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Orange Doesn’t Survive Death Valley

Orange Doesn’t Survive Death Valley

October 6, 2018

Story by Ramon Hernandez Photos by Keanu Haghighi CLEMSON, S.C. – The Orange suffered it’s first first loss of the season today, as the Clemson Tigers took the close 27-23 win at Memorial Stadium. Perfect Storm There seemed to be a perfect storm brewing for the Orange in Death Valley. Syracuse was just minutes away […]

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Story by Ramon Hernandez

Photos by Keanu Haghighi

CLEMSON, S.C. – The Orange suffered it’s first first loss of the season today, as the Clemson Tigers took the close 27-23 win at Memorial Stadium.

Perfect Storm

There seemed to be a perfect storm brewing for the Orange in Death Valley. Syracuse was just minutes away from moving to 5-0 and becoming the first school, since Florida State in 2013 and 2014, to beat Clemson in back-to-back seasons. Clemson running back, sophomore Travis Entienne, however, was having none of that.

Entienne rushed for 203 yards on 27 carries, and punched in three touchdowns en route to a 27-23 victory over the 25-point underdog Syracuse. The Orange had no answer for Entienne and Clemson’s run heavy offense in the second half. The Tigers had to keep the ball on the ground after losing their newly named starting quarterback, freshman Trevor Lawrence following a big hit from Syracuse’s Evan Foster. They played backup quarterback Chase Brice, who only had eight pass attempts in his career, in his place, and put the offensive burden on Entienne’s shoulders. He delivered.

“They just kept handing him the ball. We knew what the were gonna do but we couldn’t slow him down,” Syracuse Head Coach Dino Babers said.

Coming up Orange?

There were several times it seemed things were falling Syracuse’s way. The first was early in the third quarter, when Trill Williams picked off a pass from Brice. The second was a punt fumble, recovered by Jamal Custis. Unfortunately for the Orange, neither play led to much of anything.

Things may have ended quite differently if not for an ineligible player downfield call on Aaron Hackett, on a crucial fourth – and – one. It seemed as though he picked up the 1st- down, it was all Clemson from there.

Tigers finish Fierce

The Tigers would put up a quick seven points, courtesy of Entienne shortly after, and hold strong on the Orange’s last drive, sacking Senior quarterback Eric Dungey three times in the final minutes of the game.

Dungey said his confidence is not rattled, however, and that some of his teammates believe they should have won the game.

“There’s kind of a sick feeling in my stomach right now. We really wanted this one, but luckily we’ve got a whole season ahead of us,” Dungey said.

The Orange will look to bounce back on the road next week against the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Syracuse Dismantles Connecticut to Remain Undefeated

Syracuse Dismantles Connecticut to Remain Undefeated

September 23, 2018

Story by Jonathan LaRowe Photos by Sunny Tsai SYRACUSE, N.Y. – With a 51-21 win over the Connecticut Huskies, the Orange reached 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 1991. “I’m just really proud of those young men,” head coach Dino Babers said. The Orange struck early and often against a Husky […]

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Story by Jonathan LaRowe

Photos by Sunny Tsai

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – With a 51-21 win over the Connecticut Huskies, the Orange reached 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 1991.

“I’m just really proud of those young men,” head coach Dino Babers said.

The Orange struck early and often against a Husky defense that has struggled mightily all season. Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey accounted for three touchdowns in the first quarter to propel the Orange to an early 21-0 lead. Dungey showed off his trademark running ability with his first two scores coming on the ground.

“I try to be the best leader that I can,” Dungey said. “I think a lot of these guys are starting to buy in and it’s awesome to see.”

Connecticut quarterback David Pindell answered with a rushing score of his own, a 75-yard scamper in the first quarter that put the Huskies on the board. Syracuse quickly responded with a field goal that extended the lead to three scores again.

Connecticut started the second quarter with another touchdown to cut the Syracuse lead to 10 and put a temporary halt on the Syracuse blowout. However, the Orange slammed the door on the Husky comeback attempt by the third quarter, scoring three more times, to increase the lead to 41-14.

Two Breakout Performances

While Eric Dungey continued his record-setting pace for the Syracuse offense totaling five touchdowns in the game, the win showcased a breakout performance from junior wide receiver Sean Riley. Riley electrified the Carrier Dome crowd with two highlight-reel plays in the second half.

Riley started the scoring in the third quarter with a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown. He found the end zone again in the fourth quarter with a 49-yard touchdown reception to answer a Husky touchdown.

“He’s a really exciting player,” Babers said. “I’m really excited for him. Now I need to challenge him to see if we can bring that same type of explosiveness into some ACC games because we sure do need it.”

The Syracuse offense amassed over 600 yards of total offense on the day, but another one of the standout performers for the Orange was on the other side of the ball. Junior defensive end Alton Robinson led the defense with three sacks, a career high.

“Alton is playing at a very, very high level,” Babers said.

Syracuse will face a major challenge next week on the road against ACC powerhouse Clemson.

 

Syracuse Dominates Florida State in the Dome

Syracuse Dominates Florida State in the Dome

September 22, 2018

Story by Daniel Booth Photos by Kendra Sheehan   SYRACUSE, N.Y.- The Syracuse Orange opened ACC play with a 30 to 7 win over the Florida State Seminoles.The combination of defensive dominance and offensive firepower paved the way for a colossal upset. “It was not trickery, it was just lining up and whooping the guy in front of them”, head coach Dino Babers said. […]

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Story by Daniel Booth

Photos by Kendra Sheehan  

SYRACUSE, N.Y.- The Syracuse Orange opened ACC play with a 30 to 7 win over the Florida State Seminoles.The combination of defensive dominance and offensive firepower paved the way for a colossal upset.

“It was not trickery, it was just lining up and whooping the guy in front of them”, head coach Dino Babers said. This is the first time Syracuse has defeated Florida State since 1966.

 

Defensive Dominance

The Orange defense held the Seminoles to 1 for 14 on third down conversions, and sacked Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois four times.

“I was most proud about the way the D-line played”, coach Babers said. “Defensive ends and defensive tackles were winning their one on one battles, and as a coach that’s what gets you fired up.”

Defensive end Kendall Coleman is responsible for two of the four sacks, and was in the backfield all afternoon. Coach Babers praised his defensive coaching staff led by coordinator Brian Ward, for their ability to execute their game plan at an exceptionally high level.

Ready or Not.

Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey suffered an injury late in the second quarter after being struck in the eye. Due to Dungey’s impaired vision, coach Babers decided to bring in redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy DeVito. DeVito piloted the Orange offense to five scoring drives, four of which came in the second half. At the 6:55 mark in the third quarter, DeVito scored Syracuse’s first touchdown of the contest with a three yard run. About three minutes later, DeVito connected with senior tight end Ravian Pierce for a three yard touchdown pass. “The guys were locked in and they didn’t lose any focus, the effort was continuous throughout all four quarters”, coach Babers said. An explosive 14 point third quarter gave Syracuse a commanding 20-0 lead heading into the fourth. A solid 20 point lead proved to be more than enough to bury the Seminoles.

A Win Feels Good.

This high-profile win on national television bodes well for the persona of Syracuse’s program moving forward. Coach Babers hopes a win of this magnitude will shine a spotlight on his program, and raise expectations for years to come. The Orange defense only allowed Florida State to score seven points, and the offense tallied up 441 yards of total offense.

Coach Babers led the well deserved locker room celebration after the game. “We need to enjoy this and then we need to get back to work, because we want to be consistent, and not occasional”, coach Babers said. This win improves the Orange to 3-0 on the young season. Next Saturday, Syracuse will look to stay unbeaten against the University of Connecticut, at 4:00pmEST in the Carrier Dome.

 

Syracuse Football’s Defense Makes Strides Against Wagner

Syracuse Football’s Defense Makes Strides Against Wagner

September 22, 2018

Story by Trevor Kriley Photos by Isis Young Syracuse, N.Y. – Walking into the Carrier Dome is an electric feeling. The architecture itself screams that this place is different from any other venue in the country, and the fans back that up. So many spectators, absolutely draped in orange, pumped life into the great, indoor arena. […]

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Story by Trevor Kriley

Photos by Isis Young

Syracuse, N.Y. – Walking into the Carrier Dome is an electric feeling. The architecture itself screams that this place is different from any other venue in the country, and the fans back that up. So many spectators, absolutely draped in orange, pumped life into the great, indoor arena. Certainly, there was a story in the fact that the Syracuse offense scored 62 points, 45 of which came in the first half. However, the life that the Dome atmosphere and its fans instilled into the Orange defense was even more impressive. After allowing 42 points to the Western Michigan Broncos on August 31st, something appeared to shift in the defense’s mindset.

 

 

Wagner’s opening drive told the story of what encompassed the next three and half hours of their visit to upstate New York. Following a delay of game penalty and a couple of pass attempts, a raucous third down ensued in which Andre Cisco whipped across the field to intercept a pass from quarterback Luke Massei. This ultimately led to an acrobatic diving catch by wide receiver Sean Riley that only served to propel the Syracuse defense into even greater play. This cycle of Orange energy continued into Wagner’s next drive where Cisco was once again in the right place at the right time, allowing him to pick off T.J. Linta this time.

This marked the first time since 2012 that an Orange player recorded multiple interceptions in a single game when Keon Lyn did so against Temple. The impressive thing here: Cisco managed this feat in under five minutes of game time.

