WNY Athletics

Legends Use Big Fifth Inning to Knock Off Undefeated Clarence

The Lancaster Legends found themselves in a similar position after the first inning of their April 9 tilt with Clarence: up 2-0. Fortunately, after blowing that same two-run lead to the Red Devils in a 9-3 loss the previous day, history did not repeat itself.

The Legends used a fifth inning comeback to hand Clarence its first loss of the season, securing a 6-5 victory on the road in ECIC I league action to split the season series at one apiece.

After Lancaster (1-2, 1-1) jumped out to a swift 3-0 lead in the second inning thanks in part to a John Syracuse sacrifice fly and Phil Polakiewicz RBI single, Clarence answered.

The Red Devil bats caught fire, as they put up five unanswered runs after a Jack Putney 2-RBI double gave them a 5-3 advantage entering the fifth inning.

But the Legends were not about to let this one slip away too.

“We gave up a couple, but we didn’t lull and we didn’t fall asleep. [I said] let’s go right after them, and the kids did,” said Lancaster coach Mark Dalfonso. “To come back after how we played yesterday and play how we did today, it was a great feeling and the kids are pretty high on themselves right now.”

Helping to spark the comeback was a Nick Castellana (3-for-4 with two runs) double, as the Legends were set up with men on second and third base with no outs.

Vinny Stutz (2-for-4) proceeded to knock in a run to make it 5-4, and after a fielder’s choice knotted things at five, Syracuse came up big with the eventual game-winning RBI single.

“Last night we took one off the chin but we knew we were going to bounce back today,” said Syracuse. “We know how solid of a team we are and we know how deep we are.”

Jakob Jerebko picked up his first win of the season for Lancaster on the mound, tossing five strong innings while Nick Barberio secured the six out save.

Clarence (5-1, 3-1) did threaten down the stretch. In the bottom of the seventh, Ryan Culhane doubled into left field with one out, but he was left stranded as Barberio struck out Ben Jennings to end the contest.

“In the fifth inning, we walked their number nine guy, and you just can’t do that against a team that’s good,” said Clarence coach Dave Smith. “This won’t be our last loss. We like to keep it nice and steady: don’t get too high when you win, don’t get too low when you lose.”




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