Local baseball clubs improve in diamond play
By Julia Green
Windham 4, Margaretville 9 (Thursday)
“Brian Faulkner pitched a complete game,” said Margaretville Head Coach Rick Funck of Faulkner’s performance at home on Thursday, when the Blue Devils hosted visiting Windham. Faulkner tallied eight strikeouts and allowed only three hits in the game, which Margaretville won, 9-4. “It was his most solid performance of the year so far,” Funck added.
Faulkner commented his efforts on the mound with a solid performance at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a three-run homer at the bottom of the fourth inning. When Faulkner stepped up to the plate, the Blue Devils had a five-run lead; Faulkner’s home run extended the lead to eight.
“That gave us a little breathing room,” Funck said.
Patrick O’Connell was the other multiple hitter, going 2-for-4 at the plate.
The Blue Devils scored the bulk of their runs in the second inning, tallying five hits – all of them singles – with Windham committing a couple of errors to allow four runs to cross the plate.
“It was a pretty critical game,” Funck said. “We’re at a point where we have to win all of our league games to have a chance at the end. Obviously, to have a chance, we have to win out and hope for a little help from some of the other teams in the league.”
Roxbury 10, Stamford 9 (Thursday)
The Roxbury Rockets tallied their first win of the season on Thursday in a road game at Stamford. The Rockets were led at the plate by Jacob Liberatore, who went 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs, and Joey Camillone, who also tallied three hits and three RBIs.
“That was our first win,” said Roxbury Head Coach Greg Funck. “We played well, and I told the kids that if our errors go down and our hits go up every game we’re gonna win one, and that’s what happened. We had only four errors and close to double-digit hits.”
Stamford rallied in the third inning, tallying five runs to close the gap to only two, and added another run in the fourth to bring them within one run; however, the Rockets scored a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to widen their lead to four runs. A rally by Stamford in the bottom of the seventh spelled trouble for the Rockets as they tallied three runs to once again bring them within just one run, but Roxbury was able to hang on for the win.
“Our fundamentals came together, like we’ve been preaching to the kids,” Funck said. “We had limited errors, we didn’t give any free bases, where in prior games we’ve been giving up 15 to 20 bases. We made them put the ball in play and we made the plays we were supposed to make.”
Kyle Ciaravino earned the win on the mound for Roxbury and complemented his pitching efforts with a strong showing at bat with three hits. David Clark was credited with the save for Roxbury after he entered the game in the fifth.
“Kyle pitched a strong five innings,” Funck said. “He did a nice job, with just one walk in five innings. He threw strikes. I’ve been stressing to our pitchers ‘pitch to contact,’ and what a difference it’s made the last few games.”
Funck added that the win was as important for the Rockets’ morale as it was for the team’s record.
“The smiles were from ear to ear on them,” he said. “The kids know they can do it. We’re a young squad, and we finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together at once and pulled out the W.”
Margaretville 3, Livingston Manor 10 (Saturday)
Despite losing to host Livingston Manor 10-3, Margaretville Head Coach Rick Funck was able to see the positives in his team’s performance on Saturday.
“We struck out very few times,” he said. “I was so encouraged with that game by the number of guys putting the ball in play. We out-hit them 8-7, but they were the fastest team I’ve seen yet this year – guys one through nine, if they got on first base they were almost guaranteed to be on second base within the next two pitches.”
The Blue Devils managed to halt Livingston Manor in the base path just once, when pitcher Guy Nobile picked a runner off at first base.
Speed in base running wasn’t the only challenged posed to the Blue Devils; Funck said that a steady wind presented its own set of challenges to the Margaretville outfield.
“Some balls hit to the outfield, off the bat I thought they were going to be caught, but three fly balls I thought we should have caught we didn’t – a couple in the third inning – so in conjunction with that tricky wind, it was the third inning that really hurt us the most.”
Livingston Manor tallied five runs in the third to take a 6-1 lead over Margaretville.
