Smith shortstop, Steven Eychner (32), reels a throw that forces out New Hartford’s, Cooper Deck (8), early in the ball game.

Jeff Pexton-MHTS-PGI Photo

MHTS Summer Fun Tour


ball21-121x130Smith American Legion Post 24 of Rome, had to leave Murnane Field in Utica, feeling pretty fortunate following its 8-7 victory over New Hartford tonight. How could they feel anything else?

The Romans scored 8 runs, on just 5 hits this evening, to finish off the winner’s bracket without a loss and earn a well deserved day of rest in the District V American Legion Baseball playoffs.

The feeling of good fortune for Rome comes in the fact that New Hartford’s pitchers dealt Smith batters 15 walks and one hit batsman, over eight frames of baseball tonight.

Those 16 free passes resulted in 6 unearned runs for Smith, who is now (3-0) in tournament play.

Smith pitcher Ryan Reilley (29) had a very efficient outing for his club on the mound.

Rome’s, Ryan Reilley, picked up the win on the mound for Smith, working 7 innings, yielding 4 runs on 9 New Hartford hits, while striking out 3 and walking 3 in the winning effort. New Hartford’s, Paul Maurizio, took the loss.

Smith took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, when Steven Eychner drew a one out walk and proceeded  to steal second and third.

Ryan Reilley’s two out single, off of New Hartford starter Paul Maurizio, scored Eychner. Smith was up 1-0 after one inning of play.

After a scoreless second inning, New Hartford grabbed the lead back, 2-1, in the top of the third.

Ben Phelps and Joe Donovan each cracked two out, RBI singles, scoring Steve Tomaino and Tory King, to give Post 1376, a 2-1 lead, after two and a half innings.

Smith answered in the home half of third, when Bernie Adorino drew a lead off walk, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, by Drew DeBlasiis, and later scored on a wild pitch to Ryan Reilley, tying the score at 2-2.


ball21-121x130New Hartford grabbed a 4-2 lead in the top half of the fifth inning, when Doug Owen and Cooper Deck walked and were later driven home on a huge double by Ben Phelps. 

New Hartford starter, Paul Maurizio, got off to a rocky start on the mound in the fifth, walking the first two, Smith batters, before being pulled in favor of Nick Whalen, who also had some trouble finding the strike zone.

Whalen hit Smith’s Jeff Cooke with a pitch, to load the bases. Whalen then walked Reilley, to pull Smith within 4-3.

Josh Mazzaferro’s ground ball fielder’s choice scored Eychner, to make it 4-4, with nobody out.

Adam Chiemelewski stepped in and laced a long double down the right field line, scoring Reilley and Mazzaferro, giving Smith a 6-4 lead, after five complete.

New Hartford’s Vinny Maugeri (20) laces a single as Smith catcher Josh Mazzferro (10) looks on.

After New Hartford failed to plate a run in the top of the sixth, Smith struck twice in the bottom of the sixth, to increase its lead to 8-4.

Steven Eychner drew a lead off walk and went to second on a perfect bunt single, by Jeff Cooke.

Following a walk to Reilley, a sacrifice fly by Josh Mazzaferro, scored Eychner to make it 7-4. A bases loaded, a walk to Matthew Zakala increased the Smith lead to 8-4.

ball21-121x130After a scoreless seventh inning, New Hartford stormed back in the top of the eighth. Joe Donovan started things off with a single and was followed up by an RBI double, off the bat of Vin Maugeri. 

Trailing 8-5, New Hartford’s, Matt Desens, reached on an error and Mark Chanatry reached on a catcher’s interference call, to load the bases.

Smith manager, Tony Abone, took no chances at that point, calling on his ace, Jeff Cooke, to relieve Reilley. Cooke had already pitched a complete, nine inning game on Monday of this week. 

Jeff Cooke’s pick off throw to third, in an attempt to catch Maugeri napping, didn’t go as planned and the ball sailed into right field, allowing Maugeri to reach home. The score was now 8-6, New Hartford.

We got this…Smith’s Steve Eychner (32) and Caleb Blair (21) converge on a shallow fly ball to left.

Steve Tomaino’s RBI single with two outs, scored Desens, leaving New Hartford ahead, 8-7.

Cooke dug and got Tory King to look at a called strike three, to end the inning and the New Hartford threat in the eighth. 

In the ninth, Cooke was at it again, setting down New Hartford 1-2-3, to seal the victory and a spot for Smith Post in Saturday’s District V Final.

New Hartford got two hits apiece from Cooper Deck, Ben Phelps, Joe Donovan and Vinny Maugeri.

New Hartford, now (2-1) in the tournament, will await the winner of Whitestown Post and Moran – Sylvan Beach, which will square off at 4:30 tomorrow at Murnane Field.

The winner of the game will meet New Hartford at 8:00 p.m. The loser’s season will be over.

With the win tonight, Smith Post is guaranteed a spot in next week’s New York State Tournament, along with whichever team emerges from the loser’s bracket play on Friday.

Two teams, the champion and the runner-up, will represent District V, which is the host District for the State Tourney again this season at Murnane Field.

Smith Post 8 New Hartford Post 7

Box Score

                                   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R   H   E

New Hartford Post         0  0  2  0  2  0  0  3  0     7  10   1

Smith Post                   1  0  1  0  4  2  0  0  x     8   5    2