July 29, 2021
The Hornell Dodgers rallied twice on Wednesday night and defeated the Mansfield Destroyers 10-7 to win the NYCBL Western Division Crown. The Dodgers will now head to the NYCBL Championships Series starting on Friday evening.
The Destroyers got going early as they scored two in the 2nd and three more in the 3rd to grab the early 5-0 lead.
Hornell tied the game with a five run 4th inning. Brendan O’Donnell (Rider) and Chris Penna (Rhodes) singled and Matteo Avallone (Alfred State) followed with a walk to load the bases. O’Donnell scored on a wild pitch before Jordyn Smith (Grambling) lifted a sac fly to center to score Penna. Aaron Mann (Drury) reached on a fielding error and Levi Hall (Webster) followed with a single to center. Matt Staker (Webster) cut the lead to one with a RBI single to right and the Dodgers tied it when Ryan Hill (Monroe CC/Mercyhurst) reached on a throwing error. The Dodgers threatened for more but could not take the lead.
The game remained 5-5 until the 7th when the Destroyers’ Michael Cervantes doubled with one out, stole third, and scored on a throwing error. A couple batters later Will Yarbo gave Mansfield a two-run advantage with a RBI double.
Penna drew a one out walk in the bottom of the 7th and came around to score on three wild pitches.
Dom Grady (Wilmington) got three quick groundouts in the 8th and set the table for the Dodgers big 8th inning. Pinch hitter AJ Gonzalez (St. Thomas Aquinas) reached on a fielding error to lead things off. Pinch runner Mitch Daniels (Webster) went to second when Hill was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded when Jack McDonald (Wilmington) drew a walk. O’Donnell tied the game when he drew a four pitch walk that forced Daniels in.
After a pitching change, Hill scored on a wild pitch on the third pitch. Penna took the next pitch and singled to center to score McDonald. After a strikeout, O’Donnell scored on another wild pitch to make it 10-7.
The Destroyers threatened in the 9th as the first two batters drew walks to lead off the inning. Avallone settled down and recorded a three pitch strikeout, induced a fly out to first, and ended the game with a comebacker to the mound.
Scott Borgmann (Calvert Hall, MD/Wilmington) was key to the Dodgers comeback. He came out of the bullpen in the 3rd inning and allowed just one in 3.1 innings of relief. Grady allowed two unearned runs in two innings. He struck out two and was credited with the victory. Avallone picked up the save by recording the final three outs.
Penna and Hall were each 2 for 4 for the Dodgers while Cervantes was 2 for 4 to lead the Destroyers.
With the sweep of the best of three series the Dodgers will take on the Cortland Crush in the 2021 NYCBL Finals. Game one of the best of three series will be played in Cortland at the Gutchess Sports Complex on Friday evening. First pitch is at 6 p.m. Game two of the series will be played at Maple City Park on Saturday starting at 3 p.m. while Game 3 (if necessary) will be played 30 minutes after game two.
Cortland swept the Eastern Division Championships on Wednesday with 4-0 and 12-0 victories over the Syracuse Salt Cats. The Dodgers and the Crush met twice in the regular season with the Dodgers earning victories in both games played in Cortland.
Hornell will be making their first appearance in the NYCBL Championship since the 2017 season. In 2017, the Dodgers defeated the Syracuse Spartans 2 games to 1 to win the league title.