Nelson Santos(North Carolina A&T) ripped a bases-loaded double in the top of the eleventh inning to score Dan Bertolini (Mercyhurst) with the winning run and propelled the Webster Yankees to a 9-2 comeback victory over the Brockport Riverbats.
With no outs in the inning Santos had the opportunity to give his team the lead for the first time since the top of the first.
“I was looking for a ball that I could drive into the outfield for a sac fly.”
Instead Santos’ rope one-hopped to the fence in left centerfield between Sean O’Bannion (Texas Lutheran) and Chris Benham (Northwest Missouri State University). Mark Stuckless also scored on the play.
Bryan Gardner (Fairport/Ithaca) earned the win in relief. The southpaw pitched two innings and struck out two. Gardner now has 22 K’s in thirteen innings of works this season.
Blair Veenema(Fairport/ U of R) started the game and went seven and a third. For the second time this season Veenema supplied a solid outing helping his team to consecutive wins. Veenema earned the win in Hornell the day after Webster won its home opener over Elmira 7-2.
Veenema honored the five Fairport students who were tragically killed in an automobile accident. Blair wrapped a piece of tape around the back of his hat with the initials of the fallen imprinted on it.
“It was such a tragic event. I wanted to do something to let them know I’m thinking of them.”
Veenema’s night ended when he made a diving catch on a bunt attempt by Chad King (St. John Fisher). He bounced up and checked pinch runner, Rob Sumner (NJCU), at second. After calling time Veenema fell to the ground holding his knee.
Chris Coleman (Pittsford/ Niagara) came on in relief and retired the side but not without some drama. After a wild pitch Sumner moved to third with the potential game-winning run.
Coleman got Randy Moley (St. Bonaventure) to fly out to right field. Sumner tagged on the play, but Ryan Sullivan (Hilton/U of R) air mailed a strike to Marcus Nidiffer (University of Kentucky) to end the threat. Sullivan added an RBI single in the 11th and scored along with Nidiffer on a double by Bertolini-the shortstop’s second hit of the inning.
For Bertolini the extra-frame was especially satisfying. The infielder came into the game with 4 hits in 46 at-bats.
“Finally!” said Bertolini of his leadoff single. “It was a fastball in.” “I hope to keep this going.”
“Dan is such a competitor,” commented Coach Mike Kelly. “I am happy for him.”
Bertolini’s appearance in the game came when Gary Helmick (Towson University) injured an ankle on a play at the plate in the fifth.
Helmick expects to be back in the lineup against Niagara.
Brockport took the lead in the fifth. Moley led off with a single. Two outs later he moved to third on Benham’s single and scored on a balk. Jacob Kaase’s(Texas Lutheran/ 23rd round pick Texas Rangers) double made the score 2 to 1.
That is when Webster mounted its comeback.
Stuckless singled to start the eighth and scored two outs later on Joe McIntyre’s(North Carolina A&T) RBI single. McItyre went two for five on the day. Stuckless finished the game with four hits and three runs scored.
Shawn Bailey (Webster-Schroeder/Mesa St.) had a pair of singles to improve his hitting streak to seven games.
Jacob Bernath (Toledo University) earned the save.
With the win Webster improves to six wins and twelve losses. The Yanks now trail Brockport by four in the loss column for the final playoff spot in the NYCBL West Division.
“I don’t envision us being out of this by any means,” added Kelly. “The only thing that matters is tomorrow.”
Webster hosts the Niagara Power tomorrow. The Yanks will look to continue their winning ways against the second place Power. Game time is 5pm at MCC.