The Syracuse Spartans (23-19) took on the Syracuse Salt Cats (24-18) in a battle for first place in the NYCBL Eastern Division. The win would include a bye day tomorrow and a three game series with home field advantage.
The loser would participate in a one-game playoff with the Cortland Crush after their victory over the Rome Generals today. Unfortuantley, a late rally by the Spartans fell just short as they lost first place to the Salt Cats, 6-5.
The Spartans jumped on the Salt Cats first, with first baseman Chris Schad launching his sixth homerun over the left field fence in the bottom of the first inning. After that, Salt Cat starting pitcher Thomas Beliveau settled in. The right hander went five solid innings, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out five and walking six.
Matt Walczak was on the bump for the Spartans, going four and two thirds innings, allowing five runs, three of which were earned on six hits while striking out six.
Things got bumpy for Walczak in the top of the third inning, allowing two runs and surrendering the Spartan lead, 2-1. Things got a little worse in the top of the fifth inning, when the Salt Cats scored three more to knock Walczak from the game.
Xander Ferlanda and Tim Gorton paced the Salt Cats on offense. Ferlanda, the second baseman for the cross rivals had a solid day, going 3-5 with three runs scored and an RBI, missing the cycle by a triple. Gorton, the third baseman went 5-5, complete with two doubles, two singles and a homerun and three runs scored.
Chirstain LaLomia came in relief for Walczak, allowing one run in two innings. The Salt Cats had their largest lead of the game at 6-1 in the top of the seventh.
The bottom of the seventh inning was the rally inning for the Spartans, as they scored four runs to cut the lead to 6-5. The highlight of the inning was pinch hitter Britton Lawrence's bases clearing double to cut the lead to two.
With the Spartans 6-5 loss to the Salt Cats and the Cortland Crush victory, Syracuse travels to Cortland tomorrow evening for a one-game playoff. The winner of that heads into a three game semi finals series with the Syracuse Salt Cats.
SPARTAN OF THE GAME: Britton Lawrence
It only took one at bat for the third baseman to make an immediate impact in the game. Aafter pinch hitting for Rocco Leone and entering the game at third base and moving Hunter Tralli over to second base, Lawrence smacked a bases clearing souble to cut the Spartan defecit to 6-4. He also made an impressive play at third base in the bottom of the eight inning to keep the bases clear for Rich Marshall.
Keep your eyes on the Spartans social media pages for updates on where and when the one game playoff game will be played tomorrow.