UTICA, NY– Baseball is a funny game.
A lead of several runs can evaporate in a matter of seconds with one pitch, one funny hop, one bad throw.
“Baseball is a game where anything can happen, and you need to show up every day,” remarked New Hartford Spartans manager Kevin Green.
In the case of the Utica-Notre Dame Jugglers, it came down to one inning where they didn’t show up.
The New Hartford Spartans relied on sophomore pitcher Dean Langman, and he did not disappoint, pitching a complete game in the Spartans’ 5-3 victory over the Jugglers in Game Two of Saturday’s Stop DWI Baseball Classic at Murnane Field. Senior outfielder Ryan Faro went two-for-three on the day, earning the game’s Most Valuable Player award. Notre Dame senior Jayson Maxwell was awarded the Sportsmanship Award as well.
Despite earning the win, Langman had an inauspicious start to his day, as he started by hitting Notre Dame’s Patrick Fitzgerald with only his third pitch of the game. The misery only continued for Langman with the second batter, as second baseman Jack Burns made a throwing error to put Brian Wojnas on base. In total, the Spartans would put up a number rarely seen in the error column; Overall, they committed five errors.
Finally, freshman Zach Brush would make the sophomore ace pay, as he looped a ball into the outfield to score both Wojnas and Fitzgerald. As quickly as the game began, Langman found himself behind the eight-ball, with 2 runs and an error on the scoreboard.
On the other side, the Jugglers had a sophomore pitcher keeping the Spartans’ bats quiet. Chris Godlewski only faced seven batters in the first two innings, giving up only two hits in that time period.
However, the third inning was where everything changed.
Suddenly, in the span of three outs, not only did New Hartford get to Godlewski, they regained the lead. After a strikeout by Jack Circelli, they would start by battering the sophomore Juggler with four straight hits, capped off by an RBI single by Faro. Cooper Deck and Evan Strassberger would plate runs in the inning as well, and suddenly, the Spartans had cobbled together three unanswered runs and regain the lead.
Meanwhile, on the mound, Langman was baffling the Jugglers at the plate, holding them scoreless for 3 2/3 innings before Wojnas would get Utica-Notre Dame on the board again in the fifth. This time, the senior would hit an RBI single to score Luke Bushey. By that time, however, the damage had been done.
Between runs for the Jugglers, the Spartans (6-3, 2-2 TVL East) scored all six of their runs and Langman pitched lights-out baseball the rest of the way to close the book on Utica-Notre Dame (4-5, 2-3 TVL West). However, the two are not done seeing each other, as on Monday, the Spartans will travel a little bit further down Burrstone Road in Utica to face the Jugglers again, this time on their home turf.
For Juggler head coach Jake DerCola, the reason for their loss was simple.
“[New Hartford] made plays…they came up when they needed to,” DerCola said. “It was a good old-fashioned baseball game.”
In the case of Green, all the thanks went to his sophomore ace and the Spartans’ batting corps, four of which are hitting above .400 for the season.
“We had a fantastic start from Dean,” Green said. “He battled through some jams and kept us in the game. I have a very mature group…they show up every day.”
In this league, you have to show up every day, because anything can happen.
New Hartford Spartans 5, Utica-Notre Dame Jugglers 3
Notre Dame 200 010 0 3 5 0
New Hartford 003 110 X 5 8 5
WP- Dean Langman (CG, 2 strikeouts, 5 hits, 3 ER
LP- Chris Godlewski (5 IP, 1 strikeout, 1 walk, 8 hits, 5 runs, 3 ER, 2 wild pitches)
Extra-base hits: None.
Listen to the Audio Replay here: