Student Reporting Archive

Chiefs’ Streak at Three as Falu Strikes Again

June 24, 2017

Story by Aubrie Tolliver Photos by Mike Drew Syracuse, N.Y. — Irving Falu homered for the winning run for the second night in a row, as the Syracuse Chiefs nudged the Buffalo Bisons 2-1 on a humid, Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs offense was backed a solid pitching performance by newcomer Jaron Long. Pitching […]

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Story by Aubrie Tolliver
Photos by Mike Drew


Syracuse, N.Y.
 — Irving Falu homered for the winning run for the second night in a row, as the Syracuse Chiefs nudged the Buffalo Bisons 2-1 on a humid, Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium.

The Chiefs offense was backed a solid pitching performance by newcomer Jaron Long. Pitching in only his second start in Triple-A this season, Long went seven innings, allowing just five hits with seven strikeouts.

The Chiefs put together a three-game winning streak, the longest since winning six in a row back in the middle of April. The team improved to 25-46 on the season. The Bisons, who have won just two of their last 19 games, fell to 34-39.


Pitchers duel

The Falu homer in the bottom of the seventh broke a 1-1 tie, which had lasted four-and-a-half innings. Each team had plated its first run in the second inning.

In the top of the inning, Long allowed his first hit—a Raffy Lopez double down the right-field line. Shane Opitz drove him home two batters later with a single to left but was gunned down trying to advance to second.

In the bottom, Clint Robinson reached base on a groundball single to right field. He would eventually get driven home on a Spencer Kieboom laser through the left side.

It was a pitchers’ duel from there. But Long outlasted Bisons’ starter Mike Bolsinger. Bolsinger was pulled going into the bottom of the seventh after allowing seven hits and the one run. Glenn Sparkman took his place and Falu welcomed him with the banger.

Two are enough

The Chiefs got something going in the bottom of the sixth, leading off the inning with back-to-back singles—first by Andrew Stevenson, then by Adrian Sanchez. However, a line out and a 1-6-3 double play spoiled the opportunity. It was the fourth double play turned by the Bisons defense in seven innings.

Luckily for Syracuse those two runs were all the offense needed, as relief pitchers Erick Feede and Austin Adams shut down the Bisons in the eighth and ninth innings. Adams was credited with the save.

“It starts with pitching,” Robinson said in a post-game interview. He attributes the team’s recent success to the starting pitchers, who have given up nine runs in these past three games. “You feed off of it when you know that all you have to do is put up good at-bats and you’re going to win the game.”

Stevenson, Robinson and Falu each finished with two hits—all singles.

Buffalo’s Raffy Lopez finished 3-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles.

The Bisons and the Chiefs are set to return to NBT Bank Stadium Saturday for game three of this four-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Walk-off Win for Chiefs, with NFLers in the House

June 23, 2017

Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver Syracuse, N.Y. — With his team trailing by one and down to its last out, Irving Falu launched a two-run home run over the right field fence at NBT Bank Stadium Thursday night, giving the Syracuse Chiefs their second consecutive win in a 7-6 victory over the Buffalo Bisons. The two-game […]

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

Syracuse, N.Y. — With his team trailing by one and down to its last out, Irving Falu launched a two-run home run over the right field fence at NBT Bank Stadium Thursday night, giving the Syracuse Chiefs their second consecutive win in a 7-6 victory over the Buffalo Bisons. The two-game winning streak is the Chiefs’ longest in 21 games and the walk-off homer is the first of the season.

There was excitement before the game as well,  Current and former NFL players were on hand,including defensive back Tyvon Branch of the Arizona Cardinals, a Cicero-North Syracuse alum, Bishop Ludden’s Wendall Williams, now a wideout with the Houston Texans, former Indianapolis Colts running back Mike Hart of Onondaga Central and former N.Y. Giants safety Stevie Brown.They were in town for Hart’s annual free football academy for kids.

The Chiefs and Bisons are schedule to play again Friday at 7:05 in the second game of a four-game series.

 

PawSox Beat Rain, Chiefs; High School Champions Honored

June 16, 2017

Story and photo by Jacqueline Mundry SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The rain didn’t stop the Pawtucket Red Sox from taking down the Syracuse Chiefs on Thursday night.  The PawSox (33-29) defeated the Chiefs (20-42) 6-2 to wrap up their four game series, winning three of the four. PawSox Bats   On the third pitch of the game, […]

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Story and photo by Jacqueline Mundry

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The rain didn’t stop the Pawtucket Red Sox from taking down the Syracuse Chiefs on Thursday night.

 The PawSox (33-29) defeated the Chiefs (20-42) 6-2 to wrap up their four game series, winning three of the four.
PawSox Bats
 
On the third pitch of the game, Rusney Castillo hit a solo home run off Sammy Solis for the PawSox to take a 1-0 lead.
The Chiefs looked like they were gaining momentum when Brandon Snyder hit a solo blast in the second half of the inning.
The Chiefs couldn’t get their bats going for the remainder of the game while the PawSox had no problem.
“We gotta swing the bat,” Chiefs Manager Billy Gardner said.
The PawSox continued to swing their bats. Castillo hit a second home run in the sixth inning and Dan Butler contributed with two hits and two RBIs.
The Chiefs had a chance to come from behind and tie it up for the second night in a row when they had two on in the fourth inning. But Andrew Stevenson grounded out to end the inning.
Bad weather
 
The rain started coming down in the third inning and continued on and off for the rest of the game.
“It was a tough night to play,” Gardner said. “Both teams gotta play through it. It’s difficult on the pitchers.”
The two teams have battled the rain twice this series, including a 43-minute rain delay in Tuesday’s doubleheader, which the PawSox swept.
Notes
 
The Liverpool boys baseball team won the Class AA State Championship and the Solvay girls softball team won the Class B State Championship. Both teams were honored by throwing out the first pitch.
With a 20-42 record,the Chiefs are currently ranked last in all of major and minor league baseball.
Up Next
 
The Chiefs will hit the road and travel to Lehigh Valley for a three game series and then to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for another three games before returning home to play Buffalo June 22.
The PawSox will head home to take on Rochester and Lehigh Valley.

Chiefs Break Streak, Beat PawSox at Last

June 15, 2017

Story By Brianna Adams Photo by Jacqueline Mundry SYRACUSE, N.Y.—After being swept in a doubleheader Tuesday night, the Syracuse Chiefs beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 7-6, Wednesday night. The Chiefs had lost ten straight against Pawtucket and the come-from-behind win was Chiefs’ first against the PawSox at NBT Bank Stadium this season. “It’s always great […]

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Story By Brianna Adams
Photo by Jacqueline Mundry

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—After being swept in a doubleheader Tuesday night, the Syracuse Chiefs beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 7-6, Wednesday night. The Chiefs had lost ten straight against Pawtucket and the come-from-behind win was Chiefs’ first against the PawSox at NBT Bank Stadium this season.

“It’s always great to get the win column and to do it from behind, I think it makes us stronger,” said center fielder Andrew Stevenson, who went two-for three with a walk, scored twice and had two runs batted in.

Solano, Stevenson, and Snyder Surge

Pawtucket was up 3-0 when the Chiefs got their first  run in the bottom of the fourth. A grounder from Jhonatan Solano brought Alejandro De Aza in to get Syracuse on the board.

Two innings later Stevenson’s hot night began with a massive triple deep into center field bringing in two more runs. The Chiefs got three in the inning but were still down 5-4 and in the top of the eighth Syracuse allowed Pawtucket one more run to widen the gap.

But in the bottom of the eighth Brandon Snyder smacked a deep ball into center field. This brought in two more runs and gave Syracuse its first lead of the game, 7-6.

Wander Suero shut down the PawSox in the ninth and the Chiefs had the win.

“Everyone was pulling the same rope and grinding that bat in the win,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said.

 

Pawtucket Loss of Momentum

Pawtucket had a solid start with back-to-back runs in the top of the fourth to snag an early lead.

Starting pitcher Shawn Haviland gave up four runs in his start. Immediately after Stevenson’s triple, Haviland was pulled to bring in Ty Buttrey. Chiefs’ Wilmer Difo was the first to face Buttrey and knocked in a run on an error by shortstop Ryan Court.

 

What’s Next

The series finishes Thursday at NBT Bank Stadium.  First pitch  is at 6:35 pm.

Pawtucket Sweeps Chiefs in Damp Doubleheader

June 14, 2017

Story by Jake Lapin Photos by Jacqueline Mundry SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Pawtucket Red Sox continued their dominance of the Syracuse Chiefs Tuesday night, sweeping a in a rain-delayed doubleheader at NBT Bank Stadium. The PawSox won 7-1 and 6-3, improving to 10-1 against Syracuse this season. The Chiefs dropped to 19-41, 22 games back […]

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Story by Jake Lapin
Photos by Jacqueline Mundry

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Pawtucket Red Sox continued their dominance of the Syracuse Chiefs Tuesday night, sweeping a in a rain-delayed doubleheader at NBT Bank Stadium. The PawSox won 7-1 and 6-3, improving to 10-1 against Syracuse this season.

The Chiefs dropped to 19-41, 22 games back of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the International League North division. The PawSox have now won the past 10 games against Syracuse, after the Chiefs took the first game of the season series. Pawtucket has won 16 of its last 20 games to climb back over .500 and into third place in the North.

Game 1: Sox Surge Late

After a 43-minute rain delay, the Chiefs took the lead in the first on a Clint Robinson single, but it was Pawtucket the rest of the way. The PawSox capitalized on some sloppy play from Syracuse for three multi-run innings en route to the 7-1 victory.

Pawtucket took a 2-1 lead on a wild pitch by Greg Ross in the fifth inning. Ross took the loss after five innings of two-run ball. He dropped to 2-5 on the year, with a 6.38 ERA.

Then in the sixth, Chiefs shortstop Adrian Sanchez had two errors on one play, bobbling a potential double-play grounder and then tossing it into right field, which led to two unearned runs.

Rafael Martin entered in the seventh and gave up three runs on three hits and failing to record an out. It could have been worse, but Neal Cotts escaped a bases-loaded, no outs jam after inheriting Martin’s runners. Cotts has a sub-2 ERA in his past 21 outings since April 9.

Bryce Brentz went 2-for-3 for the PawSox, with an RBI single and two runs scored. Noe Ramirez was awarded the win after two-and-a-third scoreless innings in relief.

Game 2: Chiefs Bats Go Silent

It was more of the same in the second half of the doubleheader for Syracuse. A couple more errors and a towering home run by Brentz powered the PawSox to the 6-3 win.

Kyle McGowin struggled in his five-inning start, allowing five earned runs, six total, on eight hits and three walks, with just one strikeout.

But it was the bats that are truly to blame, as the Chiefs mustered up just seven hits combined in the 14-innings. Caleb Ramsey and Adrian Sanchez, with two hits each, made up more than half the Chiefs’ offense.

“They’ve got pretty good arms,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said after the game. “Olmos really knows how to pitch. We just couldn’t get anything going.”

Notes:

Gardner managed his 3,000th, and 3,001st, game of his minor league managing career. which includes  22 seasons and eleven different teams.

“I’m not really into individual records,” Gardner said. “It means I’ve been around a long time I guess.”


The Chiefs have been making moves. There were six roster transactions on the day, some of which affected today’s lineups. Wilmer Difo started the second game at short and went hitless after getting optioned down from Washington.  Spencer Kieboom caught the first game, going 1-for-2 with a walk.

“Difo’s going to be our everyday shortstop,” Gardner said. “Kieboom will split the catching duties behind the plate.”

Erick Fedde, the first round pick of the Nats in 2014, got promoted from Double-A Harrisburg, but was not available to pitch tonight, but Gardner hopes he will arrive in time for tomorrow’s game.

At their current record, the Chiefs have a winning percentage of .317.  They are on pace to be the worst in team history since 1921, when the team posted a 33-116 record, good for a .221 win percentage.

What’s Next:

The Chiefs close out the home stand with the final two games of the series against Pawtucket before heading to Lehigh for the weekend.

The PawSox head back home to face Rochester following this four-game set in Syracuse.

Columbus Clips Chiefs 3-2 in Ten Innings

June 4, 2017

Story by Mike Drew Photos by Jake Lapin SYRACUSE, N.Y. — NBT Bank Stadium was rocking. A near-capacity 10,369 patrons were in attendance to see the Chiefs (17-34) take on the Columbus Clippers (26-29) in the second of a 3-game weekend set. It was Little League night at the ballpark and countless local youngsters paraded around […]

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Story by Mike Drew

Photos by Jake Lapin


SYRACUSE, N.Y. —
 NBT Bank Stadium was rocking. A near-capacity 10,369 patrons were in attendance to see the Chiefs (17-34) take on the Columbus Clippers (26-29) in the second of a 3-game weekend set.

It was Little League night at the ballpark and countless local youngsters paraded around the warning track prior to the game’s first pitch.

“With all these people here, these are the games you have to win,” Syracuse General Manager Jason Smorol said.

His team didn’t.

Despite the Chiefs’ rally to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, a Chris Colabello solo home run put the Clippers back on top in the tenth, leading to a 3-2 victory.


Bug Spreading


Syracuse starter Sean O’Sullivan lasted only three innings Saturday night.

When he was removed, it was unclear as to why. No injury was announced and he had held the Clippers scoreless and allowed only two hits.

After the game, it was revealed that O’Sullivan was the latest victim of a stomach bug spreading quickly and violently around the Chiefs’ clubhouse.

“We were very concerned that he could even go out and start tonight,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said. “He gave us everything he had.”

As a result, the Syracuse bullpen had to chip in more than originally expected.

For the most part, it did just fine. Cody Satterwhite went three innings in relief and Trevor Gott and Rafael Martin each pitched two.

“Those guys went out there and gave us some much needed innings,” Gardner said. “We were pretty short down there.”

Fighting Through

Another victim of the bug was First Baseman Matt Skole.

“It sucks,” he said. “I actually got it last night and didn’t get much sleep.”

It didn’t show.

Skole was the best offensive contributor for the Chiefs all night. He answered an RBI single by Columbus’ Jeremy Lucas with a solo homer into the party porch in right in the bottom of the fourth.

He later ripped a double down the right field line in the sixth.

“I was just trying to keep it simple and get a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it,” Skole said. “And whatever happens, happens.”

Wild Sequence

Colabello punched a 2-out RBI single off of Gott to give Columbus a 2-1 lead in the seventh.

The lead held until the ninth.

Righty Shawn Armstrong was brought in to try to close things out for the Clippers. Catcher Jhonatan Solano led off the frame with a single to center. Pedro Severino then pinch-ran for him and took second base on a wild pitch.

Right fielder Joey Butler followed with another single and Severino was held at third,  placing the tying run 90 feet away with nobody out.

Then came Center Fielder Andrew Stevenson’s at-bat.

The left-hand batter hit a sharp grounder to third. Columbus’ Giovanny Urshela got Butler out at second. Then, second baseman Todd Hankins threw to first, but Stevenson beat it out.

At that point, Severino decided to charge home. Hankins threw there, but the ball went underneath Catcher Erik Kratz’s glove and seemingly disappeared.

Severino scored safely and Stevenson took second base before the ball was ever found.

After all that, the Chiefs couldn’t get the winning run in. Third Baseman Grant Green grounded out to third and Shortstop Irving Falu bounced out to second.

“We just couldn’t get the big hit and that was pretty much the difference in the game,” Gardner said.

The Colabello homer came in the next half-inning and right-hander Jeff Johnson retired the Chiefs in order in the bottom of the tenth to earn the save.

Up Next

The Chiefs will try to salvage the final game of the series Sunday at 1:05. Right-hander Greg Ross (4-3, 5.69 ERA) will go for Syracuse against the Clippers’ Julian Merryweather.

Clippers Pound Chiefs

June 3, 2017

Story by Brianna Adams Photos by Jacqueline Mundry SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Chiefs  fell to the Columbus Clippers in the opener of a 3-game series at NBT Bank Stadium Friday night, 11-5. Behind the bat of Richie Shaffer and capitalizing on the poor pitching performance, the Clippers (25-29) grabbed the lead in the first inning and held on […]

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Story by Brianna Adams

Photos by Jacqueline Mundry

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Chiefs  fell to the Columbus Clippers in the opener of a 3-game series at NBT Bank Stadium Friday night, 11-5.

Behind the bat of Richie Shaffer and capitalizing on the poor pitching performance, the Clippers (25-29) grabbed the lead in the first inning and held on until the end.

“A couple of big innings on their part and we couldn’t make the quality pitches,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said.

 

Clippers Offense

In the top of the first, the Clippers got on the board after Chiefs pitcher Kyle McGowin loaded the bases bringing Richie Shaffer at the plate. The right fielder grounded into a double play but Yandy Diaz reached home plate to take the lead 1-0.

Chiefs DH Ryan Raburn hit a solo homer to right field in the bottom of the first to tie the score up but the Clippers broke the game open in the third.

After McGowin loaded the bases for the second time, Shaffer hit the first pitch for a grand slam to left center field give Columbus a 6-1 lead.

 

Chiefs respond but can’t keep up

Brandon Snyder responded with a 3-run homer to cut the Clippers lead to two.

“It’s kind of a shift in momentum so we were excited,” Snyder said. “It kind of brought the momentum back on our side but he went out and pitched us well.”

Adam Plutko pitched six innings for the Clippers giving up five runs on just four hits and Louis Head and Shawn Armstong shut down the Chiefs (17-33) the rest of the way on just one hit.

 

The bullpen


The Syracuse bullpen continued to rotate through its pitchers, once again using five in the loss to Columbus.

Starting pitcher McGowin struggled from the beginning, loading up the bases twice in three innings resulting in six runs. The right-hander wound up throwing 100 pitches in five innings. He
gave up nine runs, eight of them earned on seven hits and six walks.

Every pitcher thereafter spent a single inning trying to stop Clippers’ power hitters. Only Neal Cotts and Rafael Martin escaped without allowing any runs.

 

Up Next

The Chiefs offered a fireworks show after the game.

The teams will face each other in game two of the series Saturday at 7:05 in NBT Bank Stadium.

Chiefs Take Series with 8-4 Win

June 2, 2017

Story by Jacqueline Mundry Photos by Mike Drew SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It was the third game in two days for the Syracuse Chiefs and Charlotte Knights Thursday night, coming off a doubleheader split at NBT Bank Stadium the night before and the Chiefs got a rare series win, taking the game 8-4 and the series 2-1. […]

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Story by Jacqueline Mundry

Photos by Mike Drew

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It was the third game in two days for the Syracuse Chiefs and Charlotte Knights Thursday night, coming off a doubleheader split at NBT Bank Stadium the night before and the Chiefs got a rare series win, taking the game 8-4 and the series 2-1.

The Chiefs got their bats going in the fourth inning. With the score tied at two,  they scored five runs on a pair of walks, three Charlotte errors and doubles from Brandon Snyder and Ryan Raburn.

The Knights committed six errors in the game.

“Top of the lineup really made us go,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said. “Sanchez, Snyder, Raburn really got some key hits for us. We played really good defense. On their end, they played sloppy defensively.”

Bullpen Problems

The Knights has the bases loaded with two out in the ninth, but Trevor Gott got Carson Blair to ground out to end the game.

Despite getting away with the win, the Chiefs bullpen has an ERA of 7.55.

On Thursday night, four pitchers were on the mound for Syracuse. A.J. Cole, who got the win, giving up three runs on seven hits, Austin Adams, Neal Cotts and Gott gave up a total of 13 hits, compared to the Syracuse batters who only had eight.

“It doesn’t matter, the outcome is that we won 8-4,” Gardner said.

 

Similar Meeting

This is the second series between the two clubs this season and both ended the same.

In mid-May, the Chiefs traveled to Charlotte for a three game series and like this one, Syracuse won two out of the three.

The series in Charlotte also featured a doubleheader that was split between the two teams.

This is the last meeting between the teams in the 2017 regular season.

 

Up Next

The Chiefs will continue their home stand when they host the Columbus Clippers this weekend, before heading to Pawtucket to begin another road trip.

The Knights will head to Buffalo before returning home on Monday.

Chiefs and Knights Split

June 1, 2017

Story by Mike Drew Photos by Jacqueline Mundry SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After Tuesday night’s rain-out, both the Syracuse Chiefs and the Charlotte Knights got a beautiful 70-degree evening to play a doubleheader at NBT Bank Stadium. The games were polar opposites of each other. In game one, the Knights (26-25) used three home runs to slug […]

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Story by Mike Drew

Photos by Jacqueline Mundry


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — 
After Tuesday night’s rain-out, both the Syracuse Chiefs and the Charlotte Knights got a beautiful 70-degree evening to play a doubleheader at NBT Bank Stadium.

The games were polar opposites of each other. In game one, the Knights (26-25) used three home runs to slug their way to a 12-5 win. Then, game two went to extra innings and the Chiefs (16-32_ emerged with a 3-2 win courtesy of Andrew Stevenson’s walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth.

“You drop the first one, what’s better than getting another chance right after that?,” Stevenson said. “Doubleheaders can be kind of tricky sometimes, but we split.”


Game One


Syracuse sent Austin Voth (1-6, 5.82 ERA) to the mound to start the opening game.

The result wasn’t pretty.

“Voth didn’t have his A-game tonight,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said. “He made some mistakes and paid for them. It was just one of those nights for him.”

The Knights pieced together five runs in the first inning. Right fielder Cody Asche knocked in two on an RBI single and Designated hitter Rymer Liriano followed with a bases-clearing double that scored three.

The Chiefs attempted to make things interesting against premier White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito (2-5, 5.44 ERA) in the third and fourth innings. In the third, First Baseman Matt Skole punched an RBI single to right. Shortstop Adrian Sanchez golfed an RBI double in the fourth to get the Chiefs within 5-2.

After that, the Knights turned on their power display. They went back-to-back in the fifth when Asche crushed a two-run shot to right and Catcher Aaron Blair followed with a solo shot to center.

For good measure, they added on in the sixth. First Baseman Danny Hayes clobbered a grand slam to right against reliever Michael Broadway to make it 12-3.

Voth’s final pitching line featured five innings, eight hits and eight runs. It was certainly not the performance Gardner was looking for in the first game of a twin bill.

Game Two

The second game was much smoother.

Both starters gave their teams decent length in a seven-inning game. Charlotte’s Reynaldo Lopez (5-2, 3.81 ERA) went six and yielded two runs, only one earned. For the Chiefs, righty Dustin Antolin (2-1, 4.50 ERA) lasted four innings and gave up two earned runs.

Once again, the Knights scored first via an Asche RBI double in the second. Then, Left fielder Jason Bourgeois rolled an infield single to plate another run and make it 2-0.

The Chiefs got on the board in the third on designated hitter Clint Robinson’s RBI single to left.

In the sixth, left fielder Joey Butler scorched a two-out RBI double off the center field wall against Charlotte reliever Zack Burdi. The game was tied at two and would require extra innings.

Chiefs right-hander Rafael Martin kept the Knights scoreless in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for what happened next.

Butler hit an infield single to put the winning run on base. He got to second on a passed ball and third on a ground out by Catcher Jhonatan Solano.

Then came Stevenson.

Coming into Wednesday’s action, the number five prospect in the Nationals’ system had hit 2-20 on the Chiefs’ latest road trip.

“This is the first real adversity he’s had to face since he’s been here,” Gardner said. “Probably in his life.”

He responded.

Stevenson took a 97 mile-per-hour fastball and ripped it into the right-center field gap to walk it off and hand the Chiefs a much needed 3-2 victory.

“You always want to be up in that situation,” Stevenson said. “It was something special.”

 

What’s Next

The two teams are at it again Thursday night (6/1) at NBT Bank Stadium in the final game of a three-game set. Right-hander A.J. Cole (1-2, 6.03 ERA) will start for the Chiefs. Charlotte will counter with right-hander Tyler Danish (1-3, 3.15 ERA). First pitch is at 6:35.

IronPigs Sweep Chiefs with Third Straight One-Run Win

May 21, 2017

Story by Jacqueline Mundry Photos by Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE, N.Y.  — The first and the worst teams in the International League North Division ended their three game series at NBT Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon in familiar fashion. After winning the first two games by a run in the ten innings, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs defeated the […]

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Story by Jacqueline Mundry

Photos by Aubrie Tolliver

SYRACUSE, N.Y.  — The first and the worst teams in the International League North Division ended their three game series at NBT Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon in familiar fashion.

After winning the first two games by a run in the ten innings, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs defeated the Syracuse Chiefs 3-2, this time scoring all their runs in the ninth inning.

It was the second largest crowd of the season and while the rain was on and off the 4,213 fans still enjoyed themselves at Bark in the Park Day where animal shelters brought dogs in with the hope of getting them adopted.

The pregame festivities included a successful proposal of marriage by Connor Abdo to Jenna Chrysler.

 

Pitchers Duel

Lehigh Valley’s Ben Lively and Syracuse’s Kyle McGowin both pitched six innings and neither gave up a run.

The game was scoreless through seven and a half innings before the Chiefs got their bats going against Lehigh Valley’s Michael Mariot.

In the bottom of the seventh with two out and no one on base, Brandon Snyder got on with a double to right field. Pedro Severino then singled to drive Snyder home.

Mariot pitched one inning and gave up one run.

 

The Comeback

The number one team in the North Division wasn’t going to go down without a fight, and for the second day in a row the IronPigs made a comeback.

The first batter in the bottom of the ninth, Nick Williams, hit a solo shot tying the game at one.

Syracuse reliever Joe Nathan then walked Cameron Perkins and Taylor Featherston hit a two-run home run to take the 3-1 lead over the Chiefs.

Despite giving up two home runs, Chiefs manager, Billy Gardner said he’s pleased with Nathan’s performance so far this season.

“We’ve been really happy with what he’s been doing,”   Gardner said. “Today’s one of those days that, that happens, and you go out there and you don’t make pitches and guys blow saves.”


A Second Comeback?

In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Chiefs tried to stage a comeback of their own but fell short.

Caleb Ramsey singled and pinch hitter, Clint Robinson hit one to center field to send Ramsey to third base. Ramsey eventually scored off of Irving Falu’s line drive but that was the last run for the Chiefs and the IronPigs completed their three-game sweep as Adrian Sanchez struck out, stranding pinch runner Corban Joseph at third.

Gardner found a silver lining in the sweep.

“We battled, I thought we competed and that’s really all we can ask,” he said. “It’s frustrating a little bit because it kind of takes its toll on you as far as team morale but we were in position last night we were in position today to close it out, we just couldn’t get it done.”

 

Up Next

The Chiefs will hit the road for the next week playing at Charlotte and Gwinnett before returning home on May 30.

 

The IronPigs will head home to face Indianapolis and Louisville.

IronPigs Down Chiefs in Ten Innings Again

May 20, 2017

Story and photo by Aubrie Tolliver Syracuse, N.Y. — For the second game in a row, the Syracuse Chiefs and Lehigh Valley IronPigs went into extra innings. And just as in Friday night’s game, the IronPigs scored in the top of the tenth to beat the Chiefs 4-3 Saturday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. This time, […]

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Story and photo by Aubrie Tolliver

Syracuse, N.Y. — For the second game in a row, the Syracuse Chiefs and Lehigh Valley IronPigs went into extra innings. And just as in Friday night’s game, the IronPigs scored in the top of the tenth to beat the Chiefs 4-3 Saturday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. This time, after they’d scored two in the ninth to send it into the extra frame.

“The thing about their team is that they’re so talented,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said. “You make a mistake and you’re going to pay for it.”

Chiefs take early lead

The sun was beaming down on NBT Bank Stadium, flying high behind the home plate for most of the game, which is something the fans–and the team, for that matter–have been waiting for as the second month of the season comes to a close.

The sun, however, created a problem for Lehigh Valley second baseman Pedro Floriman when he lost Rafael Bautista’s high popup in the bottom of the third.

It should have been the final out of the inning.

Instead, the Chiefs plated their first run of the game as Caleb Ramsey scored from second base.

It went in the books as an earned run, since the ball landed a few feet in front of Floriman, who was ducking out of the way, afraid it was going to land on the top of his head.

Lehigh Valley immediately responded in the top of the fourth. The IronPigs had the bases loaded with two out when starting pitcher A.J. Cole missed the base as he took a toss from Clint Robinson on a ground ball to the first baseman, allowing all runners to safely advance and Taylor Featherston to score. The run was unearned.

Irving Falu gave the Chiefs the lead two innings later on a line drive that went just over the outstretched arm of Floriman. Adrian Sanchez expanded the lead the following inning, launching his third homer of the season.

 

The Comeback

Syracuse led 3-1 until the ninth. Manager Billy Gardner then put Rafael Martin in charge of closing out the game, but Martin was unsuccessful in his efforts. J.P. Crawford and Cameron Berkins drove in a run apiece on line drives to center field, tying the game at three.

A scoreless bottom of the inning for the Chiefs gave the IronPigs another opportunity to win it in extra innings and Nick Williams took advantage of it by smashing his fourth homer of the season, this one off Chiefs right-hander Cody Sadderwhite.

Syracuse had two runners on with two out in the bottom of the tenth, but Pedro Beato struck out Brandon Snyder giving the Chiefs their seventh loss in their last eight games.
Notes

  • Andrew Stevenson, who has struggled at the plate since being called up almost two weeks ago, batting .188 in those 13 games, racked up two hits.
  • Sanchez is hitting a team-high .312 on the season and continued to prove be the most consistent hitter for the Chiefs, going 1-3 with the long ball.
  • Lehigh’s starting pitcher Thomas Eshelman went eight innings allowing two earned runs while striking out four. He was also 2-2 at the plate in his first two at bats of the season.
  • The game-time temperature bounced around the upper sixties–a change from Friday night’s game and most of the other games this season where players were having to warm their bats and hands beneath the heaters planted in the dugout.

“Obviously baseball is made for warm weather,” Gardner said in a post-game interview. But, he insisted the weather has not affected the outcomes of the                  previous games, since both teams on the field have to endure the same circumstances.

  • The Chiefs’ pitching staff has a league-worst 5.59 ERA–a full run above the next team average. But, in the past two games, the pitching staff has allowed no more than four runs to the IronPigs–the team with the best record in the division, 28-14.
  • Syracuse possesses the worst division record at 13-25.

 

Coming Up

The Chiefs will look to salvage the final game of the series against Lehigh Valley Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. First pitch is set, once again, for 1:05 p.m.

