Westhill senior pitcher Ben Walsh (17) sends a delivery to the plate in Friday's game against Cazenovia at NBT Bank Stadium. Walsh threw his third consecutive one-hitter as the Warriors blanked the Lakers 5-0 in a rematch of last year's Section III Class B final.
SYRACUSE Nearly a year has passed since the Westhill baseball team turned back Cazenovia for the 2012 overall Section III Class B championship.
Yet that amount of time has not changed the relative position of the two OHSL Liberty division rivals, as the Warriors, paced by Ben Walsh's superb pitching, turned back the Lakers 5-0 Friday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium.
This game was part of the sixth annual Strike Out Lou Gehrig's Disease Classic, a gathering of top Section III teams at the Syracuse Chiefs' home ballpark to raise money for ALS research at Upstate Medical University.
This was also the only time Westhill and Cazenovia would play in the regular season. So it wasn't surprising that both sides sent their aces to the hill - Walsh for the Warriors, Liam Rogers for the Lakers.
Rogers carried a 4-0 record into the game, and despite J.C. Pena reaching third base with a triple in the first inning and a walk and two stolen bases in the third inning, Rogers escaped trouble both times, striking out seven in his first three innings of work.
Walsh, who flirted with no-hitters in each of his last two starts against Skaneateles (on April 22) and Solvay (April 26), was working with a full week's rest, and despite some shaky early control, he too, kept the game 0-0, helped by Sam Walsh throwing out Jeff Stowell trying to steal second base in the bottom of the first and a pick-off of Mark Dewan two innings later.
In the top of the fourth, Westhill broke through against Rogers. Sam Walsh's fly ball fell in left field for a double when Billy Bigsby fell going back to catch it, and with two out, Bob Antonacci doubled home Walsh with the game's first run.
The Warriors would keep pecking away, scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to make it 3-0. Pena scored on an error in the fifth, and after Chris Matteson replaced Rogers in the sixth, Antonacci's single brought home pinch-runner Hunter Chester.