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SOMERS, N.Y. – Dylan McGuire didn’t play baseball for Somers a season ago. He was actually cut from the team. Fast-forward a year and the senior first baseman is hitting key two-out singles in the playoffs.
McGuire’s RBI in the fifth inning added an insurance run and helped the No. 7 Tuskers knock off No. 10 Lakeland 3-0 in the Section 1 Class A opening round. It was the second consecutive year Somers ended Lakeland’s season.
“I love playing baseball and I did whatever I could to get on the team this year,” McGuire said. “Working out for football got me into better shape and I moved to first base and won the starting job."
McGuire poked a line drive over the shortstop on a two-strike fastball to give Somers some breathing room with a 2-0 lead. Somers added a third run in the bottom of the sixth inning off an RBI single from Alex Wienecke. It was more than enough for starting pitching JT Genovese.
The tall right-hander threw a complete-game shutout with six strikeouts. He scattered six hits in the outing. Genovese battled out of jams in the second, third, and sixth innings. He allowed base runners in five of the seven innings.
“In the beginning of the year, I would lose my head in situations like today and let it get to me,” Genovese said. “In the middle of the season, Coach Muller told me to stop letting other teams get to me, take some breaths off the mound, and slow the game down. That helped me a lot today.”
Lakeland’s Mike Nash got in and out of jams on the mound as well. The senior, who missed most of the year, pitched well in three outings before today and came into the game with just a 0.82 ERA. He escaped a bases loaded no-out jam in the second inning before Somers finally got to him in the fifth. The Hornets committed a few errors behind him too.
“(Nash) threw a heck of a game, he’s their ace too, his performance was a testament to their ability to fight and stay in the game as well,” Somers coach Joe Wootten said. “Lakeland comes to play, it’s everything you expect from a program like that.”
Somers travels to No. 2 Harrison on Saturday for the quarterfinals. The Tuskers will try to equal last year’s feat of making the Section 1 Class A semifinals.
Joe Festo had two infield singles and scored a run for Somers. Joey Tomasulo was 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Tuskers and Genovese pitched a gem, but a lot of talk was about McGuire’s big hit.
“This is the story right here. McGuire missed the team last year but worked to make it this year,” Wootten said. “He didn’t start, but earned his way onto the field and came through against Lakeland. There’s no better story than that one right there.”
Follow John Malone on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone