The first win of the year came in dramatic fashion for the Tompkins Cortland Community College baseball team as the Panthers rallied with six runs in the 8th inning to beat Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville 7-6 Sunday. The win leaves the Panthers with a record of 1-2 after the season opening weekend trip to Maryland. Catonsville, a Division II team, is now 6-8 on the season.
Tompkins Cortland 7, CCBC-Catonsville 6
While the offense struggled early, pitcher Ridge Walker (Moravia/Moravia H.S.) kept the game close with a solid start on the mound. The sophomore faced just ten batters over the first three innings, keeping the game scoreless into the fourth inning. In the fourth, the Cardinals broke through with a pair of runs, but the Panthers responded in the fifth when David Crow (Newark Valley/Newark Valley H.S.) manufactured a run by reaching on a hit, stealing second, and coming in to score on an error. Catonsville answered to push the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth and then extended the margin to 6-1 in the seventh.
Needing a rally, the Panthers delivered. Storm Grant (Homer/Homer H.S.) singled to open the inning, and after a walk, Johnny Wike (Syracuse/Bishop Grimes H.S.) singled to load the bases. Austin Kulas (Moravia/Moravia H.S.) worked a walk to score a run and Chris Micucci (Auburn/Auburn H.S.) followed with a single to score two more, bringing the Panthers within two runs at 6-4. Back at the top of the order, Crow made it six straight Panthers to reach base safely, finding his way on via a fielding error that allowed a run to score and pull the Panthers within one. Groundouts by Charlie Hammel (Rochester/Rush-Henrietta H.S.) and Alex Babcock (Cortland/Cortland H.S.) each produced a run, giving Tompkins Cortland a 7-6 lead. The beneficiary of the rally was Jake Woods (Cortland/Cortland H.S.), who allowed just one unearned run while pitching four innings in relief. Evan Plante (Albany/Christian Brothers Academy) came in with two outs and the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth, throwing just three pitches to strike out the Catonsville hitter and earn the save.
Micucci went 2-for-5 with two RBI and Crow finished the game 2-for-5 with one RBI and a stolen base. Wike also went 2-for-5 while Garret Hunter (Virginia Beach, Va./Cox H.S.) went 2-for-4 with a double. Kulas also collected two hits for the winners.
With the first win in the books, the Panthers return to New York and look to travel to Long Island next weekend for more non-region games over Spring Break.