Wayne Post
  • Baseball: Brighton makes statement, downs Sutherland

  • Barons earn crucial early season road win over the Knights to improve to 8-1 overall. Ryan O'Connor's 2RBI single in the top of the sixth inning gives Brighton the lead for good

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  • Players and coaches of the Brighton baseball team knew the road to their first league title since 1993 ran through Pittsford Sutherland. After all, the Knights have won six sectional titles and seven divisional crowns since 2005.
    On Wednesday though, the Barons took a huge step towards wrestling the title of Monroe County East Division 2’s top team away from their longtime rival.
    Brighton defeated Sutherland 4-2 in a league game at Sutherland. The game was suspended after six innings due to inclement weather.
    The Barons, who own the Division’s top overall record at 8-1, improved to 2-0 in divisional games. Sutherland dropped to 7-5 and 1-1.
    “It’s always tough to beat Sutherland,” said Jason Wasserman, Brighton head coach. “It’s a divisional game and a divisional matchup. I am sure they will bring their A game when we see them in a couple of weeks. We have been winning with our pitching and defense, that is what we did today.”
    Wasserman has been impressed with his team’s resolve throughout the season. Their resiliency was on display in their latest victory.
    An RBI triple by Alec DePaolis and a RBI sacrifice by Hunter Merrill gave the Knights a 2-1 lead heading into the sixth inning. The Barons bounced back in their half of the sixth, as a 2-RBI single by Ryan O’Connor and single by Ernie Clement put the Barons ahead 4-2.
    Sutherland loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Clement touched second and threw to first baseman Joe Smrcka for a game-ending double play. turned a 6-3 double play to end the game.
    “The prep for every game is all the same,” Clement said. “Everything we do to get ready is all the same. You really have to have the same mind set, same heart same focus. I guess something else can be there to will you to get a win.”
    Clement came into this year after one of the top offensive seasons in program history, hitting .560 and scoring 29 runs in 2012. The three-year varsity player was part of a strong core of Baron hitters that also included Matt Sant-Miller, Mike Rogachefsky and Michael Finestone.
    This year’s team has received a boost from several players including Smrcka, Ryan Brown and Joey Alloco.
    Brighton starting pitcher Kevin Szybist battled out of trouble throughout the game striking out four in 5-1/3 innings. Szybist is part of a strong pitching staff featuring six players including Ryan Lawrence, who earned the win against Canandaigua on Tuesday.
    The staff has been bolstered by Rogachefsky and Finestone, who didn’t pitch last season.
    “We’ve played good defnse and we’ve been hitting the ball,” Smrcka said. “Our pitching has been very strong. We are lucky to have such a deep staff.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Wasserman credits his team success to their annual spring break trip to West Virginia. After a cold March and the earlier than normal spring break, the annual trip was the first time the team played outside.
    “It was our first time outside, it was huge just to get outside,” Wasserman said. “The trip was earlier this year and our success has just kind of rolled since then.”

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