Student Reporting Archive

Walk-off Win for Chiefs

July 28, 2017

Story by Frank DeLuca Photos by Kristin O’Grady SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fireworks were scheduled for after the game, but Alejandro De Aza got them started early Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium. . De Aza’s three-run, walk-off home run in the ninth lifted the Syracuse Chiefs to a 5-4 win over the Louisville Bats. “I was […]

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Story by Frank DeLuca
Photos by Kristin O’Grady

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fireworks were scheduled for after the game, but Alejandro De Aza got them started early Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium. .

De Aza’s three-run, walk-off home run in the ninth lifted the Syracuse Chiefs to a 5-4 win over the Louisville Bats.

“I was just trying to make good contact to at least score those two runs,”De Aza said. “If we tie the game, that way we’re still in the game.”

The bottom of the ninth began with a two-run deficit and catcher Neftali Soto at bat. Soto swung at the first pitch he saw from closer Jimmy Herger and putting it into the right center field gap for a leadoff double.

Left fielder Brandon Snyder drew a walk in the next at-bat to put runners on first and second as Spencer Kieboom stepped up to the plate. Kieboom had hit a home run in the second inning, but was instead trying to bunt this time to move the runners over. After a couple unsuccessful bunt attempts, Kieboom swung and missed at a high fastball and took a seat.

De Aza got himself into a great count early, going up three balls and no strikes. He then fouled the first pitch off to left before he saw a fastball where he wanted it, and parked it in right-center.
Kieboom gives Chiefs early lead

Kieboom, who couldn’t quite deliver in the ninth, kicked off the scoring for the day with a home run off Bats’ starter Amir Garrett for his second long ball of the season and a 1-0 Chiefs lead.

Chiefs’ starting pitcher Jaron Long managed two dominant innings, and even worked efficiently to start the third. But the top of the Bats’ lineup stepped up with two outs, as right fielder Jesse Winker singled to get on base before center fielder Phil Ervin drew a walk. First baseman Sebastian Elizalde singled home a run to even up the score at one.

The Chiefs wasted no time getting themselves back on top, and center fielder Zach Collier ripped a ball to right for his first home run of the year, a solo shot good for a 2-1 Syracuse lead.
Bats edge ahead

Both teams struggled through the fourth and fifth, and the score remained the same heading into the sixth. The Bats took advantage of Long, and Elizalde smacked a ball to right to even the score. Later in the inning, Left fielder Tyler Goeddel doubled home another run to put Louisville up 3-2. Long finally struck out pitcher Amir Garrett to end the inning, but not before facing seven batters.

The Chiefs could not get anything working in the latter stages of the game, and did not manage to get a single hit from the sixth through the eighth.

The Bats were working, though, and third baseman Brandon Dixon took reliever Kevin Jepsen deep to start the eighth inning and increase their lead to 4-2.

Which is where it stayed until De Aza’s closing shot.

 

Notes

De Aza’s walk-off hit marked his second of the season.

Reliever Rafael Martin earns the win, while Herget gets the loss.

It was the Chiefs’ second straight come-from-behind win over the Bats after losing both ends of a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Syracuse’s record sits at 37-66 after the win, and the Bats are 42-62.

The Chiefs host the Gwinnett Braves on Friday night.

De Aza Does It for Chiefs

July 28, 2017

Story and Photo by Kevin Van Pelt SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs won 5-4 in walk-off fashion when Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run homer Thursday night to beat the Louisville Bats at NBT Bank Stadium. De Aza’s home run was his fourth of the season and he finished the game with three hits. The former Major League player credits […]

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Story and Photo by Kevin Van Pelt

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs won 5-4 in walk-off fashion when Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run homer Thursday night to beat the Louisville Bats at NBT Bank Stadium.

De Aza’s home run was his fourth of the season and he finished the game with three hits. The former Major League player credits his in game experience as a reason he can come through in a clutch moment.

“It’s just more playing time,” De Aza said after the game. “I get more opportunities here which allows me to see the ball better.”

The Chiefs opened the scoring in the second inning when catcher Spencer Kiebloom hit a solo home run to center field.

The Bats tied the game in the third, but the Chiefs took the lead back in the bottom of the inning. Zach Collier hit his first home of the season for the Chiefs, in just his fourth game with the team since being called up from the AA Harrisburg Senators.

After both teams were held scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, Louisville took the lead after a two-run inning that started off with a home run by Sebastian Elizaide. Later in the inning, second baseman Alexander Blandino was hit by a pitch and scored on a double down the left field line by left fielder Tyler Goeddel.
Starting pitcher for the Chiefs, Jaron Long, had a quality start going six innings and giving up three earned runs on 99 pitches. However, he left the game as the pitcher on record for the loss.

In the eighth, the Bats added an insurance run after Brandon Dixon belted a line drive home run off Kevin Jepson giving Louisville a two-run lead.

Jimmy Herget came in for the save and quickly gave up a double to Neftali Soto then walked Brandon Snyder.

Kiebloom was on deck for the Chiefs, with a home run hit earlier in the game. Syracuse manager, Billy Gardner Jr. called for a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. After two failed attempts, Kiebloom was told to swing, and struck out looking.

Gardner said that one of his fears of having Kiebloom bunt in that situation was the fact first base could be left open for Louisville to walk the next batter, De Aza.

“We knew their guy has a really good slider and is tough on righies, so we really wanted to have De Aza have a chance and it worked out for us,” Gardner said.

This was the fourth walk off of the season for the Chiefs and 37th win of the season. The next game for the Chiefs is scheduled Friday night at home against the Gwinnett Braves.

De Aza Powers Syracuse Chiefs to Victory

July 28, 2017

Story, Video and Photo by Jude Allume SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fans got more than a good deal on beer and food Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium, as the Syracuse Chiefsdefeated the Louisville Bats 5-4. In true dramatic fashion, Alejandro De Aza lifted the Chiefs to victory in the bottom of the ninth with a two run home run to center field. This […]

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Story, Video and Photo by Jude Allume

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fans got more than a good deal on beer and food Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium, as the Syracuse Chiefsdefeated the Louisville Bats 5-4.

In true dramatic fashion, Alejandro De Aza lifted the Chiefs to victory in the bottom of the ninth with a two run home run to center field.

This was De Aza’s fourth home run and second walk-off hit of the season.

“Well it feels great,” DeAza said. “It feels great. Anything that I can do to help the team win is a plus”

De Aza went three for four with the home run and three runs batted in. His home run was the third of the game for the Chiefs, and of course the difference maker in the end.

Chiefs lead early

The scoring started early for the Chiefs as Spencer Kieboom hit a solo shot in the bottom of the second inning giving his team an early 1-0 lead.

The Bats didn’t take long to respond however, as Sebastian Elizalde hit a single with two men on in the top of the third. Jesse Winker scored from second base, tying the score at one.

