Ilion opens D5 Legion Tourney with a hard fought win over Utica Post!

Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo


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BBSixth seeded Ilion Post 920 banged out twelve hits and capitalized on four Utica Post 229 errors en route to a 6-5 win in the opening round of the District 5 American Legion Baseball Tournament, this morning at Murnane Field in Utica.

Third seeded Utica Post got off to a sluggish start and despite tying the game at 4-4 midway through the contest, Ilion Post prevailed and will advance in the winner’s bracket.

Utica Post will look to stay alive in the double-elimination tourney tomorrow.

Trailing 2-0 in the home half of the first inning, Utica got things going against Ilion starting pitcher, Joe DeSarro.

Connor Roth led things off with a walk, followed by a single from Matt Haddad.

A walk to Vin Castronovo loaded the bases for Ryan Piccola, whose RBI single scored Roth, pulling Post 229 to within 2-1, with the bags full and nobody out. 

Joe DeSarro winds and delivers in D 5 opener.

DeSarro then dug in and got Utica’s Jack Santacroce out on strikes and then got some help from Utica, as the offense failed to find a big hit, to end the inning with Ilion still on top.

Myles Felton lifted a ball into left field, for what appeared to be an easy sacrifice fly for the tying run, but after a catch by Ilion’s Joe Juliano, Utica’s Matt Haddad was called out for leaving the bag early on the tag up from third base.

Ilion made it 4-1 in the top of the second when Josh Urtz got things going with a one out triple of Utica starter, Jack Santacroce, and was knocked in on an RBI single by Mark Spina to make it 3-1.

Spina then moved to third on a single by Joe DeSarro, giving Ilion runners at the corners with one out.

ball21-121x130On Santacroce’s first pitch to Ilion’s Brandon Roberts, DeSarro took off for second base and Utica catcher, Ryan Piccola’s, throw sailed into center field, allowing Spina to score, making it 4-1, which is the way the half inning would end.

Utica showed some spunk and rallied to tie the game in the home half of the third inning, scoring all of their runs with two outs.

The big blows came on the form of a pair of well-timed RBI doubles, from Ryan Crigger and Jack Santacroce, pulling Utica Post into a 4-4 tie after three frames.

The game remained tied until the top half of the seventh inning, as both pitchers seemed to find their groove.

Jack Santacroce got the nod for Utica Post.

Ilion grabbed a 6-4 lead and control of their D 5 opener in the seventh however, when DeSarro opened things up with a single, moved to second on a passed ball and later scoring on an RBI single by Mike Dobek, to make it 5-4.

ball21-121x130Dobek later scored on the exact same scenario, a passed ball to Ilion relief pitcher, Zach Woods, and an RBI single from Woods, giving Ilion what would end up being the winning run.

Utica Post battled back with a two out rally in the bottom of the ninth, but would fall short in this one by a score of 6-5.

Zach Woods picked up the win in relief, on the mound, for Ilion Post. Post 920 advances to play Whitestown Post 1113, 5-4 winners over New Hartford in today’s opening round action. That matchup will take place at SUNYIT at 4:30PM.

Jack Santacroce absorbed the loss for Utica, as Post 229 drops into the loser’s bracket and will next face New Hartford Post in an elimination affair at Murnane Field, also at 4:30PM. 


Ilion Post 920 6 Utica Post 229 5

                    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R

Ilion               2 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 6

Utica Post       1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5