By PAUL CIFONELLI
SYRACUSE, N.Y.- In a game that looked destined to play well into the night, Skaneateles senior Tommy Reed finally put an end to the Section III Class B sectional championship game in the bottom 14th inning. The two teams each struck for three runs early on in the game and then did not score again until Reed’s heroics. The game was dominated by pitching, but there was a stark difference in the pitching on each side.
Skaneateles rolled with their ace, senior and University of Albany commit Cregg Scherrer, for the championship game. Scherrer had dominated every opponent he faced on the mound all season, not giving up more than two runs in any game he pitched prior to today, according to Syracuse.com. He is also a strikeout pitcher, punching out double digit batters in five of his 10 outings during the season. Scherrer was followed up on the mound by fellow seniors Reed and Jack Canty.
Westhill used a committee of arms on the mound. Nick Bistrovich started on the bump but was pulled after just 1.1 innings. He was followed up by Jack Knapp, who threw 2.2 innings before a rain delay hit. Nate King took over after the rain stopped and threw five innings. Phil Zollo went the final 4.2 innings for the Warriors.
The scoring was started in the bottom of the second inning when Jack Carlile hit an RBI single and Nate Wellington had a two-run triple to give Skaneateles a 3-0 lead. Westhill struck in the top of the third when Ryan Bennett beat the center fielder for a two-run triple of his own. In the top of the fourth, Jake Zawadzki drove in Ben Coates on a fielder’s choice to tie the game up at three.
Then, the rain came.
A delay of about 45 minutes broke up the game, but the pitching really took over after that. Scherrer went back out for Skaneateles and King took over for Westhill and each offense fell flat. There were multiple chances to break through for each team, but the pitching prevailed every time.
One of the key plays from the game came in extra innings with Scherrer playing first base. With two outs, he fielded an errant throw from Canty, who was playing third base, and got up to throw out a runner at home that would have given Westhill the lead.
When he was finished pitching, Scherrer could have let his guard down and fallen flat. However, he knew his team would still need him, which led to him being aware enough to make the key play.
— Paul Cifonelli (@PCifonelli) June 2, 2019
“I just told myself, I did what I could for those first eight innings pitching, now I’ve got to go help my teammates in the field,” Scherrer said.
With the game continuing on without any scoring, Reed put an end to the madness in the 14th. With two outs, Canty reached first on a bunt. Reed delivered with a double into the right field corner to secure the victory for the Lakers. While Reed could have gone up to the plate looking to win the game, his goal was just to keep the train moving.
“My goal was just to put in in play and move Jack Canty over to give us a chance to win it,” Reed said.
Skaneateles is a veteran team that had been in big games before Sunday night. The Lakers were in the championship game in 2017 and made it to the semifinals in 2018. Skaneateles coach Tom Warner knew that his team was prepared for a game like this that could change a program.
“It’s been, I believe since 2004, since they won,” Warner said. “And we’ve won a lot of games the last few years and it hadn’t really felt complete unless we won this. I’m just happy for the seniors, we have eight seniors on the team and they all play, so real happy.”
Skaneateles advances to the Class B regional final on Saturday, June 8 against Section IV champion Susquehanna Valley.