Niagara Gazette

July 24, 2013

Storm ends Power's season with loss

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Mother Nature has not played nice with the Niagara Power many times during the 2013 New York Collegiate Baseball League season.

Tuesday night, it had the final say.

A thunderstorm passing over Sal Maglie Stadium led to the abrupt end of the Power's season finale, just four innings into a scheduled seven inning contest, with the Power losing to the Geneva Twins, 2-1.

It added insult to injury with the team still reeling from a 16-2 blowout loss earlier in the day by the Hornell Dodgers, also at home.

Both games were played as makeups for postponements earlier in the season brought on by — what else? — rainy weather.

The first game Tuesday afternoon, against the Dodgers, was the game that was supposed to be played last Friday evening but was washed out by the damaging storms that passed through the region. 

Hornell scored seven runs in the first inning with a rally that began with the leadoff hitter, Steven Goldstein, reaching first with a single. He and Chris Roeder were later brought home on a double by the Dodgers' fourth hitter, Anthony Renz. It was only the first two runs in an inning that quickly spun out of control for the home team.

Niagara's starting pitcher, Kenneth DeCook, was chased after giving up seven runs just two thirds into the top of the first inning. He also took the loss, his first and only decision in six appearances during the 2013 NYCBL season.

Niagara's other pitchers didn't fare much better. Peter Moran, a Williamsville resident playing his college ball at Wheaton, went five innings and kept the Dodgers scoreless until his final inning, the sixth, when he surrendered five runs.

Travis Laitar took the mound in the seventh and gave up three runs in just a third of an inning. Sam Whim took over and gave up just one more run in his three innings of work.

Offensively, the Power got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning, when Matt Brooks' RBI single scored Tyler Simmons. They didn't score again until the fifth, when Brooks scored as Cody Pentecost reached first on an error.

The Power had nine hits, which was dwarfed by the Dodgers' 20.

With a last place finish in the NYCBL already made certain, the Power hoped to play for pride in the nightcap against the Geneva Twins, who just missed the final playoff spot by one game. 

Both teams traded runs in the first inning. The Twins scored when Ryan Johns doubled to get on base then scored two hitters later as Jimmy Spagna singled to score him. The Power responded when Scott Gillespie walked with two outs and then scored on Perry Rigby's double.

Geneva scored the go-ahead run in the top of the fourth, when Spagna scored as Josh Cassidy reached first on a fielder's choice.

In the bottom of the fourth, Tyler Simmons led off for Niagara but grounded out to third.

Then came the thunderstorm. Given the length of the game, it was the point when the game could be called, and with the rain and lightning both in play, the decision was made to end it.

The loss was Niagara's third straight and ends their 2013 season with a record of 13-27, putting them 12 games out of first place.

The NYCBL playoffs begin today, with the Syracuse Salt Cats traveling to Wellsville to take on the Nitros and the Olean Oilers traveling to the Syracuse Jr. Chiefs. Both games are a single-elimination contest. The winners will advance to three-game series, with first and second seeds Oneonta and Hornell awaiting their opponents. From there, the championship will be decided in another best-of-three series.

It was only one year ago the Power were playing in that champion series. This year, they'll be looking back and wondering where a promising start went wrong. That is, in between dodging the raindrops.