By PAUL GOTHAM
BATAVIA, N.Y. — Neither a delayed starting time nor a late rally could stop the Monroe Community College Tribunes on Saturday afternoon.
Mike DiStefano came out of the bullpen in the night cap, and Andrew Segar keyed an offensive surge as the Tribunes (26-16/9-3) closed out WNYAC play with a sweep (10-4/14-7) of the Genesee Community College Cougars.
With the bases loaded, no outs and Monroe clinging to an 8-6 lead in the sixth inning, DiStefano ended the threat with a pair of punch outs.
“It was a tough situation,” DiStefano said. “In those types of situations you really got to hit your spots. Threw the right pitch at the right time.”
The right-hander combined with his battery mate, Tommy LaCongo for a strike ’em-throw’em out double play for the first two outs of the inning.
“Mike DiStefano did what he has done all year long,” Monroe coach Dave Brust commented. “He comes in and he has such command with a slider and a curveball.”
Monroe’s bats took over from there and put crooked numbers on the board in the eight and ninth innings.
“Our offense is capable of outbursts like that,” Brust noted “The timing couldn’t have been better.”
“I knew that kid only had a fastball and a slider, so I was just sitting fastball,” Segar explained. “I got it second pitch and took advantage.”
The Tribunes put the game out of reach with four more runs in the ninth.
Hunter Merrill led with an infield hit. Ryan Prevost walked. Jimmy Latona dropped a sacrifice bunt, but the throw to sailed into foul territory down the right field line. Merrill and Prevost scored easily. Latona never stopped and crossed the plate on a three-base error.
Dave Vaccaro followed with his third hit of the game – an inside the park home run to center field.
“Luckily, my lineup produced some runs for me and took the edge off,” DiStefano said. “It was huge getting momentum going into the playoffs.”
Genesee scored all seven of its runs off Tommy Mastrodonato in the sixth inning. The Monroe starter allowed just two baserunners through five innings. He had struck out five and induced five ground ball outs.
“Genesee can hit,” Brust said. “They always hit. As long as I’ve been at this, they’ve always had the bats. Three through six (in the order) can swing. They hit a very good pitcher. Tommy he was so sharp through five. Then to see them just turn him around in what one inning shows what they can do.
“Hats off to Genesee for not dying,” Brust stated. “Hats off to Genesee for competing like that when they had every reason to treat it like it doesn’t mean anything. I wouldn’t expect anything less. That’s the way our region is always going to roll at the end of the year. You just got to keep scoring runs.”
Segar plated four runs in the game. His bloop double down the right field line highlighted a four-run third.
“It was just what we needed to get us back going again,” Segar stated. “The bloop double got everything going and nailed them again.”
Blaine Farrell tossed a complete game for the win in the opener. The southpaw allowed one earned run on six hits and a walk with seven strike outs.
“I didn’t really have the command of my change up which is my ground ball pitch and my fast ball, Farrell said. “They were kinda off. Halfway through the third inning I started dabbling with a slider a bit and kept them off balance with two different curveballs, so they didn’t know what to expect.”
A miscommunication caused a more than 90-minute delay to the start of game one. Farrell treated it like the recent rain delay at Mercyhurst NE when he limited the Saints to one run on six hits.
“Been through it before. I started warming up and Coach (assistant Cory Brownsten) “Brownie” came out and shut me down.”
Prevost drove in four runs in the opener. The Monroe outfielder, who recently returned from injury tripled in two of a three-run second. He brought home another run with ground ball in the fourth. Latona singled home a run for a 5-0 MCC lead.
LaCongo tripled home two as the Black and Gold tacked on five more in the fifth.
Brooks went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in game one.
Mike Pringle scored twice and stole two bases.
Monroe closes the regular season on Sunday with a non-conference doubleheader against Onondaga Community College. A 1 p.m start is scheduled.
The Region 3 tournament is scheduled to start next Friday, all games will be played at Genesee Community College.