Friday, May 1, 2009

Twiss cheese; Hughes to Coastal Carolina

Steve Ziter (23) is cheered by teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning of Troy's Big 10 game against No. 17 CBA on Friday afternoon. Troy rallied to score four runs in the sixth inning to post a 8-4 come-from-behind victory over the Brothers at Troy High School. (All photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

That's Jesse Twiss going bash brothers on Ziter and Twiss was spectacular in relief, striking out four of the five CBA batters he faced to hold a tie game into the bottom of the sixth and allow Troy to rally for the win. The only sophomore on the team, he admitted that some of the guys give him a hard time, but appreciates all the backing he gets on the field.

"I just come in with the support I have and if it wasn’t for the support I get, I wouldn’t be able to do this," Twiss said. "Each one of them has my back - I’m the youngest on the team - and they’re all like older brothers."

Troy starter Nick Pontari (24) gave the Flying Horses a solid start, especially considering the jams he worked out of. Pontari walked the first two batters of the game, but used a pickoff, a sacrifice fly and a strikeout to get out of the inning allowing only one run. In the fifth, he allowed the first two batters to reach on singles but used and strikeout, a fly ball and a groundout to again work out of trouble.

"Jesse came in and he pitched great," said Pontari. "It’s always good knowing you have someone in the bullpen that can come in and shut down the bats. So when coach took me out, I wasn’t even worried about it."

Troy shortstop Chewy Dwyer looks to third base after tagging out CBA's Brendan Dal Cal in the aforementioned pickoff in the first inning of Friday's game. Dwyer was twice hit by a pitch and scored two runs for the Flying Horses (4-4, 5-6).

Troy's Joe Houghtaling makes a diving catch to rob Dal Col of a base hit in the third inning.

Troy's Anbibal Maldonado scoops up a ball in the outfield during Friday's game. The Flying Horses' center fielder smacked the game-winning hit to left field in the sixth inning, plating Matt Krogh to put Troy ahead 5-4.

CBA (6-2, 6-3-1) was sitting atop the Big 10 standings along with Amsterdam and Albany and were ranked No. 17 among New York's Class AA teams in the latest state poll.

"We really wanted this," Maldonado said. "Coach told us they were on top and that was an extra challenge for us. They’re a disciplined team and we were going to have to put it on them. For us to knock them down it just shows that anybody can win this, anybody."

CBA's starting southpaw was John Dimura (29) and he allowed three earned runs in four-plus innings of work. Troy jumped on relievers Mike Urbanski and Dan Kutny in the sixth as they built a commanding lead for Twiss, who picked up a win in relief.

Troy High head coach Curtis Nobles was certainly pleased with the effort although he wasn't surprised by his team's heart, even when facing a 4-0 deficit against one of the top teams in the Big 10.

"One through sixteen, we have resilient kids," Nobles said. "All these kids have X-factors in their lives where they know how to get up and bounce back. And that’s the name of the game, really. It’s a game of failure and it’s all about how you react to those failures. They know how to come back and put forth their best effort every time."

All in all, it's a good sign for the Flying Horses and was just another game that proved the 2009 Big 10 race is wide open. Troy must be pleased most of all with the pitching performances this week, as Iziah McCowan also no-hit Catholic Central a few days prior.

Albany High's Michael Hughes has made a verbal commitment to Coastal Carolina University, a Division I member of the Big South Conference, Albany head coach Joey DiPiazza writes in an email.

A number of Division I colleges were interested in the senior righthander, as are a host of Major League organizations, who have been sending scouts with radar guns to track him during recent games.

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