Cambridge played its best game of the season on Thursday, March 30th, and defeated region leader Pope in a game that could help determine the 7AAAAAA playoff race. Pope entered the game 19-1 (10-0 in region) and had defeated the Bears in their first meeting by a comfortable margin. But after a thrilling extra inning win over Johns Creek the night before, Cambridge came out hot with the bats and shut down the potent Pope lineup with a great performance on the mound from Jon Hirschland backed up by a stellar defensive effort.
Uncharacteristically, Cambridge came out swinging hot bats and was able to convert on their opportunities early in the game. Michael Kolesar led off the bottom of the first with a monster triple to right. A two-out walk by Jake Swiacki set up a Sam Waylock infield hit and RBI to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Cambridge scored two more in the second. Hayden Onorato led off with a 2-base error by the centerfielder and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Teddy Egan. Crew Cohoes walked to put runners on the corners, and Onorato scored on a line drive single to center by Kolesar. A Cameron Moore sacrifice fly pushed the score to 3-0.
Cambridge scored its fourth and final run in the third. Waylock led off with a triple to center and scored on a sacrifice fly by Blake Renner. Meanwhile, after escaping a couple of hits in the first, Hirschland was cruising through the fifth, allowing only one more hit in that time. Pope scored a run in the sixth to set up a tense final frame with a 4-1 Cambridge lead. A leadoff single and hit by pitch moved a runner into scoring position, but Hirschland was able to coax a fly out to left. A bunt single loaded the bases and moved the tying run to first. A hit by pitch pushed a run across and moved the tying run to second. However, Hirschland got a glove on a hot shot back to the box and threw to Egan to get the force at home for out number two. The next batter grounded out to Renner at second and Cambridge had its best victory of the season.
Hirschland went the distance, allowing a couple of runs on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Kolesar and Waylock were the hitting stars, each with a couple of hits, including a triple and an RBI each. Bradley Wiedman had the other Cambridge hit.
Cambridge takes a break for spring break and picks back up with a non-region game at Walton on Friday, April 7th. Game time is 5:55 PM.