Dominant Force

From here on out, it was more of the same. The Syracuse defense was a dominant force on the field rarely allowing the Seahawks into Orange territory. Wagner was facing a monster that was hungry for interceptions and fumble recoveries every time its offense trotted out onto the field. “Turnovers are everything. They’re such momentum changers,” head coach Dino Babers said. Though there were few such swings of momentum in this game, the Orange defense made sure Wagner did not have the chance to gain any kind of traction.

After last week’s games at Western Michigan, fans witnessed the Syracuse offense’s ability to put up big numbers. Surely though, many were concerned about the team’s play on the other side of the ball. While Wagner may not be a top tier opponent, the mere ten points the Orange defense allowed is a promising step in the right direction.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr: The Person behind the Superstar

Vladimir Guerrero Jr: The Person behind the Superstar

September 21, 2018

Story by: Jose Lara Photo by:Matthew Gutierrez It was March 27thof 2018, just a regular Tuesday night for most of the baseball players and fans. The Blue Jays were playing a meaningless preseason game against the Cardinals in Montreal. For a certain player on that field, it wasn’t just another regular preseason game, it would be a night he […]

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Story by: Jose Lara

Photo by:Matthew Gutierrez

It was March 27thof 2018, just a regular Tuesday night for most of the baseball players and fans. The Blue Jays were playing a meaningless preseason game against the Cardinals in Montreal. For a certain player on that field, it wasn’t just another regular preseason game, it would be a night he always remembered.

That player was 19-year old, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. It had just been announced that his father was becoming a Hall of Famer a couple of months before. His dad who started his legendary career on the same stadium the Blue Jays were playing that night, the Olympic Stadium, as a member of the Montreal Expos. His dad who brought him onto the field on his last game as an Expos player, when he was just 3 years old.

“It was really weird, I didn’t know what was going on, all I remember is that it was his last game in Montreal and he told to go with him and lift my helmet, and that is what I did” Vladimir Guerrero Jr said.

That night in March of 2018, was the bottom of the 9th, two outs, nobody on, the score was 0-0. Vlad Jr had entered the game in the top of the 6th and had grounded out in his first at bat. He was wearing the number 27, his father’s number. The jersey number was just one of the many things he inherited from his father.

“I was born for this, seeing your family playing baseball forever, I have always felt really comfortable with this. What my dad has told me is to stay humble and keep working hard.”

The pitcher was Jack Flaherty, and on a 1 and 0 count he threw the pitch and Guerrero hit  the ball out of the park for the walk-off win.

“I felt really good, 1st because my father played there, 2nd because I was born there in Montreal. The story of my dad started there, and I went to the plate and it felt really good.”

Five months later, Guerrero is now the number one prospect according to the MLB.com. But Guerrero is still the same he was before that day in March when he became an Superstar.

He still says his favorite music is reggaetón, he still listens to Caribbean singers like Bad Bunny and Alfa. His 2nd favorite sport continues to be basketball. He even still has his same pre-game routine, and still gets exited talking about his similar style to other MLB players.

“My routine is pretty simple, not many swings in the cage, and I field around 20 ground balls” Guerrero said. “Adrian Beltre and I have a similar game, if you see me in 3rd base I’m always smiling, even if I have gone 0 for 4, or if I made an error on 3rd base. I always have a smile that’s what I learned from him.”

For Guerrero, his Dominican roots are very important, that’s why he says when he gets to the major leagues, he wants his at bat song to be “Traigo Fuego” from fellow Dominican Jose Peña Suazo. When not on the field he loves to spends time with compatriot Syracuse Chiefs prospect Victor Robles and gets exited when they talk about what his father did to help people from his country get a shot into the big leagues.

“It’s really hard to get there (Hall of Fame), and I think he open the door to many Dominican position players to come into the MLB.”

Even though he has had lots of success, he is considered a superstar, and even some think that he can be a future MVP and Hall of Famer. Guerrero is still that little boy, walking to the field in his dad’s final game with the Expos, only now instead of just taking his helmet off, he gets to do what he loves, PLAYBALL.

 

Former Syracuse standout leads Boeheim’s Army

Former Syracuse standout leads Boeheim’s Army

August 22, 2018

Story and Photo by Dakota Palmer Before the Syracuse Chiefs took on the Louisville Bats in the first game of a four-game series on Thursday night, some familiar faces took the field: Boeheim’s Army. As the team gears up to take on either the South Jamaica Kings or the Philadelphia Stars in this weekend’s round […]

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Story and Photo by Dakota Palmer

Before the Syracuse Chiefs took on the Louisville Bats in the first game of a four-game series on Thursday night, some familiar faces took the field: Boeheim’s Army. As the team gears up to take on either the South Jamaica Kings or the Philadelphia Stars in this weekend’s round of The Basketball Tournament, they stopped by NBT Stadium to throw first pitches and sign autographs for Orange fans.

