Cortland rallies for SUNYAC title

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CORTLAND, N.Y. – Junior Michael LaTempa (LaGrangeville/Arlington) hit a two-run single and junior Brian Barry (Smithtown/Smithtown East) followed with a two-run double, both with two outs, in the bottom of the eighth inning as Cortland rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Brockport, 4-3, in the championship round of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tournament.

Cortland (35-7-1), ranked fifth nationally in Div. III, won their 30th league crown and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The Red Dragons will bring an 18-game winning streak into their 20th consecutive NCAA appearance, the longest active streak nationally in Div. III. NCAA pairings will be announced May 13. Cortland is likely to be sent to a regional hosted by Farmingdale State University on Long Island.

Barry was named the tournament Most Valuable Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by Cortland's Andrew Pezzuto (Hastings), Ray Angelucci (Commack), Aaron Schuldt (Liverpool) and Matt June (Colonie), Brockport's James Bardenett, Nick Bunce, Mike Gianni and Corey Booth, and Oneonta's Rob Peluso and Steve Ascher.

Brockport (26-17) broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Mike Weakley and Bunce led off with singles and Pete Wilson bunted the runners to second and third. Gianni lined a two-run single to left center to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead. Three batters later, Jake Coleman hit an RBI double to right center.

Brockport starter Travis Renwick allowed no runs and only two hits through the first seven innings, but gave up a single to Bryan Mistretta (Commack) with one out in the eighth. With two outs, Pezzuto hit a flare into left center that just eluded the reach of the Brockport shortstop. John Adornetto (Commack) was hit by a pitch to load the bases and LaTempa hit a two-run single to left center. Barry followed with a two-run double off reliever Justin McCarthy that landed just inside the left-field foul line to give Cortland the lead.

Cortland reliever Tom Nagy (Greenville/Minisink Valley) started the ninth and allowed a Jamie Boronczyk leadoff single. Nagy struck out the next two batters, but Booth hit a line drive that Nagy got a glove on but wasn't able to snare. Pinch runner Tyler Carr advanced to third on that infield hit, but Nagy got the next batter to ground out to end the game.

Senior Brendan Hourihan (Yorktown Heights/Lakeland) earned the victory with two innings of scoreless relief. He allowed only one hit, with that runner being erased on a caught stealing, and struck out two. Mike Hughes (Albany) started and gave up nine hits and three runs in six innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Barry finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Pezzuto and Mistretta were each 1-for-3. Brockport's 13-hit attack was highlighted by Gianni going 2-for-3 with two RBI, Boronczyk and Booth each finishing 2-for-4 and Coleman and Weakly each ending 2-for-5.