 

IronPigs Take the Bacon

May 20, 2017

Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver Syracuse, N.Y. — What amounted to a swinging bunt in the top of the tenth inning made the difference as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs topped the Syracuse Chiefs 3-2 in extra innings Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium. On another chilly night (57 degrees at first pitch) that had fans […]

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

Syracuse, N.Y. — What amounted to a swinging bunt in the top of the tenth inning made the difference as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs topped the Syracuse Chiefs 3-2 in extra innings Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium.

On another chilly night (57 degrees at first pitch) that had fans and players bundled up, the Chiefs had ten hits in the game but only managed to turn any of them into runs in the fifth inning.

Newcomer Andrew Stevenson singled on a ground ball up the middle, which plated Grant Green. Clint Robinson earned the only other RBI with a ground ball to right field two batters later.

The Lehigh Valley hitters, sporting their iconic “Bacon USA” jerseys, countered the following inning, also plating two runs. In the top of the sixth, the Chiefs starting hurler Austin Voth, who tossed four hitless innings to begin the game, found himself in a bases-loaded, no-outs situation after three consecutive singles. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Rhys Hoskins plated the first run and a Nick Williams infield single brought home the second.

It remained a 2-2 tie after nine innings. But, the IronPigs needed just one more inning to seal the victory.

Big hit + little hit = winning run

In the top of the tenth, Lehigh Valley’s Hector Gomez pulled an inside pitch down the right field line. By the time the defense got it back into the infield, he was standing third base with his first triple of the year. The Chiefs’ right-hander Mike Broadway went on to strike out the next two batters and seemed on the verge of doing the same to batter number four.

But on the 0-2 pitch, Jorge Alfaro swung and barely got a piece of the ball. It was hit slowly down the third base side in a spot where no infielder could get to it and went in the books as an RBI single–the winning RBI single as Gomez scored.

Up 3-2 in the last half of the tenth, closer Pedro Beato shut the door on the Chiefs’ offense, recording his 12th save of the season. Pat Venditte earned his fourth win while Broadway was tagged with his first loss.

Next

The IronPigs now stand at 27-14 on the season while the Chiefs fall to a division-worst 13-24.

The teams will play game two of the three-game series Saturday at NBT Bank with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

Orange Men Down Yale by What Else? One.

May 14, 2017

Photos by Dontae Harris SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Bulldogs came out barking Sunday night at the Carrier Dome and almost managed to take a big bite out of the No.2 Syracuse Orange men. But with a strong second half and a stalwart stint by Evan Molloy in the goal, Syracuse came back to hold off Yale […]

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Photos by Dontae Harris

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Bulldogs came out barking Sunday night at the Carrier Dome and almost managed to take a big bite out of the No.2 Syracuse Orange men. But with a strong second half and a stalwart stint by Evan Molloy in the goal, Syracuse came back to hold off Yale 11-10 and advance in the NCAA men’s Lacrosse Tournament.

Syracuse won its ninth one-goal game of the year and will face Towson in Newark, Del. in the quarter finals next weekend.
“I guess it’s practice,” SU head coach John Desko said when asked how his team wins so many tight games.” Practice makes perfect, right?”

Grrrr

Showing they were not about to be intimidated, the unranked Ivy League champions, also known as the Eli, bounded onto the field with a brashness that irked some of the Orange players and led to some up close and personal conversations, although nothing physical. That would wait for the game.

The Orange scored first on a Brendan Bomberry shot just 1:17 in. The Eli tied it on a Matt Gaudet goal with 9:36 left in the quarter and then went up 2-1 on Joseph Sessa’s score.

Freshman Jamie Trimboli answered for the Orange but Lucas Cotler got Yale the lead back and it looked as if it would hold it to the end of the quarter. But Sergio Salcido fired in a buzzer beater from distance to tie it at 3.

What was remarkable about the tie was that Yale outshot Syracuse 20-5 in the quarter and took all but one faceoff. The Eli wound up taking 42 shots in the game to the Orange’s 29.

 

Reeves shines

Syracuse took its first lead on a Nick Mariano shot that left him sprawling from a defensive hit. Mariano got in the defender’s face and instead of grabbing momentum, the Orange found itself a man down with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“I let my emotions get out of hand a little bit and Coach Desko let me hear about it,” Mariano said. “I learned my lesson and that’s it.”

Yale’s Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Ben Reeves then asserted himself as the Eli went on a 3-0 run. Reeves sandwiched two goals around Cotler’s second, including a point-blanker with eight seconds left in the half. Reeves had two goals and two assists in the half.

“He’s their motor and he’s a great one,” Desko said.

Molloy was stellar in goal with nine saves for the Orange but couldn’t completely stop the Yale barrage and Yale had a 6-4 lead at the half.

Syracuse struggled for possessions as faceoff man Ben Williams managed just one out of 11 in the half against Yale’s Conor Mackie.

 

Orange comes alive

Yale extended the lead to 7-4 barely a minute into the third quarter with a Jackson Morrill goal, but the Orange then came to life, going on a 5-1 run for the rest of the quarter to take a 9-8 lead with 15 minutes left.

First Nate Solomon closed the lead to two and then Brad Voigt put one in with the Orange a man up. Gaudet got his second for Yale, but Mariano, Jordan Evans and Trimboli scores gave the Orange the lead.

Desko substituted Dan Varello for Williams at the X but without a lot more success, as he took 3 of 10 faceoffs. Mackie wound up with 18 of 22.

 

Molloy is the man

After Molloy stopped Morrill’s would-be tying shot with his 13th save, Ryan Simmons gave SU a two-goal lead at 10-8 and the Orange seemed to have momentum with under ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Or not.

Yale came up with the ball after a lengthy scrum off the faceoff and the 6’ 3” Reeves took over with a snipe from up top, over the head of Scott Firman and past Molloy, cutting the Syracuse lead back to one at 7:12.

Barely a minute later, Reeves did it again with his 42nd goal of the season, bulling past Firman and blasting it home for the tie. There was 6:01 left in regulation.

His fourth goal of the night made it 10-10.

“Scotty played great on Ben Reeves and he’s just a great shooter,” Molloy said. “Honestly, I’ll take the blame for probably all those.”

And again Yale controlled the faceoff.

But a Molloy save on a shot by Mackie gave Syracuse the ball back.

After a timeout by Syracuse at 3:12, Yale’s Phil Huffard saved a Trimboli shot to maintain the tie. But the Orange got it back and Stephen Rephus scored on a perfect feed from Evans behind the cage with 2:09 and the Orange led 11-10.

“I think there was a miscommunication on defense and they kind of both went to him just one step, and then Jordan found me,” Rephus said.

Mackie took the draw for Yale. Again.

The Bulldogs attacked but Firman at last got the best of Reeves, knocking the ball out of his stick. As Yale tried to shovel it home, the ball came loose in a pileup in front of the cage and Molloy dug it out.

Desko took a timeout with :25.5 to go.

The Orange moved it around, running out the clock and with three seconds left, Mariano fired it up in the air. It came down in Yale goalie Huffard’s stick in time for him to heave it the length of the field.

And.

Molloy stopped it again.

OK, it was off-target to the left of the goal, but Molloy made sure there’d be no crazy bounce to keep the Eli alive.

“Defensively, we were giving up shots I could see,” Molloy said. “I think the difference was I was seeing the ball well inside. Really it was just a great team defensive effort.”

The redshirt senior from Long Island made 15 saves on the night.

“He played great,” Desko understated in a postgame interview with ESPN. “Evan came up big for us.”

Bisons Rout Chiefs, 9-3 in Series Opener

May 9, 2017

Story By Robert Schiff Photos By Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After a stretch that saw the Chiefs drop their last four games,scoring only six runs, Syracuse returned home for a three-game set on Monday against the Buffalo Bisons hoping for better results. Instead on a night so cold that fans, players and umpires were bundled […]

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Story By Robert Schiff

Photos By Aubrie Tolliver

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After a stretch that saw the Chiefs drop their last four games,scoring only six runs, Syracuse returned home for a three-game set on Monday against the Buffalo Bisons hoping for better results. Instead on a night so cold that fans, players and umpires were bundled up, the Chiefs lost their fifth in a row.

Despite a hot start for the home team, it was all Buffalo the rest of the way, as the Bisons defeated the Chiefs, 9-3, to take the series opener at NBT Bank Stadium. The the Chiefs (9-17), who now find themselves in last place, seven games behind Buffalo (17-11) in the International League North.

 

 

Out of Nowhere

With the recent departure of catcher Mike Ohlman, who was called up by the Blue Jays,  Buffalo promoted Raffy Lopez from Double-A New Hampshire on Sunday, and the move paid dividends for the Bisons immediately.

Making just his second start of the season, Lopez made the most of his opportunity. With one on, and his team trailing by one in the top of the second inning, the newly promoted catcher crushed a two-run shot to right center field, putting Buffalo on top, 2-1.

In his next at-bat, this time with two runners on in the fifth, Lopez hit a towering fly ball that cleared the right field wall by more than 50 feet. His second home run of the game gave the Bisons a 5-1 lead after four innings of play. The 29 year-old catcher finished with five RBI on the night, going 2-for-4.

Buffalo tacked on two more runs in the fifth, extending its lead to six, and then two more in the ninth to complete the scoring.
Team Effort

About an hour before first pitch, Buffalo’s starting pitcher Casey Lawrence was scratched after being designated for assignment and relief pitcher

Murphy Smith took over as a last-minute replacement.

Smith found himself in some trouble in the first, but limited the damage to only one run, as he got both Clint Robinson and Pedro Severino to fly out with two runners in scoring position. Smith then retired the side in order in the second inning.

With two outs in the third, Smith found himself in another jam after giving up back-to-back hits to Matt Skole and Brandon Snyder, but again battled through, and got Robinson to pop up to the catcher, ending the threat for the Chiefs.

It was Robinson’s second-straight at-bat stranding two runners in scoring position. Leonel Campos took over and pitched the next two innings, giving up just one hit to collect his first win of the season.

Chad Girodo tossed four quality innings for the Bisons – his longest outing of the season – giving up four hits and two runs, and striking out four.

 

 Signs of Life

After going just 5-for-34 in his last nine games, Chiefs left fielder Brandon Snyder had a breakout night, going 3-for-4, and driving in three runs. Snyder crushed his sixth homer of the season over the right field wall in the bottom of the 8th, cutting the Bisons’ lead to four at the time.

After getting roughed up in his last two appearances, longtime MLB closer Joe Nathan looked impressive for Syracuse, retiring the Bisons in order in the 8th inning.

 

What Lies Ahead

It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Chiefs, as they continue their three-game series with Buffalo at 1:05 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Austin Voth (1-3, 5.63) will be on the hill for Syracuse, taking on Jarrett Grube (2-2, 4.68).

 

 

Chiefs’ Snyder: “Time for Us to Man Up”

May 9, 2017

Story by Lauren Walsh Photos by Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE, N.Y. – On a frigid night at NBT Bank Stadium that saw the Syracuse Chiefs’ lose their fifth straight game, this one to the Buffalo Bisons, 9-3, the Chiefs Brandon Snyder had a hot bat. He went 3-4 with two doubles and a two-run home run. Snyder is […]

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Story by Lauren Walsh

Photos by Aubrie Tolliver

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – On a frigid night at NBT Bank Stadium that saw the Syracuse Chiefs’ lose their fifth straight game, this one to the Buffalo Bisons, 9-3, the Chiefs Brandon Snyder had a hot bat. He went 3-4 with two doubles and a two-run home run.

Snyder is batting .224 with five home runs and 18 RBIs this season. He says the team’s recent losses sparked a change in his approach at the plate.

“I think it’s more of a mindset because I’m just tired of not competing and being the player that I know I am,” Snyder said. “The last couple weeks we’ve been struggling and today I was like, ‘I’m just gonna go back to trying to compete,’ and that was it.”

 

Slugging Snyder

The first baseman put the Chiefs on the board in the first with a double to center field that drove in Andrew Stevenson. That turned out to be the only Chiefs’ lead. Catcher Raffy Lopez hit a two-run shot to right field in the top of the second inning, giving Buffalo the 2-1 lead and the Bisons rolled from there.

Snyder hit a double to right in the bottom of the third, advancing Matt Skole to third. But they were left on base after the inning ended with a Clint Robinson pop-up to second.

In the eighth inning, with the Chefs behind 7-1, Snyder came up with a big swing for a two-run bomb into right field. The Las Vegas, Nev. native knocked in all three of Syracuse’s runs.

His late-game heroics weren’t nearly enough to close the gap. Buffalo scored two more runs on a throwing error in the ninth inning, sealing the 9-3 win.

 

New Mindset

 The Chiefs are 2-10 in the past two weeks, including Monday night’s game and after being rained out at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, Snyder said the team got together and chatted about changing some tactical elements of their play to turn some of those L’s to W’s on the score sheet.

 

“I think that leaving Scranton it was kind of a team thing… This is triple-A baseball and to a man, to myself, it was looking in the mirror and saying, ‘Hey, stop being the guy that just goes out there and tries to figure it out.’ If you haven’t figured it out by now, you might as well go home.”

Personally, Snyder had a few adjustments of his own that he kept in mind throughout the game.

“I went up there and in the same process of just trying to compete, not swinging at bad pitches, trying to work good counts and just going up there and trying to put together a good at bat,” he said.

 

No Stopping Buffalo

While Snyder had a good night at the plate, Syracuse gave up nine runs and 13 hits against Buffalo. The Chiefs only made one error, but there wasn’t much the team could do to stop the Bisons’ bats according to Snyder.

“We had a couple balls that guys think we could’ve made plays on, but for the most part they went out there and swung the bat well, they got good pitches to hit, worked the count, and it just kind of is what it is.”

He said to start winning the team as a whole needs to adjust its mindset for each game.

“It’s about going out there and changing the mindset and I’m tired of [losing]. Just need to go out there and try to compete,” Snyder said.

The six-foot-two first baseman was blunt in his thoughts on the rest of the season.

“I think it’s time for us to just man up and play baseball.”

Orange Men Survive at Colgate

May 6, 2017

Story, photo and video by Lauren Walsh HAMILTON, N.Y. – Time was ticking down in the fourth quarter, Syracuse led 10-9, and it looked like the Orange was about to record its eleventh one-goal game of the season. After Colgate turned the ball over, missing its last chance to tie with six seconds left, SU […]

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Story, photo and video by Lauren Walsh

HAMILTON, N.Y. – Time was ticking down in the fourth quarter, Syracuse led 10-9, and it looked like the Orange was about to record its eleventh one-goal game of the season.

After Colgate turned the ball over, missing its last chance to tie with six seconds left, SU goalie Evan Molloy launched the ball down the field to celebrate the win.

Molloy’s heave sailed into the empty Colgate net, giving him his first career goal and Syracuse  an 11-9 win over the Raiders.

The Orange (12-2, 4-0 ACC) closed out the regular season with an 8-1 record against non-conference opponents. The win over Colgate (5-9, 3-5 Patriot League) was the fifth in a row for Syracuse, but a game few had expected to come down to the final seconds.

“We still want to get that full 60-minute effort, SU head coach John Desko told CBS Sports after the game. “We made some bad decisions.”

Close Games

Out of ten one-goal games, the Orange has won eight. The “Cardiac ‘Cuse” has been in close games all season, and head coach John Desko said his team is well-prepared to finish down the stretch in those close situations.

“The fact that we’ve been in so many this year, we really notice a difference in the huddle from our first game to our last game,” Desko said. “The guys are pretty confident and they’re kind of all ears and you can tell by what they’re saying that if they play the way they’re playing, they’re confident they can win.”

Syracuse jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, but Colgate evened the score by the end of the period. SU and Colgate took turns scoring in bulk. The Orange scored three goals to start the second frame, and Colgate responded by scoring four consecutive goals to take the 7-6 lead.

Then, SU scored twice, taking the 8-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Jordan Evans netted a goal in the fourth as did Pat Carlin, his second of the season.

Sam Cleveland sniped a goal past Molloy with 1:30 to play for his twenty-second goal of the season and his fourth in the contest.

Sloppy Offense and Defense

The Orange turned the ball over a season-high 17 times against the Raiders. On the other side of the stat sheet, Colgate turned the ball over just 11 times.

“I think some of it was some of our players trying to make things happen in a close game and I think they forced it a few times,” Desko said.

Molloy added that the amount of turnovers was a result of mental errors from Syracuse. He said some players were beating themselves up and making mental errors as a result.

With all those turnovers and plenty of physical hits, there were many opportunities for groundballs, 57, in fact. Syracuse scooped up 33, and Molloy saw that as an important positive in the game.

“Groundballs are huge,” Molloy said. “Towards the end of the year we’ve really been stressing the importance of groundballs, really getting every single one, and that’s been our mindset.”

Bomberry For Three

Junior midfielder Brendan Bomberry hasn’t flinched in Syracuse’s one-goal contests. The Osweken, Ontario native scored the game-winning goal in the 9-8 win over St. John’s and the 8-7 win over Johns Hopkins earlier this season.

Against Colgate, Bomberry had three goals and one assist. He now has five hat tricks and 26 goals this season.

“Every possession is valuable at that point in an important game, especially in a one-goal game,” Bomberry said. “Just try to make sure you don’t turn the ball over or giving the team another break. You know, just trying to get the goal, put the ball in the net, and hopefully we can come away with a win.”

Bomberry’s 35 points on the season land him fourth on the team in points.

“He’s really nifty, if you will, at finding space inside. He’s really good in that area. I think he could’ve had a couple more and the goalie robbed him a few times,” Desko said on the junior sharpshooter.

Looking Ahead

The NCAA Tournament Championship will be held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, M.A. May 27-29. Syracuse finds out its opponent for the first round of the NCAA tournament at 9 p.m. on Sunday in ESPNU’s Tournament Seeding Show and is sure to open with a home game at the Carrier Dome.

When asked if he wanted to be the #1 seed, Desko said, “It depends on who they’re gonna put in at 16.”

He said he thinks Syracuse will be seeded high and that will help the Orange in the tournament. Desko said there are no easy games in the playoffs, so the Orange will come to play every game.

The Creator’s Game

May 5, 2017

Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio   SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Central New York has been known as a hotbed for collegiate lacrosse for decades.  Three local colleges – Syracuse University, Le Moyne College, and Onondaga Community College – have dominated the lacrosse landscape in the area and often in the nation. Syracuse University has won […]

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Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Central New York has been known as a hotbed for collegiate lacrosse for decades.  Three local colleges – Syracuse University, Le Moyne College, and Onondaga Community College – have dominated the lacrosse landscape in the area and often in the nation.

Syracuse University has won 11 Division I national championships in men’s lacrosse – five since 2000.  In Division II, Le Moyne College has won five national titles since 2004.  Perhaps most impressive of all, Onondaga Community College has won nine national championships in the past eleven years.

 

Creating a Legacy

It can’t be coincidence that three schools in the Syracuse area have all had this level success.

In fact, it’s not.

These colleges are located in the heart of what was once Haudenosaunee Confederacy land.  In fact, the confederacy – made up of the Onondaga, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca, and later the Tuscarora nations – was formed at what is now known as Onondaga Lake.

The game of lacrosse was created by the indigenous people.  But if you ask them, they’ll tell you it came from someone else.

“To the Haudenosaunee, they call lacrosse the Creator’s game, given to replace warfare,”Onondaga Nation attorney Joe Heath says.

“War doesn’t please the Creator,” Onondaga Historical Association Director Gregg Tripoli says.  “If they really wanted to please the Creator, they would play this game called ‘Deyhontsigwa’ehs,’ and that translated means ‘they bump hips.’  But we know that game today as lacrosse.”

Tradition

John Buck is an Onondaga Nation elder, and played lacrosse in his youth for several organizations.  He’s still an avid fan of the game, and is sure to attend every Onondaga Redhawks lacrosse game on the Nation’s land in Nedrow.  The Redhawks play what is known as box, or indoor lacrosse.

“The game was to settle differences basically,” Buck says from his seat in the stands.  “Of course, the game wasn’t this small that time.  It was miles apart between goals.  Because the nations, instead of battling among themselves, they played the game.”

The game is a tradition that has remained a key part of Native American culture.

“It’s part of our legacy,” Buck explains.

 

Sticking with Success

Local colleges have taken notice.  Syracuse, Le Moyne, and OCC all have native players on their squads each year.

“We’ve had so many players over the years,” Syracuse men’s lacrosse head coach John Desko says.

“It’s been part of the culture here.”

“Every year we have eight-to-ten Native American kids on our team,” OCC men’s lacrosse head coach Chuck Wilbur says.  “With so many on our team, the traditions they played with, their styles, get passed onto our team.  I think our guys love it, learning the culture and where the game comes from.”

 

Crossing Borders

“I grew up playing lacrosse all my life, ever since the age of two,” Sakohawi Kirby says.  Kirby is a sophomore on OCC’s team, from the native land Kahnawake, near Montreal.

“It’s been a large part of my culture. It’s originally named the medicine game.  Play it in front of all our people, and it gives back a medicine to our people, everybody watching.”

“Everyone plays from five years old to older men,” OCC men’s lacrosse player Russ Oakes says.  The freshman came to Onondaga Community College from the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, which straddles the border between New York and Ontario and Quebec on the St. Lawrence River.,

“Ever since I was little I’ve always had a lacrosse stick in my hand,”  Syracuse sophomore defenseman Tyson Bomberry says.  “Whenever we were going to go visit family that’s what you brought with you.”

 

Center Stage

Players such as Bomberry often come from Canada to Central New York to play lacrosse because of the region’s native history and quality athletic programs.  Others have ties to the area.

“For me, always growing up here, my aunts on the Onondaga reservation, I’ve always felt like here has been like home,” says Syracuse junior midfielder Brendan Bomberry, who is Tyson’s cousin and transferred to SU after starting his college career at Denver.

“Being a part of the tradition of the Onondagas, the center nation of the Iroquois, playing here with the Onondaga on your chest, being a part of that rich history, that all of us grew up with as Native Americans.”

“It’s just something in their blood. It just comes natural for some reason,” Buck says.  “As soon as a boy is born, automatically you give him a lacrosse stick.”

 

Plenty of Practice

Erica Shenandoah is an Onondaga Nation resident, and was also at the Redhawks game, just down the bench from Buck.  She too is well aware of the importance of the sport in her culture.

“I know other lacrosse players probably have the same amount of experience, and are just as good,” Shenandoah says.  “But these guys were raised here since they were little toddlers, kind of running around and playing, so…it’s a constant practice.”

“I think they’re born with a stick in their crib literally,” Wilbur adds.  “And when they play, their stick is almost like a third arm to them.  You just see the fluidity and just how easy the game comes to them.  Their skill level is just incredible.”

That skill and constant practice have helped mold many championship teams at the collegiate level in the Syracuse area.

