Rome – After last year’s playoff successes, all of the pieces seemed to be falling into place for another state playoff appearance for Sauquoit Valley(18-3). Bolstered by outstanding newcomers to the top of their pitching rotation, the defending champions overcame last year’s graduation losses to win a league title, claim the second seed in the Section III Class C playoffs, and set their sights on a second straight title.
Will Magovney and the third-seeded Watertown IHC Cavaliers shared similar aspirations, and in the sweltering heat of a Saturday afternoon semifinal at Delutis Field, the Cavs kept their cool to advance. Magovney fired a gem, delivering six innings of shutout baseball in a complete game performance, and the Cavalier offense unloaded for nine runs to salt the game away as they took down the defending champions by a 9-3 score.
Magovney, and Sauquoit counterpart Kody Taylor exhibited signs of success early. Taylor overcame a two out single from Josh Navarra to retire the Cavalier first, and Magovney made his first appearance on the hill an efficient one, getting the top of the Sauquoit order to ground out in a 1-2-3 inning.
Their outings took vastly different paths from there. Magovney kept right on moving, plowing through another perfect inning in the second. Taylor began to struggle in the top half of the inning, giving up a pair of singles to start off the inning, and Nic Clement brought both runners home with a double. Moments later, Clement, who reached third on the throw, was brought home on a balk to give the Cavs a 3-0 lead.
After giving up another single, Taylor made an absolutely brilliant play to help his cause. The right hander dove forward to catch a softly hit ball off the bat of Mike Laverty, then recovered to get the throw off and retire Silas Baker on the 1-3 double play. Taylor induced a flyout by leadoff man Jake Fusili to contain the damage.
However, the state of affairs was anything but settled when the Cavs came back to bat. Vincenzo Alteri and Navarra each singled, and Magovney was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Trent Mitchell assisted in bringing home Alteri and Navarra on a dropped fly ball in left field and Magovney scored on Nolan Bellinger’s sacrifice fly to put IHC ahead 6-0, and prompt Sauquoit Valley head coach Frank Curriere to make a change on the mound shortly thereafter.
Luke Price came out of left field to pitch for the Indians, but Sauquoit wasn’t out of the woods just yet. Silas Baker drove in an additional run to stretch the lead to seven before the side was retired.
The bottom halves of the third and fourth innings brought with them encouraging signs that Sauquoit would get back on track offensively, as they placed a pair of baserunners in each. Derek Prichard and Tyler Scott each reached on singles in the third, only to see Magovney induce a flyout from Freeman to end the threat. The fourth inning saw a similar result, as Ryan Overrocker and Price were stranded following another two run outburst from the Cavs, giving IHC a 9-0 lead through four.
The Indians kept the Cavs off the board from there, but getting on the board themselves would have to wait until the seventh, when as always, a feisty Sauquoit team did not go down without some resistance. Luke Price started the promising rally with a walk, with the shutout broken moments later on Prichard’s RBI double. Kody Taylor then connected on a two bagger of his own to drive in Prichard, and later crossed the dish on Tyler Scott’s fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to 9-3.
That’s as close as Sauquoit would get. Magovney refocused to set down Freeman and Overrocker in succession, and Watertown IHC walked away with a largely comfortable 9-3 win.
Magovney picked up the win with his complete game effort for IHC, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out just three. Taylor was handed the loss after getting charged with seven Cavalier runs. Price and Griffith combined in relief, with Griffith throwing a scoreless seventh.
The Cavalier attack was paced by Josh Navarra, who delivered a 4-for-4 afternoon with a pair of runs scored. Trent Mitchell did not fail to reach base in his four appearances, and also came around to score twice. Derek Prichard had two hits for Sauquoit Valley, who bows out at 18-3.
Watertown IHC advances to play the winner of Notre Dame and Pulaski in the Section III final Monday at Onondaga Community College.
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