By Katie Musacchio
SYRACUSE, NY-The Syracuse Spartans pushed pass the Cortland Crush for the win (2-1) on their 2019 Make-A-Wish Opening Day.
Thursday night, Print Solutions Plus sponsored the season opener devoted to the Make-A-Wish Central New York Foundation and its mission. Darren Petranagni, President of Print Solutions Plus and former Make-A-Wish CNY board member, wanted to be the title sponsor for the special night due to his involved past with the organization.
Wish-Kid, Noah Saterly, joined the Spartans on the field to throw the first pitch of the game, as did Petranagni. Spartans broadcast intern, Tamar Turner, had the chance to speak with Saterly at the Spartans’ game. Saterly is a Wish-Kid from East Syracuse, who had the opportunity to make his dreams a reality this past March, thanks to the CNY branch of Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish supported Saterly’s dream to visit Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Hollywood, and SeaWorld. Saterly said, “I like Make-A-Wish because it helps children accomplish their dreams. I got to pet a dolphin and got a VIP tour of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter World.” Saterly felt confident that the Spartans would win the game Thursday night, and he was right. Half of the night's 50-50 raffle proceeds went to the Make-A-Wish CNY Foundation.
Thursday night was one of suspense, resulting in a low scoring game. The Crush scored early on in the top of the first inning, and neither the Spartans nor the Crush earned a run for a majority of the game after that. Two returning players took the mound Thursday night for the Spartans. Mike Paciocco, traveling to the Spartans this summer from Rutgers-University-Camden, started the night off on the mound. Paciocco gave up one run and one hit. Spartan David Redfield of Wesleyan University brought the night to a close, replacing Paciocco on the mound in the sixth inning.
Redfield was named not only the player of the game, but also pitcher of the night for the entire NYCBL league. He gave up one hit during his time on the mound. Tamar Turner spoke with Redfield about the big win and what he did to accomplish success on the mound. “I think playing in this league last year helped. I felt pretty comfortable throwing at this field before so it felt good,” Redfield said. The pitcher also spoke of his expectations for a successful season. He stated, “We got a great group as you can see. We had a nice come from behind win for tonight so it seems like there’s a lot of comradery on the team.”
The bottom of the eighth inning is when the Spartans propelled ahead of the Crush. Spartans players Bryce Moore and Andres Garcia were on base when Eric Gatewood hit a single. This led Moore to score the Spartans’ first run of the game. During the next at bat, Andres Garcia ran home to earn the Spartans’ second and final run of the night. The Spartans held off the Crush from scoring in the top of the ninth, securing the win (2-1).
Spartans coaching staff was pleased with Thursday night’s outcome, but isn’t going to let this first win distract the team from working towards improvement. Pitching coach, Rigo Rodriguez, talked about the Spartans’ mindset for the rest of the season. “We don’t care about the name of the team we are playing, we just want to come out to the field each game and be the best team we can be,” he said.
The Spartans play tonight, June 7 at 7 p.m. against the Syracuse Saltcats. The game will take place on the OCC field once again. The Spartans’ next home game at Lafayette High School is Sunday, June 9 at 1:30 p.m. against the Sherrill Silversmiths.