While Fredonia’s men’s baseball team had winning momentum going into a doubleheader against Brockport, they were ultimately eliminated from SUNYAC playoffs on April 23.
Before their big series with Brockport started, the Fredonia men’s baseball team had two games on their schedule that were very important to them. A home game against Alfred State and a road game against I-90 rival Penn St. Behrend were on the schedule, and Fredonia was looking to keep their momentum up from last week.
Fredonia returned home to face Alfred State in another non-conference game late in the season. Fredonia scored four runs in the first two innings and held a firm grip on the lead, until the seventh inning when they gave up three runs. In the bottom of the eighth inning, senior Liam Kelly laced an opposite field, bases-clearing triple to widen the lead for the Blue Devils. The Blue Devils used a few pitchers in the game after starter Jake Horford threw two scoreless innings and had five strikeouts while only allowing a hit before giving it up to the bullpen.
Fredonia got solid contributions from sophomore Noah West and senior Zach Lyman, who combined to throw four scoreless innings and only allowed one hit as well. Senior Alexio Medina capped off the second inning with a two-run single and led the offensive attack for the Blue Devils. They got contributions from many players, including junior Joshua Crocetti, who had two singles and two stolen bases, senior Ciro Frontale who had two hits and an RBI and senior Matt Wilhelm who also had an RBI on the day.
The next game Fredonia had before they played Brockport was an I-90 battle on the road against Penn St. Behrend. Fredonia stretched its non-conference win streak to five as a rain-shortened game saw the Blue Devils win 8-2. Sophomore starter Ben Atkinson went six strong innings, allowing two runs on six hits but kept them from scoring any more runs. He was relieved by fellow sophomore Luke Kuczewski who threw a scoreless inning.
The Blue Devils started the scoring in the second inning, scoring four runs, with two coming from a Joshua Crocetti two-run triple. They would add a run in the fourth on back-to-back doubles and three more runs in the fifth, capped by a two-run double by freshman Joseph Coene.
This weekend, the Blue Devils started an important three game series against conference opponent Brockport. With Fredonia’s conference record sitting at 3-9, they needed to win most of their remaining conference games to have a spot at the SUNYAC playoffs.
The first game on the doubleheader was a nail-biter that saw the Blue Devils blow the lead in the ninth and give up a back-breaking home run in the tenth to lose 2-1. Starter Jake Horford pitched an amazing game going eight and one-third innings, giving up one run on five hits and five strikeouts. Though he walked five, he pitched a masterful game and almost had the shut out. He was relieved by Zach Lyman who took the loss playing one and two-thirds of an inning and allowing the go-ahead HR in the tenth.
After scoring a run on a fielder choice in the fourth, Fredonia couldn’t muster any runs off of the starter from Brockport. Getting 10 hits off a pitcher and only getting a run must be a tough pill to swallow, because they also left nine men on base during the game.
Talking to Coach Matt Palisin, he noted that the strength of SUNYAC teams are pitching so captalizing on opportunities is very important to win games in conference.
“The strength of the SUNYAC has always been pitching. Games are going to be low scoring and close. We won some close ones where I’m sure the other team felt the same way,” Palisin said.
They had to quickly regroup as they had to play a doubleheader. In this seven-inning game, the Blue Devils blew another chance at victory in the final minute that basically put an end to their playoff hopes. They were bitten by the long ball again, as a late home run would spell defeat for the boys in white and blue again. Kuczewski had a quality start, going six strong innings, allowing four earned runs and striking out four.
Fredonia started the game by scoring two runs on a throwing error by the Brockport third baseman in the second inning. Brockport would counter with two runs of their own in the third and a run in the fourth to take the lead back from Fredonia. A passed ball in the sixth allowed Steve Zaprowski to score the tying run before Brockport would score two in the seventh on a two-run home run to do Fredonia in.
The last game of the series would be won by Brockport 10-2 to complete the sweep and eliminate the Blue Devils from playoff contention. Fredonia surrendered 19 hits and were down 9-2 after four innings. This loss put the Blue Devils at 16-16 and 3-12 in SUNYAC play.
Palisin explained that the team still had something to play for and they have a goal in mind before the season ends. “We are looking to get to 20 wins. We are looking at posting a winning record and keeping the I-90 Cup in our rivalry with Behrend, a perennial 30-win team,” he said. “We are 13-4 in non conference games and beat some pretty good competition. We just needed to be better when it counts.”