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Curtis’s walkoff sends Bombers to next round of playoffs

Senior+left+fielder+Louis+Fabbo+follows+through+with+his+swing.+In+the+first+game%2C+Fabbo+reached+221+career+hits%2C+securing+the+top+spot+in+Bombers+baseball+history+for+most+hits+in+a+career.
Maddy Tanzman
Senior left fielder Louis Fabbo follows through with his swing. In the first game, Fabbo reached 221 career hits, securing the top spot in Bombers’ baseball history for most hits in a career.

The Ithaca College baseball team took on the Vassar College Brewers in the first two games of the Liberty League Crossover Series on May 3. However, with the Bombers’ bats catching fire, there will be no need for a third game, as the South Hill squad won the first game 11–1 and the second game 9–5 with the help of some late-game heroics.

First game:

After a run in the first inning, the Bombers were able to manufacture two more runs in the third inning. The squad received RBI’s from sophomore second baseman Matt Curtis and senior third baseman Ethan Rothstein to lead 3–0.

Senior designated hitter Ethan McDonough slides home while Rothstein heads to first base. (Maddy Tanzman)

In the fourth inning, Bombers’ fans were able to witness history. With one out and senior right fielder Colin Shashaty on third base, senior left fielder Louis Fabbo stepped to the plate. At this point in the game Fabbo was sitting at 220 career hits, tied with Vince Roman ’90 for No. 1 in Bombers’ baseball history. With first-year left-handed pitcher Will Darrell on the mound for the Brewers, Fabbo was able to lift a pitch to center field where it fell in for a hit. Shashaty scored and the game stopped briefly for Fabbo to wave to the crowd and soak in the ovation.

On the other side of the field, the Bombers were led by their ace, junior right-handed pitcher Colin Leyner. Leyner threw six innings, only allowing one run courtesy of a home run from Brewers junior catcher Marc Milano in the sixth inning.

Leyner said that he feels like he did a good job keeping hitters off balance, but that he could not have done it without his defense and offense doing their part.

“Just looking to fill up the zone, mix all my pitches, try to keep them off balance,” Leyner said. “I did my job and the guys picked me up.”

Leyner said that regardless if the hitter gets a hit, he has trust in himself and can remain confident and composed on the mound.

“I just trust my stuff, sometimes I make a bad pitch, they get a good swing, just kind of wash it, go after the next guy and do my thing,” Leyner said.

The Bombers put a whopping six runs on the board in the sixth. This included RBIs from junior catcher Tyler Pugliese, junior shortstop Riley Brawdy, Shashaty and junior center fielder Collin Feeney. Finally, with two outs first-year first baseman Camden Laney delivered the final blow, knocking Shashaty in with a base hit up the middle to give the Bombers a ten-run lead.

After a scoreless seventh inning pitched by Bombers’ senior left-handed pitcher Sean Kelly, the game was called early and the Bombers were victorious.

Second game:

After a disastrous start to the afternoon, the Brewers looked to bounce back early and did just that.

At the top of the first, Brewers’ senior third baseman Jack Silvera hit a sacrifice fly to left, to score a run and give the Brewers a 1–0 lead. Bombers’ first-year right-handed pitcher Jack Picozzi was then able to settle down and get out of the inning without allowing any more damage.

In the fourth, Picozzi let up a lead off single to left by junior designated hitter Michael Lee. Picozzi was then relieved by senior right-handed pitcher John Griffin. It unfortunately took Griffin a little to settle in, as he allowed two runs to score, including a single to left center by Silvera to give the Brewers a 4–0 lead.

Up until this point, Brewer’s starter, sophomore right-handed pitcher Addison Lee, was pitching a gem. However, he hung a breaking ball to Curtis to start the fifth, as Curtis hit a ground rule double to left-center field to get the offense going for the Bombers.

Curtis was driven in by Brawdy’s fielder’s choice and the Bombers were on the board. However, the Bombers would not be able to grasp the momentum until the bottom of the seventh.

The inning started with some luck, as Rothstein was able to reach on a dropped third strike. Next, junior shortstop Finn Kaplin-Moore missed an easy ground ball. These mistakes from the Brewers gave the Bombers new life.

After an RBI single by Shashaty and a sacrifice fly from Feeney, the Brewers remained sloppy. The following batter, Fabbo, hit a grounder to third. However, Silva airmailed the throw to first, and Shashaty was able to hustle all the way around the bases to score. The Bombers now trailed 5–4 after seven innings of play.

In the eighth, Feeney stepped back up to the plate and was once again able to deliver. He hit a chopper between the first and second baseman to bring in Rothstein and tie the game at five going into the final inning.

The ninth inning found the Bombers in position to send the Brewers home with three runners on base. Curtis stepped up to the plate ready to be the hero.

With a 2–1 count, junior right-handed pitcher Luke Barrientos lofted one right down the middle. Curtis connected and the ball was sent into orbit and the Brewers watched their season end as the ball sailed over the left field fence for a grand slam homerun.

Curtis said he was just trying to get a hit and not do too much at the plate.

“I really just tried to do a job and I got a pitch I liked and turned on it,” Curtis said. “That felt good.”

The Bombers celebrated and soaked Curtis with water as he crossed the plate.

Curtis said if the team can do the basics they can beat anybody.

”As long as we can field the ball, hit, do what we know we can do, I think we have a really good shot,” Curtis said.

With the 9–5 win, the Bombers record goes to 28–9 for the year. Curtis and the rest of the Bombers are ready to refocus and play in the Liberty League Championship Series through May 9–11.

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Maddy Tanzman
Maddy Tanzman, Photo Editor
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