The baseball teams from Mohonasen and Scotia-Glenville will readily agree that they played an ugly Section II Class A semifinal game Wednesday night, yet in the eyes of the Mighty Warriors, it was, at the same time, a beautiful thing to behold.
Ben Gatchell crushed a three-run double in the sixth, and Robert Tedesco shut down the Tartans with seventh-inning relief as Mohonasen survived, 10-8, at Shuttleworth Park.
The teams combined for 11 fielding errors and 12 walks, but also banged out 24 hits in the near-three hour marathion that saw seven lead changes and only an inning and a half without a run being scored.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Mohonasen coach Jim Huggins said. “They know they didn’t play well. They didn’t have their great stuff, but they fought through. They overcame a lot of adversity.”
Kevin Esperti gave Scotia-Glenville (No. 3 seed, 15-10) an 8-7 lead in the home sixth with a two-out, two-run single before Mohonasen answered behind Gatchell’s key blow. The senior’s deep shot to the left-center gap and Tedesco’s finishing effort gave Mohonasen (No. 2 seed, 15-5) an opportunity to play for its first sectional title since 1982.
Defending champ Ichabod Crane (No. 4, 19-7) will supply the competition Saturday at 5:30 at Joe Bruno Stadium after beating Bishop Maginn, 5-4.
“We did something tonight we’ve done all year,” said Tedesco, a junior right-hander who picked up the save after getting the win in Saturday’s 11-0 shutout of Glens Falls. “We fought and fought. We never quit, and now we’re going to the championship.”
“This is something they’ve wanted their whole lives,” Huggins said. “Now, they’ll get that opportunity.”
Gatchell’s one-out drive off Scotia-Glenville’s Dakota Aker followed singles by Pat Herrington and C.J. Fonda and a walk to Tedesco.
“Bases loaded. It was the same thing that happened against Niskayuna,” Gatchell, a senior, said in reference to a grand slam he hit in an earlier win that clinched Mohonasen’s first postseason berth since 2005. “It was right down the middle. It was in a perfect spot, and I poked it.”
“I can’t say enought about Ben,” Huggins said of his starting pitcher, who left after three innings with his team down, 4-3. “He didn’t have his best stuff, but he did it in the field and with the bat.”
Tedesco walked Jared Swider to open the Tartans’ seventh before Elliott Gordon hit a high chopper up the middle. Fonda handled the ball on a short hop, tagged second base and flipped to first for a double play. Tedesco then fanned Nick Myers to end it.
“There’s nothing I can say to make them feel better,” said Tartans coach John Striffler. “I didn’t have anything philosophical to say to them. Both teams executed at times, and both teams didn’t execute at times. It came down to which team wanted to take control.”
Neither team could, until the very end.
“Scotia had some great hits. They put a lot of pressure on us,” Huggins said. “They battled and we battled. They fought hard and we fought hard.”
The Mighty Warriors took a 3-2 lead in the second inning on Vinny DeMarco’s two-run home run, one of three hits for Mohonasen’s ninth man in the order. Mohonasen scored twice in the third on Alex Massaroni’s RBI single and an error to go up, 5-4, and in the fourth, RBI singles by Fonda and Gatchell gave the Mighty Warriors a 7-6 advantage.
“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight, but I know I can count on my teammates to pick me up,” said Gatchell, who gave up nine hits before David Hondro, the eventual winner, came on. “This was a team effort.”
Esperti had two doubles, a single and three RBI for Scotia-Glenville from his eighth spot in the order. Run-scoring doubles by Esperti and Brian Cremo gave the Tartans a 4-3 lead in the third, and Scotia-Glenville pushed two runs across in the fourth on an error and a wild pitch to go up, 6-5.
Esperti’s two-run single in the sixth, a soft liner up the middle, followed a single by Nick Madcharo and two walks.
“He stepped it up big and got that big hit for us,” Striffler said of the senior right fielder. “The bottom of our lineup really came through.”
Sean Wheeler hit an RBI single in the sixth, and Josh Ingham struck out Bishop Maginn’s final two batters with the bases loaded in the seventh as Ichabod Crane advanced.
A hit batter, fielder’s choice and a walk gave the Golden Griffins
(No. 8, 8-15) a chance to come back for a second time before Ingham, a sophomnore, came on for Derick Horn and got Dylan Tully looking and Ryan Gaffney swinging.
“We battled ‘til the end,” said Maginn coach Mike Grasso. “We had the bases loaded and one out. It was the same situation we had in our last game. Unfortunately, we didn’t execute.”
Chris Jeffers took the loss after issuing a one-out walk and Wheeler’s two-out drive to the right-center gap.
“All season long, coach has been stressing to hit behind the runner,” said Wheeler, a senior first baseman. “I saw my pitch on the outside corner. It broke away from me, and I hit it.”
That was only the third hit for the Riders, who scored four fourth-inning runs on four walks, a wild pitch and Seth Williams’ two-run single to make it 4-1.
Maginn answered with three runs in the sixth tie it. A walk and Tully’s single set the stage for two-out RBI singles by Billy Blake and Justin Notaro, with a run-scoring error sandwiched in between.
Davante Buie’s double and Jeffers’ single gave Maginn a 1-0 lead in the first.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of my guys,” said Grasso. “We were down, 4-1, against the defending champions and we rallied. That tells you a lot about what I’ve got here.”
Maginn upset No. 1 seed South Glens Falls in the quarterfinals,
SILVER WARRIORS BOW
Bobby Peluso smacked a grand slam, and Patrick Puentes drove in three runs, as Columbia beat Niskayuna, 10-7, in a Class AA semifinal at Joe Bruno Stadium.
The Blue Devils took an 8-0 lead, and held off the Silver Warriors, who scored six runs in the seventh inning.
Pete Furey drove in three runs for Niskayuna, which finished the season 18-8.
Columbia advances to meet undefeated LaSalle, a 6-1 winner over Bethlehem in the other semi. The title game will be played Saturday night at 8 at Joe Bruno Stadium.
Kyle Charron pitched a four-hitter with seven strikeouts for the Cadeys (25-0) and helped his own cause with two singles and an RBI. Lukas Bridenbeck tacked on a a single and RPI for LaSalle.
For bethlehem (19-7), Tim Blumkin had a single and RBI.
Schalmont lost to Chatham,
16-3, and Johnstown fell to Granville,
14-4, in Class B semifinals.
COLUMBIA 10, NISKAYUNA 7
Niskayuna 000 010 6 — 7 6 0
Columbia 400 402 x — 10 12 1
Grieshe, Kenealy (3), Bell (4), Tyson (4), Congdon (5) and Callahan; Chase, Montross (7), Lucas (7) and Bohley.
LASALLE 6, BETHLEHEM 1
Bethlehem 000 010 0 — 1 4 4
LaSalle 010 032 x — 6 6 2
Bowers, Nash (5) and Branigan; Charron and Bridenbeck.
MOHONASEN 10, SCOTIA 8
Scotia 112 202 0 — 8 13 7
Mohonasen 122 203 x — 10 11 4
Aker and Myers; Gatchell, Hondro (4), Tedesco (7) and Herrington.
ICHABOD CRANE 5, BISHOP MAGINN 4
Bishop Maginn 100 003 0 — 4 5 1
Ichabod Crane 000 401 x — 5 3 3
Buie, Jeffers (4) and Halloran; Horn, Ingham (7) and Issler.
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