The Chief quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the third when Zach Collier hit a solo shot of his own for a 2-1 lead.

Long’s night

Syracuse pitcher Jaron Long had a solid night, but ran into trouble in the top of the sixth when Sebastien Elizalde hit a solo home run to tie the game at two. It was Elizalde’s second hit and run batted in for the game. Long then hit Alex Bandino with a pitch. Bandino advanced to second as Adrian Nieto grounded out to first.

Bandino scored on a two-out double down the left field line by Tyler Goeddel. Long eventually got out of the inning, but after giving up two runs and the lead. He finished the night with six innings pitched, giving up three runs and striking out six.

In the top of the eighth inning, the Bats tacked on another run off relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen. The Bats third baseman, Brandon Dixon, hit a solo shot to push the score to 4-2.

But it wouldn’t be enough.

Patience pays off

In the bottom of the ninth, Neftali Soto got things started for the Chiefs with a double. Brandon Snyder worked a walk, putting two men on. After a Spencer Kieboom strikeout, De Aza came to the plate.

De Aza showed patience as he took the first three pitches for balls. He took the green light on the next pitch, fouling the ball off. The fifth pitch of the at bat was the last of the game.

This was the final game of the season between Syracuse and Louisville, with Louisville taking the season series four games to three.

The Chiefs open up a three game series next against the Gwinnett Braves starting Friday night at 7:05.

Rain Stops Chiefs Game but Not Family Tradition

July 25, 2017

Story by Tasha Babers Photo by Kristin O’Grady Syracuse, N.Y. – The Chiefs versus Louisville Bats game was postponed Monday night, yet there was still the smell of hot-dogs, a kid running around with an old glove, and some co-workers grabbing a beer at NBT Bank Stadium. The thrill of the atmosphere was still very much […]

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Story by Tasha Babers

Photo by Kristin O’Grady

Syracuse, N.Y. – The Chiefs versus Louisville Bats game was postponed Monday night, yet there was still the smell of hot-dogs, a kid running around with an old glove, and some co-workers grabbing a beer at NBT Bank Stadium. The thrill of the atmosphere was still very much present even with a tarp over the field.

Long-time Chiefs fan and young father Kevin Szul lingered after the cancellation announcement and kept an eye on his two-year old daughter, Violet, as she played in the empty rainy seats.

“I came and sat in the rain because I love baseball,” Szul said. “Also to get the twenty-five cent hotdogs so I don’t have to make dinner.”

Szul is a season ticket owner and went to Chiefs games with his dad as a kid. He hopes to pass the same tradition on to his two young daughters, Violet and five-week-old Lillian.

“My favorite thing about baseball is the atmosphere,” Szul said. “The atmosphere and the promotional dinner deals.”

Did he ever get his twenty-five cent hot dogs despite the cancellation?

“Yeah! I had four!” Szul exclaimed.

Rain, rain

The Chiefs will try to make up the game as part of a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader. They are 4-14 in doubleheaders, and have yet sweep one this season.

This is the seventh rain-related postponement for the Chiefs this season, as compared with the annual average of three to four. Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol said player safety is worth the postponement and grounds staff would work hard to disperse the nearly 1,000 gallons of rain water onto the outfield, wait for the water to drain, and use an underground ventilation system to dry the field.

 

Team FOE Next for Boeheim’s Army

July 21, 2017

Story and Photos by Dontae Harris BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Boeheim’s Army defeated Team Fancy RYU 65-61 at LIU-Brooklyn Thursday night to advance to the regional final of The Basketball Tournament and stay alive in pursuit of the $2-million winner-take-all prize. Brandon Triche was the hero for the Orange. Triche hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 15.9 seconds […]

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Story and Photos by Dontae Harris

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Boeheim’s Army defeated Team Fancy RYU 65-61 at LIU-Brooklyn Thursday night to advance to the regional final of The Basketball Tournament and stay alive in pursuit of the $2-million winner-take-all prize.

Brandon Triche was the hero for the Orange. Triche hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 15.9 seconds remaining. It was the only three-pointer Boeheim’s Army hit in the second half. Triche then made four free throws to close the game out.

Triche left the game in the first half after he popped out his pinkie finger  on his right (shooting) hand.. He returned with the finger taped to the one next to it.

“I figured I should be able to run the team,” Triche said. “I am comfortable enough to dribble the ball.”

He wound up with eleven points, including the crucial seven down the stretch.

 

Syracuse vs. Iona

 

Eric Devendorf put the Orange on his back for much of the game. He had a game high 19 points and found Triche open for that key 3-pointer.

Devendorf, who has always been known for talking some trash, and Scott Machado of Team Fancy RYU were in each other’s ears on both ends of the floor. There were two times in the game where they had to be separated.

“It’s nothing personal, we getting out there and competing,” Devendorf said. “If you interview Scott Machado he is going to say the same thing. We was going back and forth because we have respect for each other.”

Devendorf is currently an assistant coach for Syracuse University’s Men’s Basketball team. He played for Syracuse from 2005 to 2009. Before becoming an assistant coach, he played professionally overseas.

Machado played for Iona College (2008-12) located in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was the MAAC Player of the Year in 2012. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2012 but hasn’t played for a NBA affiliated team since 2014. Machado currently plays professionally in Spain for ICL Manresa.

Devendorf got the better of his opponent this time, having no trouble scoring on the isolation or in the pick and roll. Machado had eleven points in 32 minutes.

Orange Pride 

In the second half the Syracuse fans made their presence loud and clear. Fans seated right behind the Boeheim’s Army bench roared “Lets’ go Orange” and there were so many orange shirts in the crowd it looked like the game was being played in the Carrier Dome.

Otto the Syracuse mascot was also in attendance sticking around the bench and revving up the Syracuse fans.

“We have the greatest fans in the world.” said Donte Greene, who had 14 points and five rebounds for Boeheim’s Army. ” I always say that. I compare them to soccer fans or football fans over in Europe.”

Click Here to listen to the post game news conference.

Next Opponent 

Boeheim’s Army will take on Team Family Over Everything (FOE) on Sunday at 2 p.m. for a trip to the Final Four. The game will be televised live on ESPN and will also take place at LIU Brooklyn.

Team FOE. is run by Makieff and Marcus Morris. Makieff plays for the Washington Wizards and Marcus plays for the Boston Celtics. Other notable players for Team FOE are Tyshawn Taylor, Maalik Wayans and Mycheal Thompson. Thompson is the brother of two-time NBA champion Klay Thompson.

 

Fan Forum Sets Stage for 24th Crunch Season

July 18, 2017

Story and Photo by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — 50 or so die-hard Syracuse Crunch fans packed into the War Memorial player’s lounge for the opportunity to address Crunch president and owner, Howard Dolgon, Monday afternoon. After a near dream season ended in a crushing Calder Cup defeat at the hands of the Grand Rapids […]

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Story and Photo by Matt St. Jean

SYRACUSE, N.Y.
 — 50 or so die-hard Syracuse Crunch fans packed into the War Memorial player’s lounge for the opportunity to address Crunch president and owner, Howard Dolgon, Monday afternoon. After a near dream season ended in a crushing Calder Cup defeat at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the fans wanted to know: where does the Crunch go from here? According to Dolgon, the organization has already started to reload.
“We’re back at it now,” Dolgon said, “[The NHL parent club Tampa Bay Lightning] has been signing, most importantly, a lot of our own players. Like Mike Bournival, Cory Conacher, (Jake) Dotchin, (Slater) Koekkoek, (Gabriel) Dumont, and (Yanni) Gourde.”

Additionally, the Crunch signed one of the top available goalies in the AHL, Michael Leighton.

 

Questions 

When the forum opened for questions, one fan didn’t ask what the Crunch can do for him, but what can he do for the Crunch.

“What can we do more to help you?” The fan asked. “Whether it’s willfulness, coming to the meetings with you with the county, just helping out.”

The fan also offered to purchase a massive “7th man flag.” Blown away, Dolgon jokingly asked the gentleman if he was looking for a job!

While the opening question was certainly a softball, the crowd turned to more serious questions surrounding the in-game experience.

“What promotions are you planning on having throughout the year and when will those be available?”

“Is something being done about the paint in the arena? There are areas where it is chipping.”

“The sound. Are you improving the sound because it’s loud, but you can’t understand it.”

“The quality and selection of food at the concession stands is not that desirable. Any chance of improving that?”
On the topic of food options, another fan was particularly concerned about the Crunch returning the pasta bar instead of the current meatball sub option.

 

They ARE fans

Concession and cosmetic concerns aside, there was one theme that arose above the rest: The love and admiration the fans had for the Crunch franchise. Each fan who stepped forward to ask question led off by complimenting Dolgon on the raucous atmosphere of the War Memorial Arena and the loyalty the organization has shown the city of Syracuse.

Even though the ’16-’17 season just ended in mid-June, Crunch fans have less than three months to wait before the puck drops at the War Memorial Arena on October 7th against Rochester.

A Chat with Howard Dolgon

July 18, 2017

Story and photo by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — What does it take to own and maintain a team in the American Hockey League? For Syracuse Crunch owner, Howard Dolgon, it’s more than a business, it’s a passion.   Roughly 15 minutes before taking center stage at the Crunch fan forum Monday afternoon at […]

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Story and photo by Matt St. Jean


SYRACUSE, N.Y
. — What does it take to own and maintain a team in the American Hockey League? For Syracuse Crunch owner, Howard Dolgon, it’s more than a business, it’s a passion.

 

Roughly 15 minutes before taking center stage at the Crunch fan forum Monday afternoon at the War Memorial, Dolgon had the look of a man who was genuinely happy to be sitting behind his desk about to enter his 24th season as owner. In addition to discussing the ins and outs of the franchise from a business perspective, Dolgon was adamant about his commitment to the city and people of Syracuse.

 

“I’ve said this forever.” Dolgon said, “One of the mandates of a professional sports team in town, is to utilize your popularity to make things better in the community you play in and that’s critical.”

 

Players involved


Dolgon’s New York City-based business career has been in sports public relations and that translated well to how he’s handled the Crunch.

 

With Dolgon at the helm, Crunch players are encouraged to get out in the community and give back. They have participated in the Sunny Delight Anti-Bullying programs in schools, put on holiday parties for kids with pediatric cancer at the Upstate Medical Center and even serve doughnuts for the Dunkin Donuts Munchkins Hosting Program, where proceeds benefit area youth groups and nonprofit organizations.

 

“For us that’s a blessing to do, not a job,” Dolgon said, “when we see the fruits of our work in a positive way in our community then we know we’ve done what we’re supposed to do.”

 

A better place to play

 

In addition to the work outside of the rink, Dolgon is dead set on improving the conditions of the War Memorial, so Crunch fans have an immaculate game experience. His goals for the 2017-18 season are to digitally upgrade the whole area, primarily the scoreboard and concourse as well as to update the areas honoring our nation’s veterans. All of those plans, hinging on the green light on obtaining funding from Onondaga County.

 

“This is the closest we’ve ever been, I believe, to getting the approvals that we need,” Dolgon said, “Are we there yet? No. Are we in the right direction? I think a lot would have to go wrong not to get there.”

 

Owner as fan

 

What this all comes down to for Dolgon is that, at the end of the day, he’s a fan.

 

“We’re fans first, we own a team, but we do it because we love hockey and we love sports.” Dolgon said.

 

With that, he shook my hand and walked down the hallway to greet 50 eager, loyal Syracuse Crunch fans ready to answer any question they sent his way.

 

The full length audio of the interview can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/matt-st-jean-1/howard-dolgon

PawSox Sweep Chiefs Again

July 16, 2017

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. – Let’s not sugarcoat anything here. The Pawtucket Red Sox (47-44, Red Sox affiliate) have owned the Syracuse Chiefs (32-58, Nationals affiliate) this year. The PawSox were 14-2 against their International League North Division rivals entering Sunday’s play. The PawSox haven’t just won these games; the offense has […]

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Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. – Let’s not sugarcoat anything here. The Pawtucket Red Sox (47-44, Red Sox affiliate) have owned the Syracuse Chiefs (32-58, Nationals affiliate) this year. The PawSox were 14-2 against their International League North Division rivals entering Sunday’s play.

The PawSox haven’t just won these games; the offense has dominated Syracuse. In these 16 games, the PawSox have scored at least five runs, ten times against the Chiefs. However, Syracuse has scored 20 total runs in their two victories, so offense often has come at a premium for the Chiefs.

 

Same Old Song The PawSox continued their dominance over the Chiefs on Sunday, collecting 13 hits en route to a 7-1 victory. In addition, they earned their third sweep of the Chiefs in 2017.

The first half of Sunday’s game was the Aneury Tavarez show at NBT Bank Stadium as he led off the game with a home run on the second pitch he saw. He followed that with a triple and run scored in the third inning to give Pawtucket a 2-1 lead. Tavarez went 2-5 on Sunday to lead the way at the top of Pawtucket’s order.

Syracuse scored its lone run in the second inning. Neftali Soto led off that frame with a single, Spencer Kieboom doubled, and Caleb Ramsey sacrifice flied Soto in to tie the game at 1-1.

Ramsey and Michael Almanzar led off the Chiefs fifth with back-to-back singles, but runs failed to cross the plate. Stephen Perez struck out swinging, Andrew Stevenson grounded out to first base, and Irving Falu struck out looking to follow and end the frame.

 

Broken Wide Open

The PawSox broke opened the flood gates in the sixth inning. Heiker Meneses led off with a double down the left field line, Castillo singled, and Bryce Brentz clubbed a three-run home run to dead center field to break the game open and give Pawtucket a 5-1 lead.