While the basketball squad stood at the pitcher’s mound donning their honorary Syracuse Chiefs jerseys, one man stood out among the rest: Ryan Blackwell.

Blackwell, the last to throw out a pitch, stood with his jersey unbuttoned and open, revealing the orange polo hidden underneath — a symbol of his Syracuse pride. While he’s played professional basketball internationally— France, Portugal, England and Japan — he’s back in Syracuse as both the Boeheim’s Army coach and the Liverpool High boys basketball coach.

After transferring to Syracuse from the University of Illinois, Blackwell was a starting forward for three seasons. Playing nearly 3,500 minutes in his Syracuse career, Blackwell started in all 100 games he played in. He led in rebounds both his sophomore and junior years.

Blackwell, the head coach at Liverpool since 2015, said this past season was a “complete turnaround” from the 2016-17 season. In April, he was named the USA Today New York State Basketball Coach of the Year for his work at Liverpool High.

“We got to state finals (last year), lost, and then this year went 26-0 and won the school’s first ever state title,” he said. “I just told the guys, ‘it’s a marathon over a sprint.’ They had to just get to work and work on the things we needed to.”

A coach of about 16 kids, Blackwell said winning the first state title in the school’s history was huge.

“This is my third year there, and to be able to come in and turn the program around…the best part about it is that we had great kids,” he said. “They were easy to coach, they were fun to coach, and it made it even more special.”

Blackwell said he had the Army come in and help the boys practice.

“They didn’t like that,” he said while laughing. “But it ended up being great for them, for us, for our team overall, and then we just did what we had to do.”

He said he learned some key lessons from his time at ‘Cuse that he brings to his players each day: “Work hard, be tough mentally, hold yourself accountable, [and] it’s no one else’s fault except for yours. If you utilize your teammates and obviously work as a unit, good things can happen.”

In 2017, Blackwell was named head coach of Boeheim’s Army and led the team to become the Northeast Regional Champions the same year. Blackwell feels confident about the tournament this weekend.

“I think it’ll go great,” he said. “We’ve got everything we need. As long as we share the ball, move the ball, rebound — we’ll be fine.”

Center for the Army Dashonte Riley said Blackwell is a player’s coach.

“He’s a really personable guy and has a good IQ for the game,” Riley, who transferred to Eastern Michigan, said. “He’s leading us to victory in this tournament.”

Shooting guard Brandon Triche ’13 also emphasized Blackwell being a player’s coach.

“He pretty much just looks at what we like to do and how each player has their attributes, and we try to have different plays for each other,” he said. “I mean, he’s laid back, he’s a great coach — obviously he knows his stuff. It’s great playing for him.”

Boeheim’s Army will play in Brooklyn on Saturday against the winner of the South Jamaica Kings and Philadelphia Stars game. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

NBT Bank Stadium Helps Create a Family Tradition

NBT Bank Stadium Helps Create a Family Tradition

August 22, 2018

Story and Photo by Ashtyn Hiron  Syracuse, N.Y. – Promotions and events bring different fans to NBT Bank Stadium each game. Stability and familiarity is what brings John Wesche back each game. It was a big day at NBT bank stadium. The 11-1 score line between the Chiefs and the Louisville Bats, Boeheim’s Army stood tall […]

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Story and Photo by Ashtyn Hiron 

Syracuse, N.Y. – Promotions and events bring different fans to NBT Bank Stadium each game. Stability and familiarity is what brings John Wesche back each game.

It was a big day at NBT bank stadium. The 11-1 score line between the Chiefs and the Louisville Bats, Boeheim’s Army stood tall on the mound, and the lines for dollar hotdogs stretched as far as the eye could see. Red and green was scattered through the stadium celebrating Christmas in July. These different promotions aimed to bring the people of Syracuse in, and they were successful. Seats were filled with thriving fans consuming multiple dollar hot dogs and cheap beer. Entertainment and excitement was the theme of the afternoon.

However, something remained consistent for the dozen home games the Chiefs will play this year. Among the crowd near first base sat John Wesche ,71, who sat in this stadium opening day in 1997. The stadium’s transition from turf to grass and the increase in beer prices were the only two changes that Wesche noticed in his 20 or so years at the stadium, but the reasons behind attending the games did not. Attending baseball games is family tradition for the Wesches. Baseball is comfortability. Baseball is consistency. Baseball is legacy.

Taking statistics at games is a technique Wesche uses to stay focused, but most importantly, it’s a skill that was passed down from his mother. Wesche has passed forward the statistics sheet to his children and wife. Wesche has attended minor and major league baseball games since he was in elementary school and has taken stats at every game without fail.

