The baseball team clinched its second consecutive Empire 8 title Saturday, beating St. John Fisher twice in a doubleheader. But for the Bombers, the championship was almost an afterthought.
Senior Corey Caswell said at this point, the team has its mind set on the playoffs, and the Empire 8 Championship is just another step in the road.
“Back to back Empire 8 Championships, as a senior, it’s great to go out on top,” Caswell said. “Honestly though, clinching the Empire 8 doesn’t do it for us. Basically we’re not thinking about Empire 8’s, we are thinking about a National Championship right now.”
Caswell said the two wins the Bombers picked up were more important than the championship. Thanks to timely hitting, the Bombers swept the Cardinals 4-3 and 6-4 at Freeman Field.
Coming off of a loss to the University of Rochester on Tuesday that snapped the Blue and Gold’s 18-game win streak, Caswell said the wins allowed the team to regain its confidence.
“We knew that we had some mental mistakes after Tuesday, but we basically knew that even though we lost one game, we can still bounce back, and we did today,” Caswell said.
St. John Fisher struck first when catcher Nick Flemister crushed a home run in the second inning to put the Cardinals on the scoreboard.
Fisher extended its lead with another run in the fourth inning, but the Bombers put a run across in their half of the fourth, and Ithaca tied the game in the fifth inning when a junior Tim Locastro sacrifice fly scored sophomore Christian Brown.
The game remained knotted until the ninth inning when Max Addy hit a walk-off single to score Brown from third base.
Hitting Coach Frank Fazio said the timeliness of the teams’ hits was more valuable than the amount. The Bombers had an uncharacteristically low eight hits.
“We really aren’t hitting the ball the way we were earlier in the year, but we are getting big hits, which is what is important,” Fazio said.
Senior Pat Lemmo (6–0) put together another solid pitching performance, pitching all nine innings and allowing three runs on seven hits.
The second game also featured only eight hits from the Blue and Gold’s offense, but the hits came at even better times for the team, which scored six runs instead of four.
The story of the second game came out of the bullpen. In the fourth inning, junior David Jasukonis took over for Jimmy Wagner, and pitched his way out of the inning by forcing a double play.
Jasukonis went on to finish the game without allowing a St. John Fisher run. He said though he pitched more than he usually does, he adjusted and was successful.
“Recently, I’ve only been coming in an inning at a time so it was kind of hard to get into a groove. I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes,” Jasukonis said.
Fazio said the wins were especially big for the Bombers after the loss to Rochester earlier in the week.
“We needed two big wins after losing … on Tuesday,” Fazio said. “These wins give the players a lot of confidence because it shows that we can beat a good team.”