Zach D’Errico was thinking about throwing strikes and getting guys out when he took the mound for Mekeel Christian Academy a week ago in a game against Northstar Christian Academy at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.
“We couldn’t warm up on the field before the game. Another team was playing before us,” the senior said. “Besides that, it was just a normal game for me.”
The last time D’Errico was on that field, the one that sits just down the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, it was anything but normal.
He was 11 years old back in June 2009, sitting with family in the right-field bleachers and looking for an autograph, when Steve Lyons plucked him from the crowd that had gathered for the inaugural Hall of Fame Classic. Soon, he would be taking ground balls with first baseman Mike Pagliarulo and playing toss with 90-year-old Hall of Fame legend Bob Feller, the game’s starter.
“I thought he was going to sign an autograph,” D’Errico said of Lyons. “I took off my glove and he said, ‘You’re going to need that. You’re going to play shortstop.’ When we got out there, I thought he was going to stand next to me. He stood behind me.”
D’Errico shining moment came with one down and a runner on first when just-retired Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin hit a one-hopper toward the Our Savior’s Lutheran School fifth-grader. He handled it cleanly and flipped the ball to Jeff Kent, who followed with a throw to Pagliarulo to complete a 6-4-3 double play.
“That scorebook has to be in the Hall of Fame, so he’s in the Hall of Fame,” Zach’s dad, Rick, said. “He looked really comfortable making the play.”
“I didn’t want to mess up,” the younger D’Errico said.
Lyons and his young sidekick jogged out to right field after the double play, took their bows and got a big round of applause.
“It was awesome. I’ll never forget it,” D’Errico said. “Some people don’t believe it, and I have to show them the clip.”
D’Errico said he ran the bases a few times at the Hall of Fame Game before his own brush with fame.
“At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal,” D’Errico, a Schenectady resident, said of his half-inning stint. “I went back to my seat and people kept coming over. After a while, they brought me back around and there were like 10 reporters there.
“All I wanted to do was watch the game.”
Rick D’Errico remembers his son signing autographs afterward.
“He didn’t know what a big deal it was,” he said. “As he’s gotten older, he realizes how special it was.”
D’Errico said he did not tell his teammates of his exploits as they made they way toward Cooperstown for Tuesday’s non-league game against the squad from Rochester.
“No one knew,” he said. “Back in 2009, they told us, ‘If you come back, let us know,’ and I think my dad emailed them. When we got there, the Hall of Fame guy pulled me aside, and when I was getting my picture taken, my teammates started asking, ‘What’s going on?’ ”
D’Errico didn’t get the pitching decision in Mekeel’s 8-6 win against Northstar Christian. He did, however, deliver the runs that broke a 6-6 tie in the sixth inning when a drive off his bat was misplayed for an error.
“I always wanted to play on that field,” D’Errico, a four-year varsity player at Mekeel, said. “I hadn’t been back since that game in 2009. To go back and see it was pretty cool.”
What happed seven years ago was, too.
The Shenendehowa girls set meet records in the 4×200 and 4×1,500 at Saturday’s Colonie Relays.
Melissa Haas, Kelly Hamlin, Olivia Robbins and Alexandra Tudor combined for a 1:42.26 in the 4×200 to better the 1:42.37 clocked by a Shenendehowa foursome last year that included Tudor. Caroline Hartman, Taylor Leggett, Olivia Lomascolo and Kristina Watrobski went 19:41.89 in the 4×1,500 to beat the 19:43.2 turned in by a Shenendehowa group in 2010.
Carrie Krohn of Schoharie ran a meet-record 13.1 in the 100 dash, and Olivia Mooney of Cambridge cleared a meet-record 5-6 in the high jump at Saturday’s Marsh Galotta Invitational at Middleburgh.
Scotty and Damian Bruce of Gloversville captured the Foothills Council A Division doubles tennis championship Saturday with a four-match sweep capped by an 8-6 victory over Queensbury’s Patrick McMore and Matt Ricardelli.
The Gloversville tandem came in seeded No. 1 and beat teams from Schuylerville (8-1), Scotia-Glenville (8-1) and Queensbury (8-1) to reach the title match.
WHAT THEY’RE DOING
Saratoga Central graduate and Alvernia junior Cameron Coons was recently selected the Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth baseball Player of the Year after leading the league in hitting for the second year in a row with a .426 average. The first baseman topped the Crusaders with 55 hits, 15 doubles, 33 RBI, a .651 slugging percentage and a .479 on-base percentage in leading them to a 27-13 regular season record.
The son of former Saratoga basketball coach Tom Coons was tabbed the ECAC Division III South Player of the Week in mid-April after batting .588 with three of his four home runs in a 4-1 stretch when the Crusaders clinched a berth in the MAC Commonwealth Tournament. . . .
Guilderland graduate and Binghamton freshman Rebecca Golderman has been named the America East Rookie of the Year for women’s lacrosse. Golderman, who led the conference newcomers with 30 goals, is the first Bear to earn the award. She landed a spot on the AE second team.
Cat Sexton (Niskayuna, New Hampshire) and Kaylee Rickert (Bethlehem, UAlbany) joined Golderman on the AE All-Rookie Team.