Pawtucket added another run in the seventh on an RBI double by Matt Dominguez off Chiefs reliever Kevin Jepsen. Castillo reached on a strikeout-wild pitch, advanced to second when Brentz walked, and scored on the double from second to give the PawSox a 6-1 lead.

The Chiefs had runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth and seventh innings versus PawSox reliever Kyle Martin. However, they failed to score in each case.

Dominguez doubled in another run to deep right-center field in the ninth to extend Pawtucket’s lead to 7-1, and that ended the scoring for Sunday.

Both starting pitchers remained on record on Sunday. Marcus Walden earned the win for Pawtucket and improved his record to 8-3. Jaron Long took the loss for Syracuse and dropped to 1-4.

Pawtucket also improved its 2017 record versus Syracuse to 15-2. The Chiefs have fallen to an International League-worst 32-59 and are now 26 games back of first place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the IL North Division.

 

From the Source

Chiefs catcher Spencer Kieboom reached base safely in each of his four plate appearances, including doubles in the second and eighth innings. He also bumped his batting average up to .323 on the season.

“I’m just trying to do whatever I can to get the barrel on the ball, and whatever happens… happens,” he said. “I was active during the All-Star break – I lifted some weights, nothing crazy. Went and hit and had some fun.”

Regarding the Chiefs’ struggles against Pawtucket, Kieboom noted that the PawSox are just that team they can’t get past.

“(Our guys) want it just as bad as they want it against anybody else. It’s just the way it’s been against those guys,” he tabbed. “Everybody has that team every year… They play fundamentally sound baseball and they do a good job, but they don’t do anything significantly different than any other team. It’s just about what they’re doing against us.”

 

Series Lines

Thursday 7/13: PAW 5, SYR 0. W: Johnson (3-1), L: Turner (0-1)

Friday 7/14: PAW 8, SYR 1. W: Kendrick (3-6), L: Ross (3-8)

Saturday 7/15: PAW 7, SYR 4. W: Beeks (3-3), L: Cole (4-4)

Sunday 7/16: PAW 7, SYR 1. W: Walden (8-3), L: Long (1-4)

 

What’s Next

The Chiefs begin an eight-game road trip on Monday. They will play three at Louisville (Reds) and five at Columbus (Indians) including a June 4 makeup game at Columbus. The Chiefs will return to NBT Bank Stadium on July 24 where they will open a seven-game home stand versus Louisville and Gwinnett (Braves).

PawSox Continue Dominance Over Chiefs

July 14, 2017

Story by Matt St. Jean Photos by Kristin O’Grady SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The fan favorite ZOOperstars were out in force at NBT Bank Stadium for the first of a four-game set between International League North Division rivals, the Pawtucket Red Sox (45-44) and the Syracuse Chiefs (32-56). But the Chiefs bats were not. The Chiefs the […]

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Story by Matt St. Jean

Photos by Kristin O’Grady

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The fan favorite ZOOperstars were out in force at NBT Bank Stadium for the first of a four-game set between International League North Division rivals, the Pawtucket Red Sox (45-44) and the Syracuse Chiefs (32-56). But the Chiefs bats were not.

The Chiefs the went into the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak, 22.5 games out of first place and in dire need of a win streak to start the second half of the season. But they hadn’t had much success against the PawSox thus far, winning only two out of 13 contests.

Nothing changed Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium, as Pawtucket won 5-0 to start the series.


Johnson Jams Up Chief Bats

Pawtucket starter, Brian Johnson had all his pitches working on the mound orchestrating seven scoreless innings while only allowing three hits, lowering his season ERA to 2.68.

“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Johnson,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said “He did a heck of a job and you know good pitching is always going to beat good hitting.”

The Chiefs hit the ball hard off Johnson, but usually right at Red Sox fielders as they never put more than one runner on base at a time against the PawSox lefty.

 

One Rough Inning

Jacob Turner took the mound for the Syracuse Chiefs and threw a solid game despite his stat line of five innings pitched with seven hits, four earned runs, and only two strikeouts.

“I thought at times he really located his fastball,” Gardner said. “I thought his location was in the zone, the ball left his hand really good, had some good life to it, I thought he spun some good breaking balls in.”

Turner cruised through the first two innings, but then ran into trouble in the third when Pawtucket bats came to life scoring three runs.

“Sometimes you really need to get somebody out in that situation,” Turner said. “I think they strung together like four hits together, so, anytime they do that in that situation, it’s usually not going to end in a good inning.”

 

Jackson’s Scoreless Streak Halted

Edwin Jackson entered the game in relief of Turner with a 17-and-a-third inning scoreless streak. After increasing the streak to 18-and-two-thirds innings, Jackson surrendered his first run of the 2017 campaign on a Steve Selsky seeing-eye single.

“Coming out of the break, haven’t been on the mound in a little bit,” the veteran righty said. “They really made me work–they hit some balls, found some holes.”

In total, Jackson pitched three innings, giving up five hits and striking out two. Jackson, however, has a big decision coming up in the not-so-distant future. If he is still pitching in AAA on August 1 he can choose to opt out of his current contract and seek employment elsewhere. A decision he said he is not keeping in the front of his mind.

“Honestly, I’m really not necessarily that concerned, can’t really worry about what I can’t control,” Jackson said. “When I get the ball out here, just go out and continue to work and everything else will happen in due time.”


What’s Next for the Chiefs

With a tall mountain to climb in the North Division, Gardner wants his players to maintain their focus.

“We gotta go out there and compete, continue to grind at-bats out, get some big hits, and, you know, just battle every night,” Gardner said.

They’ll get another chance against the PawSox Friday night at 7:05.

Cub Reporters Cover Boeheim’s Army at the Ballpark

July 7, 2017

Staff Report SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Three days into Boot Camp, seven new graduate students in the Newhouse School’s Sports Communications Emphasis jumped into the deep end of the pool to cover their first assignments, Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium. Seven players and the coach of Boeheim’s Army tossed ceremonial pitches before the Syracuse Chiefs […]

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Staff Report

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Three days into Boot Camp, seven new graduate students in the Newhouse School’s Sports Communications Emphasis jumped into the deep end of the pool to cover their first assignments, Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium. Seven players and the coach of Boeheim’s Army tossed ceremonial pitches before the Syracuse Chiefs game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, then signed autographs and posed for photos with fans on the stadium concourse, before retiring to a Chiefs’ suite to relax with family and friends as the game went on below. Boeheim’s Army opens play in Philadelphia on Saturday in The Basketball Tournament, which carries a $2 million winner-take-all prize.

The students, Corey Crisan, Rafael Freitas, Monica Ortiz, Kent Paisley, Dominique Patrick, Jonathan Singh and Matt St. Jean, ranged in experience with this sort of thing from fairly extensive to none whatsoever. They were first among the 34 SCE students to volunteer for the job. Their assignment was to cover the pregame ceremony, general media opportunity and autograph/photo session, then conduct one-on-one interviews with each student reporter assigned to one player.

