By PAUL CIFONELLI
When the fans at Falcon Park in Auburn, NY saw that it was senior Jacob Marshall warming up in Baldwinsville’s bullpen before the game instead of junior Jason Savacool, there seemed to be a feeling that Liverpool had a chance. That quickly changed once the game began.
While Savacool, who is committed to the University of Maryland and is a potential early round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, was expected to start the game, Marshall’s numbers were better entering Thursday’s game. He was sporting a 1.13 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 38.1 regular season innings, according to syracuse.com.
After a two-hour rain delay in the game prior, Marshall was finally able to take the hill and dominated in the first two innings. He recorded five strikeouts during the first two frames, including two in a row in the second after walking the bases loaded with one out. Marshall also received some early run support with his team scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Nate Ray had an RBI single and Jeb Farneth had a bases-clearing double with the bases loaded all before the Bees made an out. Liverpool starting pitcher Jake Wheeler was removed from the game after Farneth’s double.
After walking the bases loaded with one out, Marshall relies on the heater to strike out the next two hitters. Still 4-0 Baldwinsville headed into the bottom of the second. @PickinSplinters pic.twitter.com/EtdS87CLpb
— Paul Cifonelli (@PCifonelli) May 31, 2019
Liverpool did not go down easily and fought back in the top of the third. With the score still at 4-0 to begin the inning, Shane Hazelmyer drove in one run and Aaron Sisto had a pinch hit, two RBI double to bring the Warriors within one. All of this scoring also happened with no outs, but Baldwinsville stuck with Marshall on the mound. Marshall knew that he was prepared coming into the game and just had to escape his rough patch with the lead.
“Mentally, coming into the game, I thought I was pretty prepared but emotions got the best of me,” Marshall said. “I think in the second or third inning I started struggling a little bit. I just had to stick with my pitches and let my defense play behind me.”
The Bees did not let Liverpool keep it close for long. With two outs in the inning, Michael Carni and Pat May each drove in one run then Savacool unloaded the bases with a double. The third inning ended with the score at 9-3 in favor of Baldwinsville and the Bees were able to coast into the finish line from there.
Mike DeStefano drove in Liverpool’s final run of the night in the fourth inning. Marshall helped his own cause one final time in the fifth inning with a two-run single. Chris AuClair relieved Marshall in the sixth inning and threw two scoreless frames with two strikeouts. Marshall’s final stat line consisted of five innings with 10 strikeouts and four runs allowed. Only three of the runs were earned.
May, Baldwinsville’s leadoff hitter and shortstop, was a force on offense during the game. He finished the day 1-for-1 with two walks and was hit by two pitches. He also scored three runs on the day. While he was solid offensively, May committed three errors, one of which cost the Bees a run. Despite his up and down day, May knew that, despite his poor defense, he needed to help his team offensively.
“I didn’t really think about it, honestly,” May said. “You flush everything that happens. My play in the field is a whole different mindset.”
Now that Baldwinsville has won, they will look to repeat as Section III Class AA champions. After last year’s run to the state championship game ended in defeat, the Bees have experience on their side. The next game will be against the seventh seeded Fayetteville-Manlius Hornets. Baldwinsville beat Fayetteville-Manlius all three times they played during the regular season, but the Hornets are on a roll and have their ace, Tom Coleman, lined up to pitch. Baldwinsville coach Dave Penafeather knows that the game cannot be taken lightly despite the Hornets’ losing record.
“F-M, we beat them (three) straight this year, we beat them I think four last year,” Penafeather said. “But they’ve got a lot of motivation. It’s a very good ball club and I think in the AA’s you see there’s a lot of parody. Anybody can beat anybody at any point. We’re going to rely on our experience from last year.”
The game will take place on Sunday, June 2 at Onondaga Community College. The game is set to start at 6 p.m. but it is the third game of the day on the field.