Monroe salvages split with Finger Lakes CC

Matt Brooks collected five hits and four RBI for the day. (Photo courtesy of Monroe CC Athletics)
Matt Brooks collected five hits and four RBI for the day. (Photo courtesy of Monroe CC Athletics)

By PAUL GOTHAM

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — Matt Brooks (Auburn) collected four hits and three RBI as the Monroe Community College Tribunes defeated Finger Lakes CC, 13-5 to salvage a doubleheader split Thursday afternoon.

Brooks keyed a six-run fourth with his second double of the night cap.

“I was just trying to drive the ball the other way and I shot the left center gap and got it rolling from there,” the sophomore outfielder said. “I think the team really fueled off that right there. That was good for us.”

Traling 3-2, Brooks brought home Ryan Brown (Brighton) on a ground-rule double with the first run of the inning. Mike Pringle (Pittsford Sutherland) followed with an RBI base hit up the middle, and the Tribunes had a lead they never surrendered.

“I was just trying to get the runs back,” Brooks commented. “Pitchers did a good job for us from there.”

Connor Lewis (St. Marguerite d’Youville) and Johnny Ricotta (Greece Athena) delivered RBI base hits to give MCC an 8-4 advantage.

After falling 12-7 in the opener, a game in which the Tribunes scored the last seven runs, Brooks started game two driving the first pitch to center for a single.

“Usually the first at bat I take a strike,” Brooks explained. “But I was like I’m going to go in there and try to get a first-pitch single up the middle and get the team going.”

Brooks doubled and scored to lead the third. Monroe grabbed a 3-2 edge.

“With “Brooksy” leading the way that sets the tone,” Monroe coach Dave Brust said. “That’s why he’s such an effective leadoff guy.”

FLCC’s Cole Tracy doubled home two in the bottom of the inning as the Lakers regained the lead.

Brooks brought home two more runs with his second double of the day and pushed Monroe’s lead to 10-4 in the fifth.

“I just hate losing,” Brooks stated.  “I got that fire in me. Just wanted to bounce back and pound them the second game. Had a good game and glad I could help the team win.”

Alex Bellardini (Elmira Free Academy) pitched three innings for the win. After allowing the two runs in the third, Bellardini retired seven straight on the way to picking up his third win of the season.

“Originally the plan was just for him to go two innings,” Brust said.  “But his pitch count was so low we could have him go one more. It helps rest our staff. “Bell” was key to that. He pitched well. Everything looks better.”

Lucas Godlewski (Little Falls) retired the side in order in the sixth before giving up a run on two hits and a walk in the seventh.

In the opener, T.J. Angora connected on  a first inning grand slam. FLCC grabbed a 5-0 lead and never looked back. The Lakers sent 10 the plate in the third. Tracy capped the outburst with a two-run double. FLCC led 11-0.

Luke Brust (Honeoye Falls-Lima) got the Tribs on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run home run, a line shot that caromed off the dugout on the adjacent soccer field. Brust finished the day with three walks and two HBP.

Anthony Santoro (Henninger), Braden Passmore (Rush-Henrietta), Bubba Boutelle (Angora) and Brooks brought home a run apiece in the fifth to cut the lead to four at 11-7.

But it was too little, too late.

“The sophomores, when we lose it hurts them,” Brust said. “You can see that. They’re trying to get the freshmen to understand that everything matters. All the little things we do in the dugout. Regardless of what you’re doing for that game it’s all important. We need 100 percent buy in from everybody, all the time.”

Monroe is 18-12 on the season.

FLCC is 23-12.

Monroe travels to Mercyhurst NE on Saturday for a conference matchup with the Saints. A 1 p.m. first pitch is scheduled. The same two teams meet Sunday. The teams will play one nine-inning game both days.

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