By ANTHONY SCOTT
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Deaven Phillips (Ave Maria) tossed five innings for the win, and the Syracuse Jr. Chiefs continued their recent hot streak with a 7-3 victory over the Rome Generals in New York Collegiate Baseball League action, Thursday night.
Phillips allowed one run on two hits while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to a mere 1.63.
“It feels good to come in and do my job.” Phillips said, “I feel more comfortable starting, but whenever the team needs me to come in, then I’ll come in.”
The first General batter got aboard via an error from Phillips. Rome executed on small ball to push across that run, but that was all they could muster against the Dade City, Florida native who was spectacular on the mound from there.
“We’ve won five games in a row, and we’re trying to take every game as it comes.” Junior Chief head coach Joe Antonio said, “I think we are the best team in the division, and I think we can hang with anyone.”
Syracuse was able to give their pitcher some run support in the third inning. Alexander Ferlenda (St. Bonaventure) led the inning off with a bang. A solo shot that was hit on a line and was just high enough off the ground to clear the left field fence. That was Ferlenda’s fourth straight extra-base hit dating back to last game. The home run tied the game at one after three innings.
“I’m feeling good at the plate, the ball is coming in like a volleyball.” Ferlenda said, “(This win) is really big, the whole season we knew we had it in us, it’s just finally coming together for us.”
Then in the sixth inning Syracuse added another run to take the lead as Webb Little (Ithaca) launched an RBI triple off the left-center field fence. He finished off his trip around the bases when his brother Sam Little (Ithaca) executed on a sacrifice fly. The J-Chiefs were up 3-1 at this point.
John Militano (Salve Regina) got in on the slugging next inning with an RBI triple to left of his own. Syracuse led comfortably 4-1 heading into the eighth.
The Salve Regina junior finished his day at the plate going 3-for-5 with two RBI.
“First pitch (on the triple) I knew he was throwing the fastball, I just wanted to jump on it.” Militano said.
Rome would not go down easily as they scored a run to make 4-2 after the top of the eighth.
Syracuse put the game away in the bottom half of the frame as they tallied three more runs. Rome scratched across one more run in the ninth, but it was not enough as Syracuse won it 7-3. The score could have been a lot worse for the Generals if it was not for their spectacular defense throughout the night.
With the win the Junior Chiefs can not finish worse than second in the Eastern Division and still have an outside chance at first place.
“It’s a big boost to not have to travel anymore, and getting two days off was even better.” Antonio said, “Our guys just can’t think too much, and we have to stay loose.”
“We like playing on the turf, our guys can be more aggressive on defense because we know we are getting good hops.” Rome coach Craig Farley said, “These guys are ballplayers, they are not going to dog it by any means.”
The 18-26 Generals are out of playoff contention, but they finish off the season with two games against the Sherrill Silversmiths on Saturday and Sunday.
For the Junior Chiefs, they look to continue their hot streak on Friday as they welcome in the Sherrill Silversmiths. Friday’s game is set to start at 7:00 P.M from Onondaga Community College.