2-for-3 with a double, run and RBI.
Brazo pitched the first 3 2/3 innings for the Trojans, allowing no hits and one walk while striking out four. Mitchell Earle went the rest of the way, allowing three hits and four walks, but just one run.
The Trojans will face No. 1 seed South Jefferson at 5 p.m. Thursday. South Jefferson defeated No. 9 seed Bishop Grimes, 10-0, in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
DeRuyter 3, Lyme 2
The No. 9 seed Rockets stunned the No. 1 seed Indians in eight innings.
Ben Barnes scored two runs and Leland Seamans, Donald Chapman and Colton Roberts each had an RBI out of the seventh, eighth and ninth slots in the Rockets batting order.
Cameron Barnes pitched a complete game, allowing seven hits and no walks while striking out six.
The Rockets will face No. 5 seed New York Mills in the Section III Class D semifinals at 5 p.m. Thursday. The Marauders upset No. 4 Brookfield, 7-2 in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
Homer 12, Carthage 7
Leading just 6-4 at halftime, the No. 3 seed Trojans outscored No. 6 Carthage 6-1 in the third quarter to come away with the win in the Section III Class C quarterfinal.
Hunter Riehlman and Reid Partis each had a hat trick and an assist for the Trojans. Jared Matthews and Jake Calabro each had two goals and an assist, and Chancler Kiner and Logan Goodman each had a goal.
The Trojans will face the winner of No. 2 CBA and No. 7 Chittenango in the semifinals Thursday.
TRACK AND FIELD
Dryden wins five events in Sectional
The Dryden Lions had four winners in five events at the Section IV Class D1 track and field championship.
Teghan Garris won the girls shot put at 34’ 7”. Teammate Sindi Pinckney was second at 32’.
Steven Morrow won the boys 400 meters in 52.33 and the 800 meters in 2:07.65. Jackson Crocker won the 3200 meters in 10:27.06. Bryan DePaull won the high jump at 6’2”.