Waverly baseball tops Notre Dame for division title
SOUTHPORT, N.Y. - After a pair of classic pitching duels with Notre Dame last week, Waverly had its hitting shoes on here Monday in a 15-4 route to win the IAC South Large School title.
The Wolverines, now 15-4, pounded out 16 hits and used a pair of six-run innings to blow open the game.
After scoring just five runs - a 3-1 win Monday and a 3-2 loss Thursday - against Notre Dame pitching last week, Waverly coach Kyle McDuffee was impressed with his team's performance.
"We came in today and put the bat on the ball. Notre Dame threw some good pitchers at us, but I was very impressed with our approach at the plate today.
"I thought today, we wanted it more," said McDuffee. "I thought my team wanted it more and went out and got it."
Notre Dame's pitching, which walked nine Waverly batters in two games last week, walked nine in the loss Monday. Crusader coach Bill Hopkins said it was the difference in the game.
"I think our pitching staff struggled all day long throwing strikes. We had a hard time getting ahead and then throwing strikes.
When you have to come in, good hitters are going to get going," he said.
"I've been around this game a long time" added Hopkins "You get on a roll and things kind of avalanche for one team or the other - that's just the way it works."
The game was held up for nearly 15 minutes in the top of the second inning on a controversial call at home plate that cost Waverly a run and its starting third base man.
With one out, Matt Lee worked a walk against Notre Dame starter Parker May of Ridgebury and Matt McCabe followed with a line-drive single to left field.
With two outs, Cody Marchese laced a line drive to right field. Aaron Carson's throw to the plate was up the third-base line and Lee ran into Crusader catcher Derek Marshall, who was tracking the ball up the line, as he attempted to dive around him to the plate.
Lee was called out for "malicious contact" to end the threat and ejected from the game, setting off a 15-minute discussion between McDuffee and the umpiring crew.
"The catcher never had the ball when he was set up. He came up the line for the throw and they collided.
"I know New York state has a rule that you have to avoid contact at home, but really there was no way to avoid it," said McDuffee.
"The umpire said if our runner had just stopped, he would have called obstruction on the catcher, but how does he know that," he added.
McDuffee said the call may have galvanized his team.
"(Patric Bronson) struggled early. He was more focused after the (top of the) second inning.
"I think that incident may have sparked our team," said McDuffee. "Our backs were against the wall and after that incident they were even more against the wall with us losing our third baseman.
"I think everybody on the team had to pick it up a notch and they did," added McDuffee. "I was impressed by that."
Waverly broke the ice in the top of the third on a two-out RBI double by Zack Saxon to plate Dylan Perry, who reached via a one-out walk, for a 1-0 lead.
The Crusaders bounced back in the home half of the third, taking advantage of a pair of Bronson walks and an errant pick-off throw to score a pair of runs on two-out RBI singles by May and Carson to take a 2-1 lead.
After getting the first out in the top of the fourth, May walked Matt McCabe and Cody Marchese, sandwiched around a single by Alex Uhl to load the bases.
The Crusaders then turned to Hunter Thomas in relief, but he was greeted by five consecutive hits - an RBI single by Anthony Girolamo, a two-run single by Perry, a two-run single by Zach Cooney, a single by Saxon, and an RBI single by Bronson - to plate six runs to give the Wolverines a 7-2 lead.
Waverly tacked on two more runs in the top of fifth on a bases-load walk to Cooney and a bases-loaded hit batsmen (Bronson) to make it 9-2.
The Wolverines hung another 6-spot on the board in the top of the sixth.
A walk to McCabe and singles by Uhl and Marchese loaded the bases, then Girolamo plated a run with a groundout and Perry stroked a two-run double to right field to up the lead to 12-2.
Later in the inning, Bronson ripped a two-run double into the left-center field gap to push the lead to 14-2. Kyle Kuzma then capped the rally with an RBI single to left field.
Carson's two-run double in the home half of the seventh inning provided the final runs of the game.
Bronson picked up the win for the Wolverines. He allowed four runs - all earned - on four hits, while striking out 11 and walking seven.
Perry was 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, four runs scored and four RBI to lead the Wolverines at the plate, while Bronson helped his own cause with two hits, four RBI and a run scored, and Girolamo had two hits, two RBI and a run scored.
Marchese had two hits and three runs scored and Uhl collected two hits and two runs scored for Waverly, while Cooney had one hit, two runs scored and three RBI, McCabe had a hit and two runs scored and Kuzma chipped in with a hit and an RBI.
Carson led Notre Dame with two hits and three RBI and May added a hit, a run scored and an RBI.
May was tagged with the loss. He allowed four runs - all earned on five hits and three walks, while striking out one.
Notre Dame falls to 13-6 and is off until the start of the Class D playoffs next week.
"You have to tip your cap to Waverly," said Hopkins. "They deserved to win the division title.
"I was proud of our players. We've accomplished a great deal this season, but there's more to do.
"If this was the end of the season, I'd be disappointed, but there's more for us to accomplish," added Hopkins." We just have to be able to bounce back. We have a week to lick our wounds. We'll be all right."
Waverly is back in action in the overall IAC Large School championship game Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Dunn Field against Lansing, which just had its 41-game win streak snapped Friday by Trumansburg.
The Bobcats scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning in last year's title game to top Waverly, 1-0. In 2011, Lansing blanked Waverly, 7-0, on one hit to win the title.
"I'll use an old Bum Phillips saying: We've been knocking on the door and knocking on the door, I think it's time we started kicking that door in," said McDuffee.
"(Lansing) is a very good team, but I think we can match up well with them," he added.