 

Thanksgiving

“The game of lacrosse is one of the biggest gifts that our people gave to this country,” Buck says.

“I’m trying to be a role model for our younger Native American kids,” Tyson Bomberry says.  “They can come to school and get an education through using their lacrosse abilities.”

“We have all benefited from it, certainly Central New York,” Heath says.  “Le Moyne, OCC, SU, always are in the top five.”

It’s a sentiment that OCC’s head coach wholeheartedly endorses.

“One hundred percent yeah, we are in the hotbed of lacrosse.  And the Onondaga Nation and the Native Americans started it,” Wilbur says.  “Our success as a program is a huge part because of them.  Not just on the field, but the tradition that’s been passed on to us from centuries.”

Going Forward

May 5, 2017

Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez. SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Every day people are recovering at the Upstate Rehabilitation Institute for Human Performance. The circular room looks like a typical indoor gym, with a small auburn track running around weight lifting and cardio machines and a few patients working out. To one side of the gym […]

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Every day people are recovering at the Upstate Rehabilitation Institute for Human Performance. The circular room looks like a typical indoor gym, with a small auburn track running around weight lifting and cardio machines and a few patients working out. To one side of the gym is an open area with chairs lined up in rows.

Trainer and graduating Syracuse University student, Isaiah Johnson strolls into the room, towering high above everyone around him at 6’5″ and 270 pounds.

“Alright everyone let’s get started,” he announces.

There are about half a dozen people in the class and they follow Johnson as he leads them through warm up stretches. Although the athletic 23-year-old is half the age of most in the class, they pay close attention and follow his direction to a T.

Once stretching and warm ups are complete, the patients disperse to their individual workouts, with some starting with the ellipticals and the treadmills while others begin with weight lifting. Johnson works with this same group three times per week, and while he helps them recover from injuries and reach physical goals, Johnson is recovering himself.


April 9, 2015

“April 9, 2015 will always be a date in my head because for me that was the day that ended everything for me,” Johnson remembers. The former defensive lineman suffered multiple concussions over the course of 18-months and it was on that day team doctors told Johnson he was medically disqualified from playing the game he loved so much.

“Now that was a stab in the heart,” Johnson says, “Taking away something from somebody that you love because of an illness that you have, basically. That’s what a concussion is to me is an illness.”

He got his first concussion after sacking Florida State quarterback, Jameis Winston and the second and third were sustained during spring practices. Johnson says he thought he just had a headache, but really it was a third concussion.

“I was just trying to cope with it. I thought I just had a headache but I don’t remember anything after that practice.”

And just a few days later his football career was over.

“I didn’t even care that I had concussions,” he says, “Until they told me I couldn’t play no more.” Johnson says he deals with the side effects of multiple concussions every day. He’s sensitive to light and loud noises.

Finding his Niche

“Taking away athletics from me made me become a student first,” he says. Johnson also says he never had any aspirations to try to go pro and says not having football has made him become more mature.

“I want everyone to feel comfortable when they’re around me,” Johnson says walking around to check on each. He looks at their charts and goals and discusses where they are and what they are trying to achieve.

Johnson graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in public health and hopes to continue forward in the field by getting a master’s degree. Working with patients at the institute is in his realm of expertise and interest. He says after graduation he is heading home to Delaware to spend time with his family and will begin graduate school in the fall.

 

Skole Gets Gold Glove, Chiefs Get Rained Out

May 5, 2017

Story and photo by Lauren Walsh SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Chalk up another rain-out for the Syracuse Chiefs. The Pawtucket Red Sox were scheduled to take on the Chiefs for game three of the series on Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium, but the weather had other plans. By the 6:35 p.m. start time, the field was […]

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Story and photo by Lauren Walsh

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Chalk up another rain-out for the Syracuse Chiefs. The Pawtucket Red Sox were scheduled to take on the Chiefs for game three of the series on Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium, but the weather had other plans.

By the 6:35 p.m. start time, the field was soaked and not a single player had warmed up. The game was officially called off for Syracuse’s sixth rain-out of the season. The teams are scheduled to make up the game as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday, June 13th at 5:05 p.m.

Syracuse holds a 9-14 record, putting the Chiefs at the bottom of the International League North, Pawtucket is one spot above Syracuse in fifth place with a 12-12 record.

Skole honored

A bright spot for the Chiefs came despite the cloudy, rainy skies. Syracuse first baseman Matt Skole was presented with the Gold Glove Award for the 2016 season.

Skole put up a .990 fielding percentage in 974 chances. He made just one error in the field last season. The Woodstock, Ga. native is the third Washington Nationals organization player to win the award since 2005.

The Chiefs are on a two-game losing streak, both to Pawtucket and have lost seven of their last eight. Syracuse hits the road for a three-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. First pitch of the series is Friday at 6:35 p.m.

Stranded: Chiefs Leave 14 on Base, Lose 7-0 to PawSox

May 3, 2017

Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver Syracuse, N.Y. — Just as Syracuse Chiefs’ starting pitcher Taylor Hill set on the mound ready to take his first pitch, the sun made its first appearance at NBT Bank Stadium, peeking through a hole in the gray clouds. But three pitches later, it went back into hiding. Coincidentally, that happened […]

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

Syracuse, N.Y. — Just as Syracuse Chiefs’ starting pitcher Taylor Hill set on the mound ready to take his first pitch, the sun made its first appearance at NBT Bank Stadium, peeking through a hole in the gray clouds.

But three pitches later, it went back into hiding. Coincidentally, that happened just as leadoff hitter Aneury Tavarez smashed his first home run of the season over the left field fence—a reoccurring theme in Wednesday afternoon’s game between the Chiefs and Pawtucket Red Sox.

The sun eventually came for good but the game remained gray for the Chiefs, as they were defeated by the PawSox 7-0.

 

Early Runs

Three batters after Tavarez’s leadoff homer, the Sox scored another run on a single up the middle by Sam Travis. Two runs were on the board before Hill retired the side.

He got through the next two innings unscathed. But, after a Travis infield single led off the fourth, Steve Selsky took the first pitch over the right field fence. It was 4-0 PawSox after four.

Tavarez followed suit the next inning with his second blast of the game. Two batters later, Rusney Castillo did the same.

Syracuse had its greatest opportunity to score in the bottom of the eighth when the Chiefs managed to get the bases loaded with just one out. But, a strikeout and groundout later, the threat was demolished.

A 1-2-3 ninth inning sealed the deal. Pawtucket beat Syracuse 7-0.

 

Starting Pitchers: Night and Day

“Starting pitchers set the tone,” manager Billy Gardner said in a post-game interview. “We just didn’t have it today.”

Both starting pitchers went five innings. Hill, however, allowed six earned runs. Among the nine hits he gave up to Pawtucket batters, four were homers.

Owens, on the other hand, blanked the Chiefs’ offense in his five innings of work, allowing just one hit.

 

Missed Opportunities

The Chiefs didn’t have a hard time getting runners on base—ten batters reached by way of a walk through the nine innings. But, the offense left 14 runners on base, nine of them in scoring position.

 

A Rollercoaster Season—Just 23 Games In

After starting off the season with just two wins in
their first nine games, the Chiefs went on to win their next six straight and was able to get above .500 during that winning streak.

But, that all ended on March 23.

Since then, the team switched back to its losing ways and is just 1-8.  The Chiefs now sport a season record of 9-14—the worst in the International League. The Red Sox’s 12-12 record lands them in the spot just above.

 

Onward

Both the Chiefs and the Red Sox return to the NBT Bank Stadium Thursday to close out the three-game series. The Sox will be looking for the sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

“We’ve got to get a few of our guys that we thought would hit to start cooking a little bit,” Gardner said. “Once we do that we’ll start stringing more competitive at bats together and start putting pressure on them.”