Knights power way past Wildcats

Published Apr 20, 2017 at 4:10pm

Escaping a two-on, nobody out jam in the fifth inning, and using a seven-run sixth inning, the Rome Free Academy baseball team powered past West Genesee 9-2 on Wednesday morning at the Stadium in a non-league contest.

Leading 2-0 headed into the top of the fifth inning, RFA starting pitcher Derrick Miller gave up back-to-back singles to West Genny starting pitcher Liam Barry and shortstop Mike Bonacci to start the frame.

Barry and Bonacci both moved into scoring position after leadoff Dan Purcell bunted a ball back to Miller who went on to record the first out of the inning. Miller then had the next two batters ground to third baseman Aaron Simons to escape the early jam with the lead still in tact.

“I just had to make the play,” Aaron Simons said after the game about making the final two outs in the fifth inning. “I just wanted to make sure I knocked the ball down and got the out at first.”

The Wildcats did, in fact, tag Miller for two runs in the next half inning after Kevin Donoahue singled home Chris Bonacci, who reached on an error, and Connor Macko, who singled past the first baseman, to tie the game at two.

Miller’s final line was two runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out two over 5 1/3 innings.

“Their starting pitcher did a really nice job of mixing speeds,” West Genesee head coach Kevin Krause said. “I thought that we hit some balls hard, but we hit them right at people. They made the routine plays and we didn’t make the routine plays, and our pitcher struggled to throw anything but a fastball for a strike.”

Krause was impressed how the 4-2 Black Knights took control of the game after the Wildcats came back to tie the game. “When we came back and tied it up, they did a great job of answering back and putting up a big number against us,” he said.

West Genesee falls to 2-3 on the season.

Miller wound up with a no-decision because he was relieved by Derek Switzer after giving up the two RBI single. Switzer earned the win on the mound for the Black Knights after recording the final five outs.

Going into the bottom of the sixth after the Black Knights had just surrendered the lead, they took it right back after scoring seven runs by batting around their line-up.

Gino DeBlasiis led the inning off by reaching on an error and moved to second after Aaron Simons singled into right. Owen Hetherington drew a walk to load the bases with no body out and Zach Taylor singled into centerfield to bring DeBlasiis around to score the go-ahead run. Brett Granger then pushed across Aaron Simons to bring the game to 4-2.

Corey Ott lined out for the first out of the inning. Shea Simons singled back up the middle to drive in pinch runner Ethan Williams. Miller flied out to center field for the second out of the inning, and Tyler Schoff reached on an error that scored Granger. DeBlasiis reached on a base hit to the third baseman that drove in Shea Simons, Aaron Simons walked, and Hetherington singled to score Schoff to end RFA’s big inning.

Switzer got through the top of the seventh without any trouble before the rain started.

RFA got its first two runs of the game in the third and fourth inning after Ott hit a two-out single back up the middle to score Hetherington for the early 1-0 lead. In the fourth, the Black Knights scored another two-out run after Aaron Simons singled into left field to drive in Schoff.

“We rallied together and we won a statement game,” RFA head coach Evan Howard said.

“We wanted to prove ourselves after we lost a tough game the other day (Saturday) to Cicero-North Syracuse. We wanted to prove that we belonged. Switzer did a nice job of getting us out of a jam, and I told the guys that in the bottom of the inning we’re going to come up and drop the hammer on them.”

Weather-permitting, the Black Knights are back in action this afternoon as they host Tri-Valley League foe New Hartford at the Stadium 4:15.