Lakeland Tops Panas, Falls at Pearl River

James Houlahan waits to make the tag at second. Credits: Rick Kuperberg

SHRUB OAK, N.Y.— Fifth-seeded Lakeland (16-7) earned a sweet victory when it defeated visiting No. 13 Walter Panas 4-3, in the Section 1 Class A baseball quarterfinals on May 23.

“It meant a lot to win a playoff game against them because they were the only team that beat us on our home field all season so it was a revenge game,” Lakeland senior pitcher Bryan Petriccione said.

The Hornets were propelled to the win by Petriccione, who scattered five hits and struck out three in a complete-game effort.

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“Throwing strikes and getting ahead in counts was most important and being able to pitch to contact because I knew my teammates would make the plays behind me,” Petriccione said.

Tim Feliz homered to give Panas a 3-2 advantage in the top of the sixth, but the Hornets rallied with two runs to take the lead in their half of the inning, with the leading and eventual winning run coming on an RBI groundout by Freddy Reichelt, which drove in Patrick Morelli.

“It pumped me up a lot because that was the inning that I gave up the home run,” Petriccione said. “So when my teammates had my back and picked me up it gave me a lot of confidence when I went out to pitch the seventh.”

Dom Dean also contributed to the win against Panas with an RBI double.

Lakeland’s season ended with a 9-3 loss at top-seeded and eventual champion Pearl River in the semifinals on May 24, with Kevin Croce (1 for 2, 2 walks and a run) leading the offense.

Tom Cole had two hits in leading Yorktown in its 8-2 loss at No. 8 Mahopac in the quarterfinals of the Class AA tournament on May 23.

Yorktown got off to a 2-0 lead in the third inning before Mahopac answered back in the bottom of the frame with two runs to tie it up.

“We felt very confident in ourselves,” Cole said. “We had great energy and a lot of momentum from Saturday. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish the job but I’m still very proud of the effort our team gave.”

The Indians went ahead with a run in the third and broke the game open with five runs in the fourth inning.

Despite the loss, it was quite an accomplishment for the Huskers (9-13-1) to get to the quarterfinals as the No. 16 seed.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of such a resilient team,” Cole said. “We never gave up even when times were really tough, and I am so proud of how much we all grew this season.”

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