Love is not an emotion Wesche attaches to baseball. The habit of coming to games with loved ones is. Wesche partakes in the simple things baseball has to offer like spending time with his buddies in the stands and enjoying the serenity that midday games bring.

“Day baseball is god’s gift to old men,” Wesche said

Baseball games are a legacy in the Wesche family. The consistency that they have been bringing to NBT Bank Stadium since opening day has created a legacy of their own in the stands.

RailRiders Take Series in Syracuse with Shootout

RailRiders Take Series in Syracuse with Shootout

May 13, 2018

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. –  The Syracuse Chiefs’ May struggles continued on Wednesday. Having lost six of its last seven games entering the day, the Chiefs looked to bounce back to take a home series from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. It took less than 20 minutes until we saw runs on the […]

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Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. –  The Syracuse Chiefs’ May struggles continued on Wednesday. Having lost six of its last seven games entering the day, the Chiefs looked to bounce back to take a home series from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

It took less than 20 minutes until we saw runs on the board in the top of the first inning. The RailRiders used a five-run inning and then some off of Chiefs starter Cesar Vargas to help secure the 8-7 series win.

Pitch Count

Vargas used nine pitches to get Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s first two batters out, but it took 21 to get through the next six batters – five of which scored. It started with Clint Frazier’s double over center fielder Matt Reynolds’ head. Mike Ford drew a walk to follow. Adam Lind then stepped in a roped a single down the first base line to score Frazier and give the RailRiders a 1-0 lead.

Two pitches later, Kyle Higashioka singled up the middle to score Ford. Then, RailRiders No. 7 hitter Zack Zehner launched a three-run home run over the left-center field fence to blow the lead out to 5-0 in the top of the first inning.

Vargas bounced back for a 10-pitch top of the second inning, and Syracuse rewarded him with a run to cut Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s deficit. Jacob Wilson knocked a double over RailRiders center fielder Shane Robinson with one out. Irving Falu struck out to follow. With two outs, Spencer Kieboom singled to bring in Wilson.

Full Steam Ahead

The Chiefs tied the game in the third inning. They posted four runs, all with two outs on the board. Rafael Bautista led off with a single. After Adrian Sanchez flew out and Jose Marmolejos popped out, the Chiefs offense went to work.

Newcomer Mark Reynolds walked, and Matt Reynolds (no relation) began a string of four consecutive run-producing hits for the Chiefs. Matt Reynolds brought in Bautista with a double off the right field wall. Jacob Wilson then roped a single off the glove of RailRiders third baseman Bruce Caldwell.

Irving Falu and Spencer Kieboom followed with consecutive RBI singles to tie the game at 5-5 after three innings.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre regained the lead in the fourth inning. Zack Zehner walked to start the inning. Bruce Caldwell then doubled in Zehner from first to regain the lead, 6-5 to the RailRiders’ favor.

Neither starting pitcher survived past the fifth inning on Wednesday. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Chance Adams was pulled after 2 2/3 innings and Chiefs starter Cesar Vargas was given the hook after 4 1/3 innings.

Back and Forth

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre added insurance in the sixth inning. L.J. Mazzilli, Tyler Wade, and Shane Robinson singled consecutively with one out. Clint Frazier smoked a single off the glove of Chiefs third baseman Gengie Gonzalez. Everybody was safe on the fielding error, including Mazzilli, who scored to give the RailRiders a 7-5 lead.

In a wild fashion, Syracuse tied the game at 7-7 in the bottom of the sixth. Kieboom and Gonzalez drew consecutive walks to start. Rafael Bautista stepped in and dropped a bunt down. SWB relief pitcher Joe Harvey threw the ball to third base to try and get the lead runner out, but the throw was wide. Kieboom scored from third, and Bengie Gonzalez motored home from first base to tie the game on the throwing error.

The RailRiders responded in the top of the seventh inning to re-take the lead. Adam Lind led off with a double down the left field line. Kyle Higashioka then singled, advancing Lind to third. Two batters later, Bruce Caldwell singled in Lind to give Scranton/Wilkes-Barre an 8-7 lead, which is how this one ended on Wednesday.

The two teams combined for 15 runs on 24 hits.

Syracuse’s offense went cold in the final three innings. The Chiefs mustered just two baserunners in that span, and neither of them advanced past first base.

Syracuse has now lost seven of its last eight games, dating back to May 2 at Lehigh Valley. The Chiefs drop back to an even 15-15 record on the season after starting 13-9 in the month of April.

What’s Next

Syracuse welcomes the Pawtucket Red Sox into town for a four-game series over the weekend. Syracuse’s Tommy Milone is slated to oppose Pawtucket’s William Cuevas on Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium.

