CANTON — It took until the later innings, but the Massena baseball team finally solved Peru’s crafty left-hander, Conor Casey, in the first round of the state Class A tournament on Friday afternoon at Tom Fay Field.
Isaiah Dillabough, one of several left-handed Raider batters stymied by Casey’s smooth blend of curve balls, change-ups and fastballs, stroked a one-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Raiders a 3-2 victory.
Massena (14-3) faces a quick turnaround today when it meets Averill Park of Section 2 in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. at The College of St. Rose in Albany. Averill Park blanked Section 3’s Jamesville-DeWitt 1-0 on Friday.
In the Class B first round, Ogdensburg Free Academy beat Saranac Central, 8-5, to advance to today’s quarterfinals at St. Lawrence University.
“It was a low fastball. I just choked up and poked it to right field,” Dillabough said. “He (Casey) really had our number with that commanding curveball. But our guys are fighters and we came back.”
Massena starter Rory Corcoran pitched into the eighth inning, where he walked a pair with one out. Jacob Vierno came on in relief and threw three pitches to earn the victory, inducing an inning-ending double play.
“I didn’t feel I had my best stuff. My velocity was a little off, but I had good defense behind me,” said Corcoran, whose team played error-less baseball. “Massena hasn’t won this game in awhile, so this is big for us.”
Peru (9-6) never trailed until the final pitch of the game. The Section 7 champions opened the scoring in the top of the second when Blake Altimer led off with a single and scored on a safety squeeze bunt by Jon Plesser-Belair.
Massena tied it in the third when Patrick Manning blasted a double to left, was sacrificed to third by Logan Deshane and then squeezed home by Jeremiah Reagan.
But Peru again took the lead in the fourth when Altizer was hit by a pitch leading off the inning and scored on a long double to right-center by Tristan Archambault.
In the last of the seventh, Massena’s Isaac Ward led off with a hard-hit infield single followed by a bunt single by Tyler Haas. The runners were a sacrificed to second and third by Cameron Marsh before Ward scored on an error by the third baseman.
Dillabough’s heroics in the eighth were set up by a leadoff infield single by Bailey Hewlett, who moved to second on the Indians’ third throwing error of the day.
OFA 8, SARANAC 5
For the first four innings of Friday’s Class B quarterfinal between OFA and Saranac Central at Tom Fay Field, walks and wild pitches played a major role in the scoring.
But in the bottom of the fourth inning after the visiting Chiefs of Section 7 scored four times to tie the score, it was all about OFA’s hitting.
The Blue Devils (11-5) struck for five straight hits, scored four runs and then received last-out relief work by Kinnon LaRose to save the win for Seth Pinkerton.
The victory earned OFA (11-5) the right to host Section 2 champion Schalmont (23-1) at SLU today at 4:30 p.m. for the right to advance to the final four in Binghamton for a second straight year.
“We are playing really well as a team right now and we are hitting the ball well up and down the lineup,” said OFA senior catcher Jon Tayler, who beat out an RBI infield single in the second inning and crushed a two-run double to cap the four-run fourth.
“DaKota Brady is an outstanding leader and we have a lot of young guys hitting the ball very well.”
Three first-year varsity starters started the pivotal fourth inning surge against Nate Stanton, who replaced starter Tanner Roscoe.
Jon Rogers singled, Nick Sweeney delivered a pinch-hit RBI single and Peyton Lalone lined an RBI single before Brady lined an run-scoring single and Tayler hammered a two-run double over the leftfielder’s head.
The Blue Devils answered after the Chiefs used their second hit of the game, a two-run opposite-field single by Caleb Keysor, to trigger a four-run inning where Pinkerton issued four walks.
Pinkerton faced only four batters, blanking the Chiefs in the fifth and sixth innings, but issued three straight walks after two outs in the seventh.
LaRose came on and enticed a game-ending flyout after Keysor plated a run with an infield single.
Pinkerton climbed to 5-0 with his second straight postseason win.
HEUVELTON 14, OPPENHEIM-EPHRATA 0
All nine spots in the lineup produced an RBI as the Section 10 champion Bulldogs routed Section 2’s Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville in a state Class D first-round game at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam.
Heuvelton (17-2) plays Section 7’s Lake Placid (6-8) at 1 p.m. today at SLU in a state quarterfinal game.
Mike Martin fanned nine, walked two and scattered five hits for the Bulldogs.
Heuvelton received two hits each from Aiden Scagel, Andrew Woodard, Dylan Liscum and Cole Piercey.