LAKE KATRINE – Colin Franke had quite the varsity debut.
Cornwall’s sophomore second baseman, called up from the jayvee for Saturday’s game against Wallkill in the Ed Mills Tiger Tournament, delivered with a 2-run single in the sixth inning, leading the Dragons to an 8-7 come-from-behind victory at Gruner Field.
With Cornwall trailing by one run, Franke came up with runners on second and third. He ripped the first pitch he saw into right field to give the Dragons the lead for good.
“My coach (Guy Maisonet) told me you’re getting one strike and then you’re bunting, so I used that strike and got a pretty good hit,” Franke said. “I kept my head on it and drove it over the second baseman’s head.”
Franke was 2-for-2 with a walk and scored two runs out of the nine hole in his first varsity game.
In the first game of the day, Roosevelt beat Pine Bush, 13-5. Cody Perotti was 3-for-5 with six RBI for the Presidents.
Pine Bush’s John Lindau had two hits and three RBI.
In the final game, Kingston defeated La Salle Institute of Troy, 8-0. Kingston starter Jesse Uttendorfer struck out six and allowed one hit over five innings.
“I was a little off in the scrimmages and I was still a little wild today, but it was definitely a good sign for the rest of the year,” said Uttendorfer, who walked four.
Jerred Benequiez scored three runs out of the leadoff spot and Pat Dorrian and Jake Ryan tripled for Kingston.
The second annual tournament served as a memorial for former Kingston coach Ed Mills, who passed away in November. Kingston head coach Mike Groppuso is Mills’ nephew and Wallkill head coach T.D. Mills is Mills’ son.
T.D. Mills’ young son, Brady, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The coaches also recognized one player from each team as recipients of the “Bulldog” award, a tribute to Ed Mills’ tenacity and dedication to local high school baseball.
Kingston’s Matt Fletcher was the Tigers’ Bulldog award winner.
“It was a huge honor to me. Even though I didn’t know Coach Mills that well, he was a great man. I wish I had. I loved him. I was sad he wasn’t here with us today.”
Other thoughts on the day’s games:
FDR 13, Pine Bush 5
- It was an unusually sloppy game for Pine Bush, which committed eight errors. I don’t expect Pine Bush to play this type of baseball by the time the playoffs roll around, so it’s not something to make too much of at this point.
- The Bushmen did jump out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the first inning and two more in the second, all off FDR starter Matt Steigerwald. FDR’s Alex Wilcha pitched five innings of scoreless ball to earn the win in relief.
- John Lindau had a strong game for Pine Bush, getting two hits and three RBI before being lifted in the later innings.
- This was the game of the day, but it didn’t look like it early. Wallkill scored five runs off Cornwall ace Steve Powles through the first three innings, but Powles faced only seven batters in the fourth and fifth innings before he had to go with too many pitches. You don’t see too many pitchers finally hit their stride in the third time through the order, but Powles definitely saved the day for Cornwall by hanging tough.
- Cornwall started to chip away, scoring once in the third and three times in the fourth to make it a game. The Dragons took the lead on Franke’s hit in the sixth and never looked back. Ryan Mellino pitched the final two innings to save Powles’ eight strikeout performance.
- With Marlboro sliding down to Class B in 2013, there are only eight teams in Class A in Section 9. We might well see these two teams again at SUNY New Paltz in the Section 9 championship game in June. That should be a good one if it happens.
- This was no cupcake scheduling for Kingston, as La Salle of Troy has been one of Section 2′s best Class AA teams for the past 10 years or so. The Cadets were ranked No. 1 in the state in 2008.
- Kingston has a strong pitching rotation, starting with Sam Einhorn and Sean DeBrosky. Their No. 3, Jesse Uttendorfer, pitched against La Salle. Uttendorfer allowed only one hit over five innings, but he did walk four. I interviewed him for the video above, so you can check out his comments there, but if Uttendorfer gets his control down by late May, the Tigers will be tough to beat.
- Kingston, 2012 Class AA state champ, still has a great offense, too. Jerred Beniquez scored three runs and Pat Dorrian and Jake Ryan crushed triples into the right center field gap.
- The Tigers have flip-flopped Zack Short and Pat Dorrian in the middle infield. Last year, Short played shortstop and Dorrian was at second base. This year, with Short a senior and Dorrian a junior, Kingston will look to get two years of shortstop out of Dorrian. It’s a bold move, but they’re both good glove guys and it helps build the program toward 2014.
All in all, it was a great day for baseball, even if it was a bit on the chilly side.
The coaches involved in the tournament handed out “Bulldog Awards” this year, given to players who most exemplified Ed Mills’ passion and desire for the game of baseball. The winners were:
Cornwall: Ryan Smith
Pine Bush: Tyler Wood
Roosevelt: Tyler Fefes
Wallkill: Brendan Connors
Kingston: Matt Fletcher
La Salle Institute: Seamus Kelley
A scholarship fund has also been created in Ed Mills’ name. Each year, a $1,000 scholarship will be given to a graduating Kingston High senior.
For more updates throughout the baseball season, follow me on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.