Syracuse Crunch Swept by Toronto in Calder Cup Second Round

Syracuse Crunch Swept by Toronto in Calder Cup Second Round

May 13, 2018

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse Crunch’s Eastern Conference title defense ended on Tuesday at the hands of the Toronto Marlies. Following a 7-1 beatdown of the Crunch on Sunday, the Marlies capped the series off with a 2-1 win on Tuesday in Syracuse. It was somewhat of a revenge […]

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Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse Crunch’s Eastern Conference title defense ended on Tuesday at the hands of the Toronto Marlies. Following a 7-1 beatdown of the Crunch on Sunday, the Marlies capped the series off with a 2-1 win on Tuesday in Syracuse. It was somewhat of a revenge series for the Marlies, as Syracuse beat Toronto in seven games in the second round of last year’s playoffs.

Toronto used two Syracuse penalties to jump ahead to a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period. Syracuse’s Ben Thomas went off for holding with 15:40 remaining in the period. It took 32 seconds from that point for the Marlies to get on the board with its first power play goal of the game. Marlies left winger Dmytro Timashov rifled one past Crunch goaltender Connor Ingram, with help from right winger Ben Smith and center Chris Mueller, to give Toronto a 1-0 lead with 15:08 to play in the period.

Converting the Power Play

The Crunch squandered its second power play opportunity a few minutes later, attempting just one shot on goal in the two-minute span. Less than a minute after Toronto was back at full strength, Syracuse’s Alex Gallant laid a big hit on Marlies defenseman Justin Holl, ensuing a small scrum in the right corner of Toronto’s end.

Gallant was assessed a five-minute major penalty and was given a 10-minute game misconduct penalty in addition. Toronto took advantage.

With 1:31 left on the power play, Marlies left winger Andreas Johnsson netted a slap shot from inside the blue line to give Toronto a 2-0 lead with 5:04 left in the period. Defenseman Timothy Liljegren and left winger Pierre Engvall assisted on the goal.

Toronto converted both of its power play chances in the period. Syracuse went 0-for-2 on such chances. Toronto out-shot Syracuse, 10-9, in the first.

The second period was quite the opposite of the first period for the Crunch. Right winger Mathieu Joseph was whistled for hooking at the 13:01 mark, but that was the only advantage the Marlies were given throughout the second. Even so, Toronto could not get a shot on goal during the power play.

A 4-on-4 chance came by 16 seconds after Joseph’s penalty ended. Syracuse’s Dominik Mason and Toronto’s Carl Grundstrom were called for incidental roughing penalties. Toronto put two shots on goal against Syracuse, but Ingram gloved one and smothered the deflection of the other.

Toronto out-shot Syracuse, 9-4, in the second, but no goals were scored in the period.

Syracuse killed a Toronto power play chance with 14:37 to play. Shortly after, Syracuse missed on a breakaway opportunity by center Mitchell Stephens. He threw a shot attempt to the top right shelf of the net, but Marlies goaltender Garret Sparks made the shoulder pad save.

Time to Rally

Syracuse was rewarded later in the period.

Defenseman Reid McNeill buried a slap shot from between the circles to cut Toronto’s lead to 2-1 with 9:31 to play in regulation. Centers Kevin Lynch and Carter Verhaeghe assisted on the goal.

Syracuse pulled goaltender Connor Ingram with 1:40 left in regulation. The Crunch attempted two shots on goal following, but Sparks did not allow Syracuse to tie the game.

Sparks stopped 21 of 22 Crunch shots en route to the Marlies’ 2-1 victory. Toronto completed the 4-0 sweep of the Crunch and will face the winner of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Charlotte Checkers series in the Calder Cup’s Eastern Conference Final.

Syracuse finishes the 2017-18 season with a 24-12-2-1 record at the War Memorial and finished second-place in the AHL’s North Division. They finished in fourth-place overall in the Eastern Conference. Syracuse swept the Rochester Americans, 3-0, in the first round of the playoffs before being swept 4-0 by the Marlies.

Red Wings Earn First 2018 Win Over Syracuse

Red Wings Earn First 2018 Win Over Syracuse

May 13, 2018

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. – A dominant performance from Aaron Slegers helped boost the Rochester Red Wings to a 2-0 rain-soaked win over the Syracuse Chiefs on Saturday at NBT Bank Stadium. The Red Wings earned its first win in five tries against the Chiefs this season because of solid pitching […]

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Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. – A dominant performance from Aaron Slegers helped boost the Rochester Red Wings to a 2-0 rain-soaked win over the Syracuse Chiefs on Saturday at NBT Bank Stadium.

The Red Wings earned its first win in five tries against the Chiefs this season because of solid pitching from Slegers and reliever Nick Anderson and Gabriel Moya. The two combined to shut down the Chiefs, allowing just four hits.

