UTICA — After rapping out 49 hits in their first four games in the New York State American Legion Baseball Tournament, the Clinton County Mariners’ bats went cold Sunday afternoon at Murnane Field.
So cold that West Seneca Post #735 pitcher Matt Keating tossed a perfect game in his team’s 6-0 victory over the Mariners (28-10) in the finals of the double-elimination event.
Keating finished with six strikeouts, while inducing nine ground-outs and six fly balls to retire everyone he faced.
The closest the Mariners came to getting hits were line-drive outs to the outfield by Jack Tolosky and Robby Knowles in the fourth inning.
“I read once that 90 percent of winning baseball is pitching and defense,” said Mariners’ coach Matt Tolosky. “That certainly rang true today.
“We did hit the ball — their pitcher had only six strikeouts. But we couldn’t afford to get behind him in the count because he wasn’t going to walk anyone. After the first couple of innings, we were aggressive and swung at a lot of first-pitch fastballs.”
Conor Casey started and took the pitching loss for Clinton County, which finished with a 3-2 mark in the tournament. Knowles went 5.1 innings in relief and allowed two runs, with one being earned.
“It was disappointing that we couldn’t get any runs to support our pitchers,” said Tolosky. “Especially with how well we hit the ball earlier in the tournament.
“The ball didn’t bounce our way today. Everything we hit seemed to go right at them. At no point were we able get any momentum.”
Liam Kelly gave West Seneca the lead with a two-run single in the first inning. William Sulkowski added a RBI single in the second for a 3-0 lead.
Matthew Sokolski tripled in a run in the third before Kelly added a run-scoring double in the in the fifth, with another runner crossing the plate on the only error in the game for a 6-0 West Seneca lead.