Along the way, they stood shoulder to shoulder with the Post-Standard/syracuse.com men’s basketball beat writer Donna Ditota, WSYR-TV’s Mario Sacco (an SCE alum), the Chiefs’ official photographer Herm Card and the Chiefs’ press box manager Don Johnston, better know as Syracuse’s Donnie Baseball.

They also fired questions at Boeheim’s Army Manager Kevin Belbey, Coach Ryan Blackwell and Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol, who was dressed in his outrageous disco outfit to celebrate Disco Night at the stadium.

You’ll find the reporters’ work on this website under Student Reporting.

Here’s a look behind the scenes: 

 

 

Orange All-time Leader Back with Boeheim’s Army

July 7, 2017

Story and photos by Rafael Freitas SYRACUSE, N.Y. — No one has started more games in a Syracuse Orange uniform than Brandon Triche. Four years after his graduation, he has returned to the city again to join other notable alumni in a chance to share $2-million dollars in The Basketball Tournament, playing for Boeheim’s Army. The […]

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Story and photos by Rafael Freitas

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — No one has started more games in a Syracuse Orange uniform than Brandon Triche.

Four years after his graduation, he has returned to the city again to join other notable alumni in a chance to share $2-million dollars in The Basketball Tournament, playing for Boeheim’s Army.

The 6’4″ guard from Jamesville-DeWitt High School started every single game in his four-year carer in Syracuse, with a total of 147 games played, a record that still belongs to him.

“I’m happy just to have any type of record or be part of history here at Syracuse”, Triche said Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium, where he and other six players plus Coach Ryan Blackwell tossed out ceremonial first pitches and signed autographs as the Syracuse Chiefs beat the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.


TBT Challenge

Triche and his teammates are set to play the first game in The Basketball Tournament next Saturday in Philadelphia against the DuBois Dream. For Triche, the greatest challenge will be figuring out how to be the best team.

“I know some teams had more time to practice more than we did; others grew up playing with each other, so they know their game a little better… but I think we have the talents to win this tournament,” he said in an interview. “Different types of guards, different players with different sizes. Plus, our shooting is pretty good. We just have to figure out how to win those games.”

Last year, Boeheim’s Army fell in a Sweet 16 game against a Pittsburgh Alumni team.

Just happy to be back

Triche has played professionally in the NBA Developmental League as well as overseas, finishing this past season with a team in Israel.

“I’m just happy to be back here,” he said, looking back to his days and nights in the Carrier Dome.

“To play in front of 30 thousand people is just amazing. You don’t get this in college basketball or even in the NBA. I just wanna say that I love and appreciate all you guys and all these games are from you.”

That love for the community, the fact that he is a local guy and his dedication on the basketball court make Triche one of the favorite Syracuse players for the fans. He was one of the most asked for photos during the autograph session. Steve Taubart, an Orange Basketball fan,  didn’t lose the chance of to take a picture with one of his favorite players.

“Brandon Triche completed four years in Syracuse,  had 147 games, was in the Final Four a couple of times, great college player. , He is just someone I look up to, a remarkable individual,” Taubart said.

A Fair Chance

July 7, 2017

Story by Kent Paisley Staff photo Syracuse, N.Y.— CJ Fair says he is ready for The Basketball Tournament no matter who the opponent is. “I’m here to play against anyone,” Fair said Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium. “I know some players want to take on Overseas Elite, but I’ll play anybody. I’m just excited […]

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Story by Kent Paisley

Staff photo

Syracuse, N.Y.— CJ Fair says he is ready for The Basketball Tournament no matter who the opponent is.

“I’m here to play against anyone,” Fair said Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium. “I know some players want to take on Overseas Elite, but I’ll play anybody. I’m just excited to play with my fellow alumni.”
Fair joined fellow Orange alums Trevor Cooney, Eric Devendorf, DaShonte Riley, Donte Greene, John Gillon, Brandon Triche and Coach Ryan Blackwell throwing out ceremonial first pitches before the Syracuse Chiefs’ win over Lehigh Valley, then signed autographs for fans on the stadium concourse.

 

Still working towards The League

Fair, who played all four years and finished his tenure in 2014, is one of SU nine alums on the Boeheim’s Army roster this upcoming Saturday in the opening round.

The 6’8″ Fair, known for his slashing drives to the basket, finished his career as an Orange team leader in 2014.

He has signed two NBA contracts, both with the Indiana Pacers, and has been waived by them twice: once in October 2014, and once in October 2015. He has spent time in the D-League with the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants and signed with a professional team in France. His career goal remains to make it in the NBA. This tournament appearance, however, is not about furthering that dream.

“Making this tournament is about representing the school. I don’t anticipate the results of affecting my chances of making the NBA,” he said.

 

New approach

The team has taken a different approach for this tournament, electing to practice for a full week before the tournament begins. Last year, the team only practiced for two days before the start of the tournament.

In addition, in the event the team wins the tournament and the $2-million winner-take-all prize, the team will donate $50,000 to Boeheim Foundation, in to show support for their head coach who has provided them the opportunity to wear the Orange during their college careers.

Boeheim’s Army is scheduled play in its first game this upcoming Saturday in Philadelphia at 6:00 P.M. EST. The game will be available on the Watch ESPN app and ESPN3.

Sour Taste Turns Sweet; Greene Still Bleeds Orange

July 7, 2017

Story and photo by Dominique Patrick Syracuse, N.Y. — Boeheim’s Army leads fan votes this year for the Northeast region of The Basketball Tournament and Donte Greene most likely is one of the reasons why. Greene, who left for the NBA after a single season at SU, is back to wear the Orange again. “It’s just […]

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Story and photo by Dominique Patrick

Syracuse, N.Y. — Boeheim’s Army leads fan votes this year for the Northeast region of The Basketball Tournament and Donte Greene most likely is one of the reasons why. Greene, who left for the NBA after a single season at SU, is back to wear the Orange again.

“It’s just me representing my school,” Greene said in an interview at NBT Bank Stadium Thursday evening. “I left on a bad note; a little a sour taste left in some of the fans’ mouth so I just want to come back and show them I still bleed Orange. I love my university. It’s always an honor to come out and represent them and put on the Orange jersey”

The Syracuse Chiefs honored Greene and Boeheim’s Army, Thursday having seven players and Coach Ryan Blackwell throw the ceremonial first pitches of the night before the game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

 

Greene and Orange

When he’s not warming up his shooting wrist by drumming a solo, something he did with the SU pep band the Sour Sitrus Society before home games, he continues to pursue his basketball career. Since his four seasons with the NBA Sacramento Kings, he has moved around the world, signing most recently with a team in Puerto Rico.

