Bats come to life for Eagles in semis

All year long, the Duanesburg baseball team has been winning games with good defense and solid pitch

All year long, the Duanesburg baseball team has been winning games with good defense and solid pitching.

So how did the Eagles advance to the Section II Class C championship game? By hitting the ball all over the park.

The third-seeded Eagles scored four runs in the top of the first before Waterford-Halfmoon starter Greg Kennedy registered an out, and went on to eliminate the Fordians, 8-4, in the first game of Tuesday’s semifinal double-header at Clifton Common.

The Eagles (20-4) will face defending state champion Fort Plain in the championship game Thursday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, as the Hilltoppers rallied from a 3-0 def­icit to defeat Canajoharie, 6-4, in the other semifinal.

Duanesburg chased Kennedy from the game after he threw just 17 pitches. Singles by Chris Hyrny and Will McMullen and a walk to Wes Coppolo loaded the bases for cleanup hitter Nick Ferri, who ripped a two-run single to left-center.

Ben Lynch followed with an RBI single, and Dan Gentile knocked in the fourth run of the inning when he dropped a bloop single to left, ending Kennedy’s day in a matter of minutes.

The Fordians then pulled off a triple play to get out of the inning. Richie Kennedy ripped a shot up the middle, but relief pitcher Kevin Terry stabbed the ball out of the air and threw to second, where Wade Daus stepped on the bag to double up Lynch, and tagged Gentile, who had been running on the pitch.

“We just couldn’t find an out,” said Fordians coach Bob Jesmain of the first inning. “We were chasing all day long.”

“We stress pitching and defense, but our offense is coming,” said Duanesburg coach Chris Wyanski. “We’re only hitting .281 as a team, but we get the hits when we need them.”

The second-seeded Fordians, who finished 22-4, kept chipping away at McMullen, and with Ryan Brisson hitting a solo home run in the first and an RBI single in the second, cut their deficit to 4-2.

Dunesburg got a run back in the third when Coppolo walked and later scored on a fielder’s choice, but Waterford’s Zach Gardner

doubled in the bottom of the third and scored on a single by Jeff Yattaw to keep the Eagles’ lead at two runs.

But the Eagles got the big hit they needed in the fifth, when Cop­polo belted a two-run home run to straightaway center field, giving Duanesburg a 7-3 cushion.

Eagles freshman left-hander Ben Brand, who came in to pitch in the fourth, gave up a couple of long hits, including a triple by Gardner and a double by Joe Woltek, but closed the door on the Fordians.

“Waterford had us on the ropes a few times,” said Wyanski. “But Ben really came through for us. Will was up to 90 pitches by the end of the third, and you can’t save anything at this time of year, so we went with our next move, and it paid off. Ben’s pitches at the end were right on the mark.”


Two Canajoharie hits and two Fort Plain errors put the Hilltoppers (22-3) in a 3-0 hole after a half-inning in the second game, but Adam Cutspec brought Fort Plain back to life.

The University at Albany-bound senior tripled and scored in the bottom of the first, and then ripped a two-run triple to the wall in right-center and scored on a single by Dustin Baker in the second, when Fort Plain tied the game at 4-4.

Cutspec, who was 3-for-4 with two RBI, was also in the middle of a two-run outburst in the fourth that gave the Hilltoppers the win.

With one out and Brad Bowers on third, Cutspec hit a sharp ground ball that Canajoharie shortstop

Dane O’Neil knocked down. Cutspec beat the throw to first, and Cougars first baseman Jake Tamsett turned and fired the ball to the plate. Although it appeared that Bowers beat the throw, it was ruled that he didn’t touch the plate, resulting in the second out of the inning.

But Baker followed with a single, and Tyler Barhydt drilled a two-run triple into the gap in right-center to put the Hilltoppers on top, 6-4.

“We are soooooo lucky to be playing in the finals,” said Fort Plain coach Craig Phillips. “If we play like this, we’ll be going home early.”

The Hilltoppers turned in a big defensive play in the second, after the Cougars (18-7) had taken a 4-1 lead. With runners on first and second with two outs, Zach Fleischer singled to right, but the relay from Bowers to first baseman Jim Thomas to catcher Ryan Hudyncia was perfect, cutting down Don Oeser at the plate as he tried to score from second.

“The second inning was the key,” said Phillips. “If they had broken it open and gotten five or six, I don’t know if we could have come back.”

After giving up three hits in the first two innings, Fort Plain starter Dan Wiecek limited the Cougars to a sixth-inning single by Matt Ehrenreich. But Wiecek ran into trouble in the seventh.

With one out, O’Neil doubled to deep right and Zach Weaver singled through the hole at short, putting runners at the corners.

Phillips brought in Baker, his hard-throwing ace, to relieve Wiecek, and Baker retired Fleischer on a three-pitch strikeout.

After Dillon Slater took a Baker fastball in the batting helmet to load the bases, Baker fanned Anthony Taylor to end the game and give the Hilltoppers a shot at a third straight sectional title.

Duanesburg will be looking for its first title since 1995, when it won the Class D championship, on Thursday.

“Even though we haven’t won since 1995, I think there’s only been one year since then when we didn’t have 15 or 16 wins,” said Wyanski. “One of the key things for us this year was that we beat Fort Plain midway through the season. We knew that in order for us to move on, we had to beat the good teams. I think we’ve shown if we play good defense and hit our spots with our pitching, we can beat anyone.”

Corinth scored five runs in the fifth inning to break open a close game on its way to a 10-2 win over Greenwich in the Class CC semifinals at Clifton Common.

Sean Elliott went 4-for-4 with two RBI for Corinth (17-7), and C.J. Saunders and Derek Briner each had two singles and two RBI.

Ethan Bain had two singles and two RBI for the Witches.

Corinth will play Lake George for the championship after the Warriors’ Mike Tirri threw a one-hitter to beat Voorheesville, 1-0.

Tirri had eight strikeouts and retired the last 19 batters he faced.

Lake George scored when Ryan Lynch singled, was sacrificed to second, went to third on a passed ball and came home on a bloop single by Tirri over the third baseman’s head.

The Blackbirds had just one base­runner, on a first-inning walk.

In Class D, Fort Ann defeated Fort Edward, 6-2.




Duanesburg 401 020 1 — 8 13 1

Waterford 111 919 0 — 4 11 0

McMullen, Brand (4) and Kennedy; Kennedy, Terry (1), Gardner (6) and Harder.


Canajoharie 310 000 0 — 4 6 2

Fort Plain 130 200 x — 6 9 5

Howard, O’Neil (5) and Fleischer; Wiecek, Baker (7) and Hudyncia.




Corinth 002 050 3 — 10 11 1

Greenwich 100 000 1 —  2  5 3

Miller and Elliott; Stewart and Grimes.


Voorheesville 000 000 0 — 0 0 0

Lake George 000 001 x — 1 5 0

Condi and Massaroni; Tirri and Nelson.

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