Plainedge errors lead to loss in state semifinal

Plainedge lost to Cornwall, 11-6, in the Class

Plainedge lost to Cornwall, 11-6, in the Class A baseball semifinal. (June 9, 2012) (Credit: Chuck Haupt)

ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- One of the keys for Plainedge in its run to the state semifinals was crisp defense. Plainedge was the 16th seed in the Nassau playoffs but had played more like a top seed.

That's what made Saturday's performance so shocking. Plainedge uncharacteristically made nine errors, including eight in the first two innings, and a great postseason run came to an end in an 11-6 loss to Cornwall in a state Class A baseball semifinal at Union-Endicott High School.

"It's tough when you make eight errors in the first two innings," shortstop Ralph Caccavale said. "We came in flat. We didn't make the plays. There's not much more you can do when you make that many errors. It's just one of those days. Today was not the right day for it to happen."

Plainedge coach Tom Pisani said: "Those first two innings set the tone for the game. We had a hard time digging out of it. I was very surprised. That was very uncharacteristic of us. We needed two innings to settle in and unfortunately when you give up nine runs in the first two it's tough to come back."

Cornwall's Conor Kwalwasser led off the game with a double and Dillon Merola reached on an infield single. Jimmy Patterson hit a two-run double followed by three consecutive errors by Plainedge (19-12), and Cornwall led 5-0 after one-half inning.

Plainedge scored two runs in the bottom of the first without getting a hit. Mike Miller hit a sacrifice fly and Joe Hauer scored on a wild pitch.

The nightmare continued for Plainedge in the second inning. The Red Devils made five more errors, including three on one play leading to four unearned runs and Cornell (20-5) took a 9-2 lead. Only three of the nine were earned.

"It definitely deflated us," rightfielder Tyler Manez said. "Most of the runs were unearned. This was probably our worst game of the season."

Manez, the Red Devils' ace who pitched 11 innings on Tuesday in a 3-1 win over Shoreham-Wading River, did not pitch Saturday. Manez was drafted in the 32nd round by the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

"He was only going to pitch if we had a chance to win a game at the end," Pisani said. "On three days' rest, we didn't feel it was something we should do."

Plainedge scored three runs in the second, highlighted by a two-run single by Hauer to slice the deficit to 9-5. The Red Devils added a run in the third, but had two runners thrown out on the basepaths to cut a rally short. They had two baserunners the rest of the game and no hits.

"We could have had everything going right there," catcher Cody Golub said. "We could have tied it up. I think that was the turning point of the game."

Anthony Pensato pitched the final five innings for Plainedge and allowed four hits, two earned runs, one walk and struck out two.

"If you get beat, you get beat," Pisani said. "When you come out and beat yourselves for a couple of innings it's a little tougher to swallow. It's more regret and what-ifs."

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