LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – The Finger Lakes Community College Baseball team started off their weekend at the NJCAA Region III Final Four Tournament yesterday. They played the number two seed, Niagara County Community College. The Lakers who were the number three seed, managed to upset the Thunder Wolves, and move on to the winner's bracket.
The matchup between the Lakers and the Thunder Wolves was a pitchers' game. Both pitchers were dominating their defenses. The game started on some excitement with both teams finding their way onto the board in the first inning.
At the top of the first inning, Omar Rosa lead the game off with a walk. Nick Stein sacrifice bunted to move Rosa over to second. After a steal to third from Rosa, Tanner Cooper did his job by hitting a grounder to second, that led the second baseman make the decision to get the out, and Rosa scored. This put the Lakers in an early 1-0 lead.
The bottom of the first inning started with a double to left field by Garrett Boldt. Vincent Chiarenza was up next, and hit a single that scored Boldt from second. This would finish out the scoring for the first inning, and left the score at 1-1.
The third inning was when the final scoring of the game took place. It was the top of the third, and Rosa hit an infield single to start the inning. Stein sacrifice bunted again, and Rosa was moved to second. After the Thunder Wolves intentionally walked Cooper, Al Xapsos hit a ball to the shortstop. The shortstop made the decision to get Cooper out going to second, and made a throwing error, that Rosa took advantage of and scored, putting the Lakers in the final lead of the game. The score was now 2-1.
The Lakers made some spectacular defensive plays that would save their lead for the rest of the nine innings. In the bottom of the fifth inning, with two outs, one of the speedier players on the Thunder Wolves, Boldt, attempted a steal to second. Catcher, Aaron Shoemaker, saw him go and threw a rocket to second, where Lukas Haefner put down the perfect tag to get the Lakers out of that inning.
At the bottom of the seventh inning, Will Lawrence hit a triple to start off their inning, with one out. After a call from the coaching staff to move the infield in, Sam Mullen hit a grounder straight to Anderson Xapsos at shortstop, to which he made the play to home, to get Lawrence out. That wasn't the end of the great defense from the Lakers in that half inning. With Mullen reaching first on the previous fielder's choice, Nick Spyropolos hit a single that moved Mullen to second. After a pitch that got away from Shoemaker a little bit, Mullen took a big lead. Shoemaker picked up the ball quick, saw where Mullen was, and made the perfect throw to Xapsos for the pick off to end the inning.
The game was a nail biter throughout the entire nine innings. The Lakers managed to pull out a win with only having one hit compared to the Thunder Wolves' seven.
Game leaders for the Lakers were Rosa going 1-3 and scoring the only two runs of the game, and Al Xapsos with an RBI.
Cooper not only had an RBI, but was credited with the win on the mound. Cooper pitched all nine innings, allowing seven hits, and had 12 strikeouts.
This win put the Lakers in the winner's bracket. They will be facing the Erie Community College Kats who upset Herkimer College yesterday. They will play at 3:30pm after the elimination game between Herkimer College and Niagara County Community College. If the Lakers win, they will be playing tomorrow, if they fall to Erie today, they will play again, right after the 3:30pm game against whoever wins the elimination game. Check out our website to find links to live stats, video, and audio for the game.