Shenendehowa won a baseball championship the hard way Wednesday afternoon.
Mike Williams stroked a tie-breaking, two-run single in the top of the seventh inning, and Tyler Dehmer escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the bottom half as the Plainsmen edged Niskayuna, 4-3, in a Suburban Council game.
Shenendehowa trailed, 1-0 and 2-1, before coming back to lock down both the league’s North Division and overall titles.
“That’s one of the most clutch performances I’ve seen in my 19 years,” Shenendehowa coach Jim Carrese said after securing his 13th division banner. “We had a couple of calls go against us. We got down. We fought. That was a heck of a baseball game right there.”
Dehmer finished it off when he got the only batter he faced, Dan Peters, to ground out with Niskayuna runners on first and second. The Silver Warriors had collected three singles and a run earlier in the inning against Shenendehowa starter and winner Sean Conroy.
“If it wasn’t the best, it was definitely one our best performances of the season,” said Dehmer, a senior right-hander. “A lot of guys stepped up. We dug deep, and found a way to win.”
“I had faith in everybody,” said Williams, a junior designated hitter who was 0-for-3 before his two-out, opposite-field single to right. “In the seventh, no one looked nervous. They all looked like they were ready to do the job.”
Matt Dempsey and Bryan Marotta drew walks off Niskayuna reliever Zach Griesche to start Shenendehowa’s seventh, and after a flyout, Ryan Harper came on and walked Andrew Kalish to fill the bases. Harper got a strikeout before Travis Belleard drew a walk to tie the game, and Williams followed with his line shot.
“The down side for us is the walks,” said Niskayuna coach John Furey. “You can’t win at that point with walks. Other than that, we showed what we’ve got, and that’s a lot of good things.”
Belleard had fallen behind in the count, 0-2, before working out his game-tying walk.
“Belleard’s walk was absolutely critical, then Williams gets a 2-2 pitch on the outside corner and takes it the other way,” Carrese said. “That was a great at-bat.”
“Me and [shortstop Brandon] Cogswell have been going to All-Stars [Hitting Academy] every night, and with all that practice, I went in with confidence,” Williams said. “I was ready to get a big hit.”
Ethan Kelly singled to begin the Niskayuna seventh, and one out later, Drew Steele reached on a forceout and took second on a throwing error. Consecutive singles by Nick Valletta and Peter Furey made it 4-3, and Dehmer came on.
“Roy [Conroy] pitched a great game. You’ve got to give it to him,” said Dehmer. “Things got a little hectic in the seventh, and when I got my chance, I was real confident I could finish it for him.”
Conroy gave up nine hits, struck out seven and walked one in Shenendehowa’s third straight win. The senior righty gave up a fourth-inning run when Mike Krasodomski singled with two down and scored on Shawn Callahan’s double, and another in the sixth when Gregg Rahn hit a two-out single, stole second and came around on Krasodomski’s single.
“I’m happy with what I did out there,” said Conroy. “In the big games, my fastball has more pop and my curve has more break. My pitches were working.”
“That’s four lights-out performances for him,” Carrese said of Conroy. “He really, really stepped up this year. He started as a three-inning guy, and now he’s one of our main starters.
“Niskayuna is a great hitting team, and to be able to hold them down, that’s some pitching.”
Krasodomski pitched well for Niskayuna, holding Shenendehowa scoreless until the fifth, when back-to-back singles by Dan Lenny and Scott Buniak, a forceout and Marotta’s sacrifice fly tied the game at 1-1.
“He pitched a little for us early in the season. When we were looking for a guy to help out in a starting role, he was it,” Furey said of Krasodomski, who gave up seven hits and walked one before Griesche relieved. “He went far enough to keep us in the game. He did a tremendous job.”
Griesche pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth after coming on for Krasodomski, ending the inning with a groundball out to keep the game tied at 1-1.
With his two singles, Krasodomski was the lone multihit player for Niskayuna (8-8, 12-8), which clinched a spot in the Section II Class AA tournament by beating Ballston Spa Monday and Colonie Friday. Belleard and Scott Buniak both singled twice for the Plainsmen (12-4, 15-6), who started five juniors and two sophomores.
“The most important thing that has developed with this young team is a tremendous amount of trust,” said Carrese. “We always talk about holding the rope, pick up the next guy. They’ve done that.”
Shenendehowa 000 010 3 — 4 8 1
Niskayuna 000 101 1 — 3 9 0
Conroy, Dehmer (7) and Marotta; Krasodomski, Griesche (5), Harper (7) and Callahan.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: High School Sports