MASSENA - The Potsdam Central varsity baseball team built an early lead against Massena Central on Thursday and senior lefty Ben Miller helped make sure it held up for the win as the Sandstoners outlasted the Raiders 2-1 in a mid-season matchup of NAC Central Division unbeatens.
No doubt, this is a big win. Massena got the bat on the ball better than any other team weve faced so far. That led to us making some errors but fortunately Ben was able to hold us together with a great effort on the mound, said coach Chris Donah after his squad improved to 6-0 in taking over sole possession of the Central Division lead while sinking Massena to its first loss in five tries.
Miller allowed struckout eight and walked just one while working his way around eight hits and four errors in winning a pitchers duel against junior righty Jacob Vierno, who settled down to shut the Sandstoners out through the last five innings after seeing the lead-off batters reach base and come around to score in the first two innings. Vierno also notched eight strikeouts and walked just one while giving up six hits.
When you watch the Miller kid pitch, youre seeing a true pitching artist. Hes got great control. He knows how to change speeds and does a great job with location, noted coach Greg Paquin. I thought we were a little timid at the plate early on in the game but our bats started to come around toward the end.
And once again, I cant say enough positive things about Jake Vierno, he added. Hes been a very pleasant surprise for us. Potsdam got the early runs but he did a good job of keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win.
The Sandstoners quickly went to work on offense as Trevor Keleher led-off the game by reaching on an error. He stole second then scored in front of a two-out double by Miller.
Nate Gingrinch opened the second inning with a single then scored two batters later in front of a single by Connor Prosper.
The Raiders threatened to break through when they advanced a pair of baserunners in the fourth fifth and sixth innings but were unable to solve Miller until the bottom of the seventh where Isaac Ward drilled a lead-off double down the leftfield line for his third hit of the game. Two batters later, Tyler Haas his a sharp groundball for an infield single that allowed Ward time enough to score from thirdbase. Todd Manning followed with another single but Miller settled down to strikeout the next Massena batter and preserve the win.
Connecting for the other Potsdam hits, both singles, were Will Coleman and Morgan Sutliff.
Jeremiah Reagan had a double in the losing effort while Cameron Marsh and Bailey Hewlett singled to account for the other Massena hits.
The Sandstoners (6-1 overall) are slated to host a double-header against Canton Central on Monday starting at 4 p.m. while the Raiders (5-1) head to Gouverneur on Saturday for an 11 a.m. matchup with the Wildcats.
In the lone other Central Division baseball action on Thursday, OFA swept a twinbill from visiting Salmon River by scores of 14-4 and 8-3.
Jon Tayler stroked three singles and drove in five runs and Peyton Lalone also singled three times to lead the offensive support of winning pitcher Jordan Miller who struck out seven in five innings. Zach Barr closed out the sixth inning.
Jordan Wood rapped two singles and a double for Salmon River and Justin Bigness and Zach Smith both singled twice.
John Rogers delivered a three-run double in a four-run top of the sixth inning as the Devils pulled away. Sebastain Quintilliani struck out nine batters in the five innings and Seth Pinkerton closed by striking out the side the bottom of the sixth.
Justin Bigness lined three hits for Salmon River, Jordan Wood rapped two doubles and a single to complete a six-hit day and Zach Smith singled and tossed a complete game.