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Sutherland nips Albion with 7th inning rally to win Class A Far West Regional

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 7 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Dominic DiCureia lays down a bunt for Albion during the Purple Eagles narrow 3-2 Class A Far West Regional loss to Pittsford Sutherland this evening at Diethrick Field in Jamestown.

Putting together an error aided last inning rally, Pittsford Sutherland nipped Albion 3-2 this evening in the Class A Far West Regional at Diethrick Stadium in Jamestown.

Trailing 2-0, Sutherland used a one out single by Jimmy Murray followed by two errors to set up the decisive rally. A third straight error plated one run and then, following a walk which loaded the bases, a two-run single by Drew Reddish drove in the tying and what proved to be the winning runs.

“It was a frustrating loss,” said Albion Coach Bruce Blanchard. “For six innings I thought we were the better team but then we made the three errors in a row in the seventh and they took advantage of our mistakes. They finished it and we couldn’t answer in the bottom of the seventh.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Austin Loyd delivers a pitch for Albion.

Up until the final frame the Purple Eagles were nearly flawless in the field.

Austin Loyd, who pitched into the seventh, allowed only three scattered hits with five strikeouts over the first six innings. And defensively during that stretch the Purple Eagles got big plays for outs from Dominic DiCureia at third base, Connor Barleben at shortstop, Trey Hart in centerfield and John Krieger in left who made a nifty throw to DiCureia at third for the final out of the fourth inning to keep the game knotted at 0-0.

“We made some real good plays defensively and Austin pitched a great game. He kept them off balance,” said Blanchard.

Albion got a quick threat going in the bottom of the first inning on back-to-back two out singles by John Warne and Steven Stauss but could not capitalize as a groundout to first quickly wiped out the opportunity.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Steven Stauss tries to save a high throw at first base as Sutherland’s Nate Richardson dives back to the bag.

The Purple Eagles finally grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a fielders choice play off the bat of Noah Preston. Stauss opened the inning with a single but was forced out a second on a fielders choice play off the bat of Barleben. Barleben ended up advancing to third on a wild pitch and scoring on Preston’s groundout.

Hart followed up with a single and stole second but was left stranded there as a groundout quickly ended the inning.

Albion then made it 2-0 with run in the fifth on an RBI single by Warne. JJ Downs got hit with a pitch to lead off the inning, went to second on a groundout, to third on a passed ball and came home on Warne’s single.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion pitching coach Bill Dambra holds a meeting at the mound. Players visible include pitcher Austin Loyd, catcher John Warne, third baseman Dominic DiCureia, shortstop Connor Barleben and first baseman Steven Stauss.

However, the Purple Eagles couldn’t get another runner on base as Sutherland pitcher Michael VanderZwaag, who went the distance on the mound, retired the last seven batters he faced.

VanderZwaag got a groundout to short to get out of further trouble in the fifth then got a pop out to second, a strikeout and another groundout to short in the sixth and finally a strikeout, a groundout to second and a bouncer back to the mound in the seventh to close out the narrow victory and earn Sutherland a tripe to the state semifinals.

Sutherland left runners stranded in each of the first five innings as each time the Albion defense quickly got out of trouble via a groundout to Barleben at short in the first, a flyout to Hart in the second, strikeouts by Loyd in both the third and fifth frames and the highlight Krieger to DiCureia play which got the lead runner out at third in the fourth.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Part of the large Albion crowd that made the trip to Jamestown for the regional contest.

“They have a good team and they certainly capitalized on our mistakes,” said Blanchard. “Still our kids just had an unbelievable season winning the league, the A2 title and then the overall Section VI Class A title. They really had a great season it was just a frustrating finish.”

Albion, which defeated Springville 8-3 to win the A2 title and Starpoint 2-1 to claim the overall Class A crown and gain a berth in the regional, finishes the season at 17-3.

Sutherland, which ironically also defeated Albion 6-2 in the Purple Eagles last appearance in the Far West Regional in 2010, will now play in the state semifinals next Saturday at Binghamton.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion players and coaches line up for the national anthem prior to the start of the game.