The Red Wings plated its first run in the top of the second inning, thanks to three consecutive singles. Brock Stassi and Jermaine Curtis converted back-to-back singles to start the frame, then James Ramsey brought in Stassi with… you guessed it, a single. Rochester continued to threaten to score as Bobby Wilson sacrificed Curtis and Ramsey over to third and second. Gregorio Petit popped out and Nick Buss grounded out to quell the threat.

That was all of the game’s scoring until the eighth inning. Syracuse had a couple of chances to tie the game up. Slegers allowed just two Syracuse runners to reach second base in his six innings of work, but the Chiefs failed to capitalize on those situations in the fourth and sixth innings.

Rochester reliever Nick Anderson entered the game and struck out all three Chiefs batters in the seventh inning. Syracuse had two runners on base with two outs in the eighth and then again in the ninth, but runners failed to reach third base in each instance.

Rochester added an insurance run in the eighth inning off of Chiefs reliever Jimmy Cordero. Bobby Wilson ripped a double to the center field wall past a shallow-playing Hunter Jones to start the frame. Petit then sacrificed him over to third. Buss then flew out to shallow right field as Wilson held at third. Wilson then scored on a wild pitch by Cordero to extend the Rochester lead to 2-0.

Once again, Syracuse had a chance to tie or win the game in the ninth inning. Spencer Kieboom walked to start the inning. Jacob Wilson then grounded into the hole between short and third, but Gregorio Petit’s running grab and throw was enough to get Kieboom out at second. Michael Almanzar followed with a single, setting up runners on first and second with one out.

 

Tuffy Gosewisch popped out to Red Wings catcher Bobby Wilson behind home plate. The Chiefs’ final chance in Bengie Gonzalez struck out swinging on three pitches to end the game. The Red Wings earned the 2-0 win, its first victory over Syracuse in 2018.

On a bright note for Syracuse, outfielder Alejandro De Aza continued to stay hot at the plate. His 2-for-3 day and single in the bottom of the first inning extended his on-base streak to 18 games. He entered Saturday second in the International League in batting average (.359) and was tied for third in hits (23). De Aza is a 34-year old veteran who has spent 11 seasons in the Major Leagues, and has been in professional baseball for 16 seasons.

What’s Next

Syracuse (12-8) and Rochester (8-10) will conclude its series on Sunday at NBT Bank Stadium. Syracuse’s Austin Voth is slated to oppose Rochester’s Dietrich Enns. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m.

Chiefs Walk Red Wings Off on Friday

Chiefs Walk Red Wings Off on Friday

May 13, 2018

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. — Returning home from splitting a six-game road trip, the Chiefs began its weekend series in the win column with a 4-3 win in extra innings over the Rochester Red Wings. As the Minor League Baseball season ebbs and flows, one expected caveat is for teams to see […]

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Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. — Returning home from splitting a six-game road trip, the Chiefs began its weekend series in the win column with a 4-3 win in extra innings over the Rochester Red Wings.

As the Minor League Baseball season ebbs and flows, one expected caveat is for teams to see significant roster turnover. Given the Triple-A level’s makeup of 40-man roster spillovers, developing prospects, and veterans looking to play for contracts and a return to the majors, its rare for exceptions to this concept to be applied. The Syracuse Chiefs have experienced this 12 times over the past week, but the first place International League Northerners continued to roll on Friday at NBT Bank Stadium.

Quick Scoring

The Chiefs opened the scoring in the first inning. Veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza continued his league-high on-base streak as he extended it to 17 games. A two-out RBI single scored Matt Reynolds, who walked earlier in the inning.

After Rochester failed to move a runner past first base in the second and third innings, Syracuse found a way to extend its lead thanks to two of the aforementioned newcomers to the roster. Matt Reynolds doubled with one out, then Matt Hague brought him in with a single up the middle with two down to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead at the time.

Chiefs starter Edwin Jackson was sharp through the first four innings on Friday. He faced one batter above the minimum in that span – the only blemish being a single by the Red Wings’ Brock Stassi in the second inning. That changed in the fifth inning as Rochester worked to tie the game up with some power and well-placed hits.

Brock Stassi led off the frame with a bloop-double down the left field line. On the next pitch, Willians Astudillo tripled into deep center field – a play that Chiefs newcomer Hunter Jones could not make – to bring in Stassi and cut the Chiefs lead to 2-1. Taylor Featherston brought in Astudillo with a sacrifice fly to tie the game after four and a half innings of play. Their lead, however, did not last very long.

Back and Forth

Matt Reynolds was sent back to Syracuse from the parent Washington Nationals on Wednesday. In his first game as a Chief, Reynolds reached base safely three of four times, scored three runs, and contributed two extra-base hits. he scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning via his solo home run to right field. The Chiefs held a 3-2 lead after that frame, but just as Rochester’s lead was short-lived into the fifth, Syracuse’s was the same heading into the sixth.