The 6′-11″ Greene plans to bring not only his offensive skill set to the team but his tremendous growth on the defensive end. At 29, he is one of the oldest players on the roster, but experience comes with age. His plan to use his experience and leadership may be the push his teammates need. Greene said expects nothing short of a championship.

“I want to win. We’ve been out here practicing for a week and I want to come out and have a better showing than we did last year.”

“Getting them together for a couple of games, its like a big family reunion,” Boeheim’s Army manager Kevin Belbey said

The team has hopes of bringing home the $2 million prize. It is scheduled to take on the DuBois Dream in the first round of the tournament at Philadelphia University at 6 p.m., this Saturday July 8.

Gillon Steps Up for Boeheim’s Army

July 7, 2017

Story by Monica Ortiz Staff photo SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When Boeheim’s Army suddenly needed a point guard, John Gillon stepped up, something he did more than once during this past Orange men’s basketball season. And when other members of the team that will compete in The Basketball Tournament took the field for ceremonial first pitches before the […]

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Story by Monica Ortiz

Staff photo

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When Boeheim’s Army suddenly needed a point guard, John Gillon stepped up, something he did more than once during this past Orange men’s basketball season.

And when other members of the team that will compete in The Basketball Tournament took the field for ceremonial first pitches before the Syracuse Chiefs game and signed autographs for fans Thursday night, Gillon was right there with them as he has been in practice this week.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Gillon said.
Connections

Gillon, who is best know for his buzzer beater against Duke, replaces Scoop Jardine who was injured while playing professionally in Canada last season. General Manager Kevin Belbey’s goal has been to stick to a team of former Syracuse Basketball players. He contacted Gillon. Belbey said after finding out Gillon had not signed on with a summer league team, the decision to add him as point guard came fairly easy.

Belbery’s brother Shaun, a walk on transfer for Syracuse Basketball put him in contact with Gillon. After a couple of conversations with his agent, Gillon responded he could be on a plane the next day.

“Back home”

Gillon has only been gone from Syracuse about two months and says his return feels like he’s “back home.”

Choosing to play for Boeheim’s Army didn’t require much thought on his part.

“I’m glad Belbey asked me to be on the team,” Gillon said. “Getting back and being able to replace such good player, with the team thinking highly of me in that role means a lot.”

As far as he is concerned the team is skilled in every position, but the strength of the team will be revealed once the tournament starts. Boeheim’s Army will go after the $2 million winner-take-all prize, facing the DuBois Dream in its first game this Saturday, July 8 in Philadelphia.

Riley’s Return

July 7, 2017

Story and photo by Corey Crisan SYRACUSE, NY — Eight Orange hoops alumni convened at the Syracuse Chiefs game on Thursday evening as part of a promotion for an upcoming event – The Basketball Tournament – where former players Ryan Blackwell, Trevor Cooney, Eric Devendorf, C.J. Fair, John Gillon, Donte Greene, DaShonte Riley, and Brandon Triche […]

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Story and photo by Corey Crisan

SYRACUSE, NY — Eight Orange hoops alumni convened at the Syracuse Chiefs game on Thursday evening as part of a promotion for an upcoming event – The Basketball Tournament – where former players Ryan Blackwell, Trevor Cooney, Eric Devendorf, C.J. Fair, John Gillon, Donte Greene, DaShonte Riley, and Brandon Triche will represent as “Boeheim’s Army.”

“Just seeing those guys, it’s been a fun experience. Reminiscing about things from freshman and sophomore year… I’ve been embracing coming back and it feels like I never left.”

“Unfinished business”

It’s not often that one of the nation’s most popular Division I Men’s Basketball programs watches players transfer from its school to go elsewhere, but there are the rare occasions where circumstances do apply. One player who falls into that category is former SU center and Boeheim’s Army player DaShonte Riley.
The seven-foot tall Riley was recruited by big-name basketball programs, including Marquette University, The University of Virginia, The University of California, and LSU. He averaged 1.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game in the 2009-2010 season for the Orange, then he was sidelined by a foot injury for the entire 2010-2011 season before transferring to Eastern Michigan University, just outside his hometown of Detroit. He played there for former SU assistant coach Rob Murphy.

Riley views this opportunity to right some “unfinished business” as he reunites with some former teammates and the rest of Orange Nation.

“The vibe of being back here made me feel like I left something I should’ve stayed with, and now I’m just enjoying the whole Syracuse community,” Riley said. “The fan base and everybody were real welcoming. These guys have embraced me a lot, like I never transferred… I can’t wait to represent Syracuse again.”

Blackwell on Boeheim’s Army’s chances

Ryan Blackwell will serve as the Boeheim Army’s head coach, and he gives a preview of what to expect from the Army on the court.

“The commitment of these guys to getting here and paying attention to detail in practice, I think that’s key,” he said. “Offensively, we’ll be more in tune. I think defensively we’ve gone over some stuff that we did last year, especially man-to-man. We’ll play our 2-3 zone, but I think man-to-man defense is going to be key for us as well. We didn’t do that well last year.”

The tournament is a 5-on-5, single elimination tournament involving 64 teams. A $2 million prize will go to the Championship winning team. Boeheim’s Army will open on Saturday at 6:00 versus the Dubois Dream. The game can be seen on WatchESPN.

Cooney Happy to Enlist in Boeheim’s Army

July 7, 2017

Story and Photo by Jonathan Singh Syracuse N.Y.  — Trevor Cooney stepped to the mound and tossed one over the plate at NBT Bank Stadium, Thursday night. He is one of eight members of Boeheim’s Army to throw ceremonial first pitches before the Syracuse Chiefs took on the first place Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The 2016 graduate […]

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Story and Photo by Jonathan Singh

Syracuse N.Y.  — Trevor Cooney stepped to the mound and tossed one over the plate at NBT Bank Stadium, Thursday night. He is one of eight members of Boeheim’s Army to throw ceremonial first pitches before the Syracuse Chiefs took on the first place Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The 2016 graduate of Syracuse University said he is excited to be back in town, and wear the Orange once again.

“To be back up here, and to play with some of the guys I watched before I got to college, and guys that I played with in college, it’s just an awesome experience,” Cooney said.

The new guy is a veteran

Cooney is the newest member of Boeheim’s Army, a tournament team with past stars from Syracuse University. The 6’4″ guard was picked up just over a week ago, as he will look to add more offense to what is already a dynamic one to begin with.

As one of the younger players on the roster, Cooney will bring along a fair amount of college experience. The Delaware native has been to two Final Fours, the only player in Syracuse Men’s Basketball history to do so.
“He’s going to work his tail off, he gives 100 percent and never stops.” Boehiem’s Army head coach Ryan Blackwell said. “He stretches the floor, can shoot and do multiple things out there.”

Trying to make it

The versatile shooting guard has made a quick transition from the NCAA, to playing overseas, and too now emerging as a young star in NBA D-League.

“My first year was a great experience I was able to get some experience overseas in the D-League and now back here in New York, playing for the Long Island Nets.”

