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South Lewis stages comeback for Section 3 title


ROME — It’s called perseverance. And the South Lewis baseball team has shown plenty of that and more during a magical season.

On Monday, the Falcons spent five frustrating innings trying to figure out Little Falls right-hander Luke Godlewski. They managed just two hits, struck out 11 times and waved at his sharp-breaking curveball time and again without success.

But during a stunning bottom of the sixth, South Lewis fought back. The Falcons used five big hits, including two-run singles from Shawn Loomis and Jason Martin, and a couple of Little Falls errors to score seven runs and eventually beat the Mounties 7-3 in the Section 3 Class C-1 final at DeLutis Field.

South Lewis (19-2) now plays Class C-2 champion Fabius-Pompey for the overall crown at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse.

But Chad Brown’s team will savor this latest comeback win for a few days.

“I guess you can’t take off on this team during a rain delay,’’ joked Brown, whose club sat through a 1 1/2 hour lightning/rain delay with two outs in the bottom of the third inning with the Falcons trailing 1-0. “To me it all comes down to heart and determination, and this group of kids has a lot of both.’’

Said South Lewis sophomore Jason Martin, who also pitched a complete-game on the mound, “this team certainly doesn’t lack for confidence. But I’d like to see us do this a little sooner next time.’’

The second-seeded Falcons also rallied in the late innings to beat Beaver River in the recent Frontier League “C’’ Division final. But this time, they did it against a Little Falls team (16-6) that had knocked off top seeded Sauquoit Valley in 17 innings in the first round.

Jason Martin, who had managed one of the two hits off Godlewski, led off the sixth with a single. He stole second and took third on a throwing error by the catcher.

With one out, Josh Stoffle worked a walk, and pinch-runner Zach Morris also stole second. Another catcher’s throwing error allowed Martin to score and Morris to take third.

That’s when struggling senior Hunter Chruscicki delivered one of the biggest hits of his varsity career. He lined a 2-1 pitch for a double to right-center, scoring Morris and tying the game.

“Hunter’s really had a tough time this year, but he’s never stopped working,’’ Brown said. “Even though he struck out his first two times up, we still had confidence in him to come through.’’

Dominick Ventura then struck out on a curveball in the dirt. But he reached first when catcher Jason Vespi couldn’t handle the pitch. Cody Capron also walked, loading the bases for Loomis. And the sophomore came through, sending a 1-2 Godlewski curveball up the middle for a two-run single as the Falcons seized the lead for good.

“I was looking curve all the way,’’ said Loomis, who had been 0-for-3. “That’s why I reached out so far over the plate to hit the ball. No matter how tough their pitcher was, we knew we couldn’t give up.’’

Jason Martin also smacked a 3-2 curveball for a single to left that drove in two big insurance runs. Brother Elliott Martin also singled home a run and eventually scored on another error.

“I think we just got used to their pitcher,’’ said Jason Martin. “We’d all seen him three times, so we started to time him a lot better. And when Hunter got that big hit, we just all felt like we could so the same thing.’’

Jason Martin, who had worked out of bases-loaded jams in both the fourth and fifth inning, then allowed a Little Falls run in the top of the seventh after walking the leadoff hitter. But he ended the game strong, striking out Godlewski for the fourth time on a called third strike, his 11th strikeout of the game.

“I just hoped to get the ball over the plate in the seventh,’’ Martin said. “But that was so much fun the way we came back. It’s like we’ve done all year: everybody is doing something to help us win.’’

“We always have that one inning somewhere that’s special,” Brown said. “This win shows you how all of the hard work during the winter and summer has paid off.’’

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