Utica – The RFA Black Knights and their well traveled faithful thought they had it. The Black Knights had just erased a 3-1 deficit on a dramatic bases loaded, 3 RBI double off the bat of designated hitter Matthew Wheadon, with two outs in the top of the 7th inning and were 3 outs away from the 2016 Section III Class “AA” baseball semifinals.
That’s why every pitch counts, that’s why every out counts. With two out and two on, Vincenzo Castronovo ripped a ball to the deepest part of the center field canyon and Murnane Field, scoring Nick Abraham and Brent Jones, to give the Proctor Raiders an amazing come from behind (twice) win over Rome Free Academy, by a score of 5-4.
The beginning certainly wasn’t as sweet for the Raiders as the ending was. RFA drew first blood in the top of the second inning when Colin Shunk drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a past ball and later scored on a single off the bat of Matthew Wheadon, giving Rome a 1-0 lead.
Still trailing 1-0 in the home half of the 4th inning, the Raiders got things rolling. Myles Felton led things off with a double and went to third on a single by Nick LaBella. After RFA hurler got Mike Cough looking at strike 3 for the 1st out of the inning, Nick Abraham stepped in and pushed a double down the right field line, scoring three for the home team and giving the Raiders a 3-1 lead, which would last all the way to the 7th.
The RFA half of the seventh saw Derrick Miller smack a one out single, followed by a two out line drive to left field by Ryan Samuels, which was dropped by Raiders left fielder Ben Killian, pushing runners to first and third with two away. A walk by a tiring Proctor pitcher Brent Jones to RFA’s Tyler Schoff loaded the bases with Romans for Matthew Weadon and the big fella didn’t disappoint. Wheadon worked the count to 3-2 and then laced and opposite field single to right field, out of the reach of a diving Myles Felton, scoring all three Black Knights and giving the visitors an unbelievable 4-3 lead.
The one run RFA lead evaporated in the 7th, when Nick Abraham reached on an infield error and was bunted over by Killian. A walk to Brent Jones and a fielder’s choice ground out by Vito Castronovo set the stage for Vincenzo Castronovo, who did the rest, in dramatic fashion.
Vincenzo Castronovo led the Proctor offense, going 2 for 4, with 2 RBI. Rome was led at the plate by Matthew Wheadon and Derrick Miller who went 3 for 3 and 2 for 3 respectively.
Pat Histed picked up the win on the mound, working just 1/3 of an inning, relieving Brent Jones, who worked 6 2/3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and srtiking out 5.
Tyler Schoff suffered the heart breaking loss on the mound for RFA, despite an outstanding effort.
3rd seeded Proctor (15-6) moves on to face 2nd seeded Cicero North Syracuse on Sunday at 1 PM at OCC. RFA ends its season at (13-8)