Cooney started in over one hundred consecutive games for Syracuse.

A fan favorite

“Yeah Cooney is very good, he is clutch,” said Steve Taubart, a long time Syracuse fan. Taubart was taking pictures of Cooney, as the team was signing autographs at NBT Bank Stadium, “He was a great player and took the Orange deep during his time here.”

Down on the field the Chiefs were beating the IronPigs, 5-0, an example Cooney and his teammates hope to follow in the $2-million winner-take-all The Basketball Tournament.

Boeheim’s Army is set to tip off against the Dubois Dream this Saturday in Philadelphia.

Devendorf Hopes Third Time is the Charm

July 7, 2017

Story and photo by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Eric Devendorf plans to lay it all on the line for the Syracuse alumni team, Boeheim’s Army, in “The Basketball Tournament” (TBT) for the 3rd year in a row. Devendorf and six of his teammates threw out ceremonial first pitches at Thursday’s Syracuse Chiefs game against […]

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Story and photo by Matt St. Jean

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Eric Devendorf plans to lay it all on the line for the Syracuse alumni team, Boeheim’s Army, in “The Basketball Tournament” (TBT) for the 3rd year in a row.

Devendorf and six of his teammates threw out ceremonial first pitches at Thursday’s Syracuse Chiefs game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The players then met a long line of Orange fans for pictures and autographs before relaxing with friends and family in a suite provided by the Chiefs. With $2 million dollars on the line in the coming weeks, the support was a welcomed boost for Boeheim’s Army.

Leadership and experience

Playing in the most tournaments on the team, Devendorf has taken on a leadership role, a role which he has embraced much to the delight of returning coach and former SU star, Ryan Blackwell.

“These guys are into it, especially Devendorf,”Blackwell said. “He’s taken it upon himself to be my assistant to get these guys going because he knows what it means,”

Now an SU assistant coach, Devendorf spent several years playing professionally abroad. In addition to being Blackwell’s right hand man he provides insight and experience on the court.

“Playing overseas, in different countries, I learned the game more, I became more patient, matured as a player and a person,” Devendorf said, “When I’m out there on the floor, I know every situation.”
It has to be fun

In his two years of playing, Boeheim’s Army hasn’t made it out of the Northeast Regional with last year’s loss coming at the hands of the Pitt alumni team, FCM Untouchables. The loss still fresh in their minds, the team came together to practice a week early to re-establish their chemistry on and off the court.

“To be able to get back with all these guys, it’s fun, you know, it’s fun,” Devendorf said. “I know we’re competing and playing for money, but you got to have fun with it and enjoy doing it.” .

No. 3

Boeheim’s Army will wear uniforms similar to those worn by the 2003 National Championship team. The team has been given a No. 3 seed in the tournament, the same seed as SU was in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. However, Devendorf isn’t looking past first round opponent DuBois Dream, in Philadelphia on Saturday.

“Just because they don’t have recognizable names doesn’t mean they can’t play, they may go out there, shoot the lights out and shock everyone.” Devendorf said, “That’s why we have to go out there with a one game at a time mindset, focus on these guys, and then after that, hopefully the next.”

The Chiefs set a good example Thursday defeating the first-place Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 5-0.

Chiefs Wait Out Rain, Beat RailRiders 5-2

June 27, 2017

Story by Mike Drew Photos by Jacqueline Mundry SYRACUSE, N.Y. — On Monday night, the Syracuse Chiefs (27-47) needed something to feel good about again. Their recent four-game winning streak was snapped in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday when the Buffalo Bisons scored three runs in the ninth inning to come away with a 7-5 win. This […]

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Story by Mike Drew

Photos by Jacqueline Mundry


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — 
On Monday night, the Syracuse Chiefs (27-47) needed something to feel good about again.

Their recent four-game winning streak was snapped in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday when the Buffalo Bisons scored three runs in the ninth inning to come away with a 7-5 win.

This time, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (46-30) were in town to begin a four-game set.

The Chiefs waited out an hour and 44-minute rain delay in the middle of the fifth to win 5-2 behind a three-run rally in the seventh, during which Catcher Spencer Kieboom ripped a go-ahead two-run single down the left-field line against Scranton Reliever Nestor Cortes.

“Honestly, I was just looking for a fastball away,” Kieboom said. “And if he spun one, I figured it was going to come in. I got lucky and I’d rather be lucky than good sometimes.”

Jackson’s Debut

Veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson made his first start for the Chiefs since being signed as a free agent by the Washington Nationals on June 15.

He threw four no-hit innings on 67 pitches before being yanked.

“His stuff is really good,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said. “His command was really good early, but suffered a little bit late. He threw 67 pitches and 35 strikes. Obviously, the command is the next step for him.”

Quick Start

Jackson was handed a lead in the first inning when center fielder Andrew Stevenson singled, stole second and took third when Scranton catcher Eddy Rodriguez’s throw sailed into center field. Stevenson scored on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Brandon Snyder.

Then, in the second, Syracuse added another run when second baseman Irving Falu picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice grounder to short, scoring left fielder Neftali Soto.

Those were the only two runs RailRiders starter Joe Mantiply would yield in his three innings of work.

Mother Nature Strikes


In the top of the fifth, center fielder Dustin Fowler singled home shortstop Tyler Wade to give Scranton its first run of the night.

Chiefs left-hander Sammy Solis then struck out third baseman Miguel Andujar to end the inning.

Less than 60 seconds after the Solis walked off the mound, the sky opened up.

A torrential downpour ensued and so did the rain delay.

“Some guys hang out, some talk, some play cards,” Kieboom said. “Today I was just watching, getting a vibe as to what we were going to be doing, just trying to stay focused.”

The umpires evaluated the field’s playing condition several times before deciding the game would be resumed.

Major Relief

Once the game started back up, the Chiefs were in a pitching dilemma.

Solis couldn’t continue because of the amount of down time after his last pitch. Thus, Gardner was down to just two available relievers: Cody Satterwhite and Austin Adams.

The game was put in Satterwhite’s hands first. He threw a gutsy 56 pitches.

“He did a great job,” Gardner said. “He got a big double-play for us there with (Donovan) Solano up there in the eighth.”

Prior to that situation, Satterwhite had surrendered the game-tying home run to Scranton right fielder Jake Cave.

Winning Rally

With the game tied 2-2, the Chiefs became aggressive in the bottom of the seventh.

Right fielder Alejandro De Aza led off with a single. Then, Falu dropped a bunt down the first-base line, which was thrown into left field by RailRiders first baseman Ji-Man Choi.

“That really put them into a tough situation,” Gardner said.

Kieboom’s single followed and an insurance run was added on an RBI single by shortstop Emmanuel Burriss.

Adams picked up his third save of the season by tossing a scoreless ninth inning.

Welcome to the Big Leagues

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Al Pedrique took Wade out of the game after the rain delay and no injury was announced.