After Nick Buss flew out, Leonardo Reginatto and Jake Cave nailed back-to-back singles for Rochester. Kennys Vargas then walked to load the bases for Brock Stassi, who was 2-for-2 against Edwin Jackson at the time. Stassi hit a hard grounder to Jacob Wilson at first base, but Wilson bobbled the ball and was only able to get the runner out at second. Reginatto scored on the fielder’s choice, tying the game at three apiece.

That was all the scoring until bonus baseball began. With new extra inning rules across the MiLB, Rochester began the inning with a runner on second base. Rochester’s top of the order failed to move him past that spot, giving Syracuse a chance for a walk-off winner.

Fireworks Friday

Syracuse seized the chance.

With Bengie Gonzalez beginning the inning as the designated runner on second, Jacob Wilson was intentionally walked to set up a force out at all three bases. Michael Almanzar then dropped a bunt down, but Red Wings reliever DJ Baxendale fielded the ball and made a clean throw to third to get the lead runner out.

Newly-called up outfielder Hunter Jones stepped in with runners on first and second base and one out on the board.

Jones ripped a double off the right-center field wall, scoring Wilson from second and giving the Chiefs the 4-3 victory on a fireworks Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium.

What’s Next

Syracuse (12-7) and Rochester (7-10) continue its series in Syracuse on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM as Rochester’s Aaron Slegers (1-0, 2.00 ERA) will oppose Syracuse’s Cesar Vargas (0-1, 2.25). The teams will conclude its series on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. before the Chiefs head to Lehigh Valley for a road series.

Indians take Shortened, Snowy Showdown versus Chiefs

Indians take Shortened, Snowy Showdown versus Chiefs

May 13, 2018

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. – The Indianapolis Indians and Syracuse Chiefs were supposed to play two games in a traditional doubleheader on Tuesday. Mother Nature only permitted the teams to play one. The doubleheader originated from Monday’s canceled game between the two teams. A 4:05 first pitch resulted in a 4-2 […]

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Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. – The Indianapolis Indians and Syracuse Chiefs were supposed to play two games in a traditional doubleheader on Tuesday. Mother Nature only permitted the teams to play one. The doubleheader originated from Monday’s canceled game between the two teams.

A 4:05 first pitch resulted in a 4-2 Indians victory in seven innings. Minor League Baseball rules mandate seven-inning games when a doubleheader is scheduled. The first game ended in just an hour and 59 minutes but adding onto that is a 20-minute snow delay from the top of the fourth inning.

Lord(s) of the Manor

In a 39-degree and snowy first pitch, the Indians and Chiefs did the bulk of their scoring early. The Indians struck within the first three batters of the game. Indians leadoff and No. 2 hitters Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer hit back-to-back singles to start the game. Top Pittsburgh Pirates prospect and Indians center fielder Austin Meadows hit a cue-shot double down the third base line to score both Newman and Kramer, giving the Indians a 2-0 lead after one inning.

The Chiefs went silent in the first inning but got both runs back in the second. Alejandro De Aza and Spencer Kieboom stroked back-to-back doubles to cut the Indians lead to 2-1. After Michael Almanzar grounded out, Chiefs starting pitcher Cesar Vargas singled to right field to tie the game at 2-2 after two innings.

“Kieboom hit the ball well in Spring Training,” Chiefs manager Randy Knorr said after the game. “He’s relaxed. I think he understands who he is as a hitter now. A lot of young hitters, as they come up, they think they’re power guys. He’s worked the whole field now, and he’s looked great at the plate.”

No Soup for Syracuse

The Indians responded right away in the top of the third. Meadows drew a two-out walk, and Indians third baseman Jose Osuna brought him in with a double to the right-center field wall. Meadows was running on the pitch and scored all the way from first base to give the Indians a 3-2 lead. That’s all Indianapolis would need as starting pitcher Nick Kingham and closer Johnny Hellwig limited Syracuse to just three baserunners from that point forward.

Indianapolis added insurance in the sixth inning. Former Pirates outfielder Jordan Luplow tripled to the right field corner with one out in the inning. Catcher Jacob Stallings followed with a single to score Luplow and give Indianapolis a 4-2 lead that would last until the end.

You Better be Careful on Those Rocks Tomorrow, Buddy

The Chiefs and Indians have moved the second game from Tuesday to Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday’s game was originally scheduled for a 10:35 a.m. first pitch for a promotional Education Day, where ticket discounts are offered to schools bringing students for a field trip. The second game from Tuesday is scheduled as the second half of a traditional doubleheader on Wednesday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. as scheduled.