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Justin Pupa has already done the most important part of his job: keeping his club in the game. But he just couldn’t quite finish it off.
The Brooklyn Bonnies rallied from a four-run deficit to take a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the fifth, which was going to be the game’s last inning because of darkness. The HBQVB Orioles didn’t go quietly, getting the first two men on with a walk and a single. Pupa, who came on in relief in the third inning, got the next two outs, but walked Holy Cross’ George Kuhle to load the bases. The game was suspended immediately after with Mike Nardozi, who had already driven in three runs coming to the plate.
“I knew it was the last inning no matter what,” the Xavier pitcher said. “I was just trying to get the ball over. Early in the inning I was able to and then the last batter, the ball was slipping out of my hand. I couldn’t get a grip on it.”
The Mike Becker Division semifinal game will resume Sunday prior to the Long Island Baseball Association final at 12 p.m. The games will be held at the Parade Grounds if the Sayo Grays beat the Long Island Storm in their semifinal final. If the Storm win the contest, it will take place at SUNY Farmingdale. The winner moves on to the championship.
Pupa said he wanted to finish the inning, but Bonnies coach Herbert Cruz likes the idea of making it up because he will have his pitching ready. He said he gave the team a week off after its last tournament, the AABC Regionals in South Troy, N.Y. The team had been playing nearly every day for the last three weeks prior to the rest.
“We haven’t pitched after we came back,” Cruz said.
The rust from the layoff showed in starter Louis Rios of FDR as he struggled with his command early. He allowed four runs on three hits and seven walks in 2 1/3 innings. Pupa came on and got two outs, one on a sac fly, to limit the damage in the third as the Bonnies trailed 4-0.
“Justin kept us in it and we definitely were going to score five or six runs,” Cruz said.
The Bonnies scored five runs in the fourth inning off HBQVB starter Mike Zirpoli and reliever Brandon Rosenthal. Bishop Ford’s Louis Mastrandrea delivered a two-out, two-RBI single up the middle to tie the score at 4. The go-ahead run came in on one of two HBQVB errors in the inning.
“Right before that I told one or my parents [that Mastrandrea] is going to get that base hit because of the way he’s been swinging the bat the last couple of weeks,” Cruz said.
They added two insurance runs in the top of the fifth on a run-scoring single from Murry Bergtraum’s Juan Perez and an RBI ground out by Sheepshead Bay’s Angel Vidal to increase the lead to 7-4.
“I knew we were going to score,” Pupa said. “The game was nowhere near over.”
It certainly isn’t.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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