It was later reported that Wade had been called up by the New York Yankees after their regular shortstop, Starlin Castro, suffered a hamstring injury in Chicago.

What’s Next

The Chiefs will go for their sixth win in seven games behind Sean O’Sullivan (1-1, 3.26 ERA) Tuesday night at 6:35. The RailRiders will counter with Chance Adams (5-2, 2.12 ERA).

Bisons End Ten-Game Skid, Break Chiefs’ Winning Streak

June 25, 2017

Story by Aubrie Tolliver Photos by Jacqueline Mundry SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  They say baseball is a game of streaks. The Syracuse Chiefs were three outs away from a five-game winning streak. The Buffalo Bisons were three outs away from an 11-game losing streak, the worst in the team’s modern era. Both streaks were snapped, as […]

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Story by Aubrie Tolliver

Photos by Jacqueline Mundry

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — 

They say baseball is a game of streaks.

The Syracuse Chiefs were three outs away from a five-game winning streak.

The Buffalo Bisons were three outs away from an 11-game losing streak, the worst in the team’s modern era.

Both streaks were snapped, as the Bisons scored three times in the top of the ninth to beat the Chiefs 7-5 Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium.

Four-straight hits for the Bisons gave the team the late lead, which it kept. Buffalo’s record improves to 35-40 on the season. The Chiefs’ record dropped to 26-47.


Too many pitches

Chiefs’ starter A.J. Cole struggled to settle in, throwing 28 pitches in the first inning, giving up two walks and a hit. He got through the jam unscathed by striking out a couple of Bisons for the first and third outs.

Buffalo, however, got to Cole in the following two innings.

In the second, the team plated two runs on two Chiefs’ errors. And the next inning, three-straight singles brought home another two. It was 4-0 Bisons after three.

 

Chiefs rally

But, the Syracuse bats continued to be trouble for the Bison pitching staff. In the bottom of the third, Andrew Stevenson blasted his first homer of the year over the right-field fence, which ignited the rest of the offense.

A single and hit-by-pitch set the table for Jhonatan Solano, who pulled the ball down the left-field line for a double—his first hit since June 18. The Chiefs inched closer, 4-3.

The comeback was complete the next inning when Caleb Ramsey scored on a Stevenson single through the right side. Stevenson was 3-3 at that point in the game.
Bisons turn the tables

Irving Falu gave his team the lead in the fifth by legging out a triple, which scored Alejandro De Aza—another timely hit. The score remained 5-4 in favor of the Chiefs until the Bisons decided to get some clutch hits of their own.

Single, single, double, single is how it happened. Chiefs’ reliever Wander Suero gave up four-consecutive hits in the top of the ninth, which brought home three runs. After that, Rafael Martin stepped onto the mound and got the inning-ending double play.

But, the damage was done. A near-perfect inning by closer Chris Smith gave the Bisons the 7-5 victory.
Cooking

In an interview back in early May, Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said the team was lacking those clutch hits, which he said led to a losing skid.

“We’ve got to get a few of our guys that we thought would hit to start cooking a little bit,” Gardner said on May 2.

This series, the Chiefs had two walk-off wins from two different players. Robinson hit .533 this series—despite going 0-4 Sunday at the plate. And, Stevenson finished 3-5 on Sunday.

One would have to imagine that is what Gardner meant “cooking”.

“This past stretch has been pretty fun,” said Stevenson in a post-game interview. “We’re just getting timely hits and the pitching has been great. If you can get both of those things that normally equals a win.”

The Chiefs are looking to keep offense and pitching alive, as they are set to begin a four-game series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday night at NBT Bank Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

 

 

Chiefs Beat Bisons for Fourth Straight Win

June 25, 2017

Story by Mike Drew Photos by Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Saturday was “Re-Opening Day” at NBT Bank Stadium, which as it turns out was fitting. Lately, the Syracuse Chiefs (26-46) have been playing like a different team, winning four games in a row, their longest winning streak since mid-April. Conversely, the Buffalo Bisons (34-40) have […]

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Story by Mike Drew

Photos by Aubrie Tolliver


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — 
Saturday was “Re-Opening Day” at NBT Bank Stadium, which as it turns out was fitting.

Lately, the Syracuse Chiefs (26-46) have been playing like a different team, winning four games in a row, their longest winning streak since mid-April.

Conversely, the Buffalo Bisons (34-40) have been in a horrible rut, losing 10 straight and 17 of their last 20.

Both trends continued.

The Chiefs came out 6-5 winners in a back-and-forth game that ended on right fielder Alejandro De Aza’s walk-off single into the gap in right-center.

“We’re in this kind of click of force right now,” Chiefs Manager Billy Gardner said. “We’re pitching better, we’re playing good defense and we’ve been getting some big hits.”

Striking Early

The Chiefs knocked out Buffalo starter Brett Oberholtzer in the second inning before he had even gotten an out in the frame.

Five straight singles created a rally, the last two by Second Baseman Emmanuel Burriss and Center Fielder Andrew Stevenson each drove in a run.

Shortstop Adrian Sanchez followed with a bases-loaded walk to score the third run of the inning and hand the Chiefs what looked like a comfortable lead.

“I thought we were patient,” Gardner said. “We stayed square with the ball and used the whole field.”

Striking Back


All went according to plan for Syracuse starter Greg Ross until the top of the third.

That’s when Buffalo catcher Raffy Lopez stepped to the plate with two on and two out.

He crushed a three-run homer over the right-field fence to tie the game at three (for what it’s worth, he was also 3-for-4 last night).

In the sixth, Lopez continued to terrorize Chiefs pitching.

He launched a solo shot to center to give the Bisons their first lead of the night at 4-3.

Designated hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia popped a sacrifice fly later in the inning to extend the lead to two runs.

Refusing to Quit

The Chiefs put a stop to Buffalo’s momentum right away.

In the bottom of the sixth, Burriss led off with his third single of the night. He scored on an RBI ground-out by left fielder Brandon Snyder.

Designated hitter Clint Robinson then came to the plate with two out and the tying run at third. He reached and out and blooped a game-tying single to left to even the game at 5-5.

“We’ve got a little bit of momentum here,” Robinson said. “I was just trying to stay aggressive, come out and put together good at-bats.”

Walking Off

The Chiefs bullpen held Buffalo scoreless over the final three innings.

Bisons reliever John Stilson walked Snyder to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Robinson followed with a single, advancing the winning run to third.

“He got behind, so I knew I was probably going to get a pitch to hit right there,” Robinson said. “You don’t want to walk two guys in a row to start the ninth, so I was just trying to hit it hard.”

Then, first baseman Neftali Soto was intentionally walked to load the bases, sending up De Aza.

As soon as he made contact, there was no doubt he had won the game. His “single” would’ve easily been good for two or even three bases in any other situation.

What’s Next

The two teams are back at it Sunday to wrap up the four-game series at 1:05. Syracuse will go for the sweep