The Panthers traveled to Niagara Falls Sunday to take on one of the top teams in the nation in Niagara County Community College. After dropping the opener 13-2, the Panthers were in the nightcap until the late innings of the nightcap, losing 9-3 to the #6-ranked Thunderwolves. Tompkins Cortland is now 6-8 overall and 2-2 in West Division. Niagara is 18-4 overall and 6-0 in West Division.
Niagara 13, Tompkins Cortland 2 (5 innings)
In game one, Niagara showed why they are the defending Region III champions and one of the top teams in the nation. The Thunderwolves scored during each of their four at bats in a game that ended up being shortened to five inning. The Panthers trailed 10-0 before scoring twice in the fourth inning, but Niagara responded with three in the bottom of the inning to push the margin back to 11 runs. When the Panthers couldn't answer in the fifth, the game was over due to the ten-run rule.
Brandon Grant (Homer/Homer H.S.) had two of the Panthers' five hits in game one, going 2-for-3 with a double.
Niagara 9, Tompkins Cortland 3
Shane Cuevas (Montgomery/Valley H.S.) led off game two with a single, stole second, and came around to score on a double by Joseph Tummino (Homer/Homer H.S.) to put Tompkins Cortland ahead 1-0. The lead didn't last long, as Niagara scored four times in the bottom of the first, but the Panthers didn't give up. In the second inning, Daniel Santiago (Newburgh/Newburgh Free Academy) opened with a single, and two outs later, came around to score on a single by Isaiah Reyes (Tonawanda/Kenmore Eat H.S.). The Thunderwolves matched the run in the bottom of the second to make it 5-2, but that was the end of the scoring for a few innings. While the Panthers hitters were being held in check, pitcher Peter Miller (Fayetteville/Fayetteville-Manlius H.S.) settled in and kept the high-powered Thunderwolves offense off the board over the next three innings, keeping the game in reach at 5-2 before leaving the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. In the sixth Niagara broke through with four runs, and despite a run by Austin Kulas (Moravia/Moravia H.S.) in the seventh, the Panthers went down to defeat, 9-3.
Kulas and Santiago each went 2-for-3 in game two. Miller took the loss on the mound, despite pitching well after some early struggles.
The Panthers return home to host SUNY Broome Tuesday for a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.