BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. Briarcliff and Irvington were knotted at six midway through Thursdays championship game in the Briarcliff High School varsity baseball eighth annual booster club tournament.
The Bears then took a 9-7 advantage into the bottom of the fifth inning. Then, Briarcliff had an offensive explosion with six runs in the fifth inning and five runs in the sixth to earn a 20-7 victory against the Bulldogs, who had won the tournament for two straight seasons.
We knew we were going to battle the whole game, but we really needed to put them away and we just started to wake up and just put them away right there, said Bears left fielder/pitcher and All-Tournament player Spencer Kulman.
The Bears took back the title from the Bulldogs and jumped out to a 2-0 start to the season.
Its a great way to start the year off, said tournament MVP John Fussell. We have high expectations as a team and it was a great way to start the year off. Couldnt ask for a better way.
Briarcliffs lineup is quickly proving to be one of the deepest in all of Section 1 and their bats were on display Thursday as each of the one through nine hitters contributed to the offense.
I feel like every single time were up, its the top of the order, Fussell said. Our bottom, its just as good as our top. Were just all-around, were a solid team and honestly its because of our work ethic. Everyones working. Everyones always swinging. Everyones practicing. Everyone wants to be in that nine and get better every day.
The Bulldogs gave the Bears a helping hand in the later innings as balls bounced off of gloves and miscommunication between fielders led to extra base runners. Irvington coach Gary Raimondo got right to the heart of the matter when discussing the loss.
You cant make nine errors against Briarcliff, Raimondo said. You cant make nine errors against anybody.
One bright spot for the Bulldogs on Thursday was the All-Tournament honors given to David Erosa and Miles Semetis.
Its unlikely that the Bears will score 20 runs in every game this season. But when the possibility was raised to Fussell, he smiled as he said: Depends on the pitching, Fussell said.