Three Blue Devils pitched on Saturday, including Nobile, Ian Williams and Cody Fronckowiak.
“It was good to get some of those guys who aren’t my regular starting pitchers some experience,” Funck said.
At the plate for the Blue Devils, Brian Faulkner went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Nobile went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles.
“I’m very pleased with the way we’re putting the ball in play,” Funck said. “If we can win our last three games we’ll be 6-3 in the league, and then it’s a matter of what the other teams do. We only have control over what we can do.”
The Blue Devils were scheduled to play Gilboa yesterday; no score was available at press time. After Saturday, they were 3-3 in the league and 4-5 overall.
“The game on Saturday was so encouraging to me,” Funck said. “In coaching you realize that you win your games by your offense and you really hope you win your championships through your defense. We got a lot of strikeouts in our games and to go there and only strike out three times by a pretty decent pitcher was pretty encouraging.
“We did make three errors in the game, and that’s obviously a problem,” he added.
Milford 8, Roxbury 7 (Saturday)
It was down to the wire in Roxbury’s game at Milford on Saturday. The Rockets went into the bottom of the final inning tied with host Milford, 7-7, but a hard hit by Milford’s pitcher allowed the winning run to cross the plate and extinguish Roxbury’s hopes of a second straight win.”
“That was a tough one,” said Roxbury Head Coach Greg Funck. “We were ahead the whole game, pretty much, and then in that seventh inning I think we had four walks and they capitalized on it. We gave them a couple of bases and they had some base hits and they pulled it off in the seventh.”
Things were looking promising for the Rockets in the sixth, when Jacob Liberatore nailed a three-run triple to give Roxbury a two-run lead, but two runs by Milford in the bottom of the sixth tied it up and the Rockets were unable to drive in any runs in the top of the seventh.
“We played excellent,” Funck said. “We hit the ball well, we made some plays, we just had one bad inning. All they needed was that one run.”
Milford loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, and a hard hit to second base against a drawn-in infield drove in the winning run.
“It was a well-played game,” Funck said. “It was evenly matched, and it’s always good playing a team of your caliber – it was a good game on both sides. I had a strong five innings from Owen Sanford – he pitched a heck of a game. He threw strikes, he made them put the ball in play, and we made the plays we were supposed to make. He kept us in the game. That last inning just got away from us.”
The Rockets’ offense was led by Jefferson Piasek, who tallied three hits for Roxbury.
Roxbury 0, Jefferson 11 (Monday)
“We just got outplayed,” said Roxbury Head Coach Greg Funck of his team’s game against Jefferson on Monday. The Rockets dropped a tough 11-0 game to the J-Hawks, who were led by pitcher Tyler Dibble. Dibble gave up only one hit.
“We broke up the one-hitter in the fifth,” Funck said. “Jeff Piasek led off with a single and that was our only hit of the game.”
Ten of Jefferson’s 11 runs were scored in the first three innings, and while the Rockets failed to get on the scoreboard, it wasn’t for a lack of contact at the plate.
“We put a few balls in play,” Funck said, “but they made every play. I think they only committed one error the whole game. They’re just a solid team – they could hit the ball one through nine, they could pitch, they have a great catcher – there are no flaws in their team, that’s for sure.”
The Rockets were led by David Clark on the mound; Clark pitched three innings and gave up only one walk.
“He did well,” Funck said. “He only had one walk, and that’s the positive thing from the last few games: our walks have gone down tremendously. A few weeks ago we gave 20-something free bases. But we just got outplayed – we committed six errors but only had one hit, and you’re not going to score many runs with one hit.”
Roxbury faces a tough upcoming schedule, including games with Hunter-Tannersville, Davenport and South Kortright.
“We’re improving,” Funck said of his team. “Every game we’ve improved, and we haven’t fallen backwards yet. Game one was pretty ugly and game two was pretty ugly, but we’ve improved. We’re hitting the ball much better, and there are a lot of positives. I’m really excited about this young squad; we’re going to be competitive in any game now.”