Ponesse returns to lead Goldbacks over VC

By Mike Zummo
Posted 4/27/22

Joe Ponesse was with the Newburgh Free Academy baseball team when the Goldbacks took their spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, but couldn’t play during the injury.

However, he was back with …

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Ponesse returns to lead Goldbacks over VC

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Joe Ponesse was with the Newburgh Free Academy baseball team when the Goldbacks took their spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, but couldn’t play during the injury.

However, he was back with the Goldbacks on Wednesday afternoon, and drove in three runs as they returned to local play with a 12-3 win over the Valley Central Vikings in Montgomery.

“It feels great,” Ponesse said. “It was a very good team effort. We all came together, playing behind each other, and it’s good to get back to winning on the field.”

The previous week was a rough for the Goldbacks, who opened the Mingo Bay Tournament with a win in their first game before three straight losses. They took advantage of the Vikings’ trouble finding the strike zone.

Three Valley Central pitchers combined for eight walks and hit three batters, leading to 12 Newburgh runs.

Batting from the leadoff spot, Ponesse, in his return to the lineup, went 5-for-6, including a double. He hit a two-run single in the Goldbacks’ three-run third inning and drove in another run with a single in the 6-run sixth inning.

Despite being on base five times, he was stranded four times. He came around to score in the sixth inning on Anthony Manzi’s three-run double, which put the Goldbacks up by 10 runs.

“I got lucky today, and cashed in my opportunities,” Ponesse said.

Newburgh was almost able to end the game an inning early, but Cody Kenison gave up an RBI double to Valley Central’s Daniel Ducasse in the sixth inning to force the seventh.

“I think we were up and down today,” Newburgh coach Scott Seabury said. “I think we can definitely play better. I’ve seen better. We’ve got to clean up the D a little bit. We made a few mistakes behind Jake (Lanzer), but I think we swung the bat pretty well today. We had runners on base, and we cashed in when we needed to.”

Lanzer threw the first four innings and was the beneficiary of the Goldbacks’ offense. He was staked to an early 2-0 lead when Dylan Iorlano doubled home Tyler Martin, and then came around to score on a wild pitch and a passed ball.

Newburgh added another in the second when D.J. Paron walked, advanced on an error and scored on a wild pitch.

Lanzer’s only clean inning was his last and worked around base runners in his first three innings, but only allowed a pair of runs in the second inning.

John Ahearn pitched the fifth inning and Kenison took the sixth and seventh.

“Jake’s pitch count got up a little bit,” Seabury said. “So, we wanted to yank him there. He probably could have thrown a lot less, but we were a little sloppy in the field behind him and made a couple of mistakes. It’s still early in the season and we want to get guys work as much as we can.”

Jason Murphy singled and scored on Chris Byrne’s single. John Scotto also came around to score. He reached on an error by Newburgh right fielder Nick Schmidt.

The Goldbacks made two errors in the game.

“We just need to clean it up,” Seabury said. “We’re coming into the teeth of our schedule here, so we definitely need to clean things up and get ready to roll.”

The Goldbacks finished the week with their Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division I schedule with a 9-4 win against Monroe-Woodbury, who they defeated to win the Section 9 Class AA championship in 2021.

Tyler Slaughter got the win with five innings and Tyler Voltaire threw two innings of spotless relief.

Joe Alicea had three hits and two RBI and Roberto Reade added two RBIs.

“I feel like the team’s really coming together,” Ponesse said. “We’re playing together and playing behind each other. And I think if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to be in the same place we were last year.”

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