Panthers Battle Back, But Come Up Just Short

Daniel Santiago
Daniel Santiago

Trailing 7-0 midway through Sunday's game, the Panthers rallied, pulling within one run two different times before running out of time in a 14-13 loss to Middlesex County College (N.J.). Tompkins Cortland Community College is now 2-5 while Middlesex is 7-1.

Middlesex 14, Tompkins Cortland 13

The nine-inning game was played at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, with Tompkins Cortland playing as the home team. Middlesex wasted no time in taking the lead. The first two batters of the game walked, followed by a home run to give the Blue Colts the 3-0 lead. While the Panthers got off to a slow start, Middlesex added single runs in the top of the second, third, fourth, and fifth to lead 7-0. In the bottom of the fifth, the Panthers finally put things together. After putting at least one runner on in each of the first four innings, Tompkins Cortland opened the bottom of the frame with seven consecutive singles. By the time the inning ended, the Panthers had plated four runs and made the score 7-4. After Middlesex added three runs in the top of the sixth, the Panthers again responded.

Two walks to open the inning were followed by four straight singles, the last one by Austin Kulas (Moravia/Moravia H.S.) producing three runs and making it a one-run game at 10-9 at the end of six innings. The Blue Colts made it 11-9 with a run in the seventh and 13-9 with two runs in the eighth before the Panthers plated a single run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 13-10. Middlesex tacked on a run in the top of the ninth, sending the game to the bottom of the ninth with the Panthers down 14-10.

The last chance for the Panthers stated with a strikeout, walk, and strikeout, dropping the team to its final out. A double by Joseph Tummino (Homer/Homer H.S.) kept the inning alive, and when Brandon Grant (Homer/Homer H.S.) followed with a triple, the Panthers were within two runs at 14-12. Next up was Kulas, came through with a double to score Grant and put the tying run in scoring position. Unfortunately Kulas was stranded at second as the rally ended, giving the Blue Colts the 14-13 win.

Kulas had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-6 with two doubles and five RBI. Grant and Tummino both also were 4-for-6 at the dish, with Grant driving in three runs and Tummino knocking in two. Alex Babcock (Cortland/Cortland H.S.) and Daniel Santiago (Newburgh/Newburgh Academy) both had a pair of hits and leadoff hitter Shane Cuevas (Montgomery/Valley H.S.) was on base five times, including tying a school record by drawing five walks.

Looking ahead

The Panthers return to Dryden to continue preparations for Region III West Division play.