BROADALBIN — In extra innings, with the score tied in Saturday’s Section II Class B semifinal between Schalmont and Broadalbin-Perth, senior Ryan Visco stepped to the plate and knew it “could [be] my last at-bat at this high school ever.”
But with one swing — and an upset in the day’s other semifinal — Visco earned some more home at-bats with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, as he sent second-seeded Broadalbin-Perth into Tuesday’s championship game.
“That’s probably the second-farthest ball I’ve hit all year,” Visco said after the home run that delivered Broadalbin-Perth an 11-10 win against Schalmont.
Visco’s game-winning home run capped a back-and-forth affair that included four home runs, four lead changes and a Broadalbin-Perth two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to force the semifinal into extras.
“They didn’t give up on each other. Even when our chances were very, very slim, they pushed though,” Patriots coach RJ Pingitore said.
Visco had sent the game into extra innings. With Broadalbin-Perth down two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Visco delivered a two-run single that scored Ryan Hertik and Luke Barnhart to tie the game at 10.
After an uneventful eighth inning, both squads found something extra in the ninth. Schalmont saw its first three batters reach base safely, forcing Pingitore to circle up his infield for a conversation.
“I told [pitcher] Ryan Savoie. ‘I don’t know how you’re going to get out of this, but you’re going to, and I believe in you,’” Pingitore said.
Savoie enticed the next batter to pop out to third base. Then, with the infield playing in, Broadalbin-Perth turned a ground ball to shortstop into an inning-ending double-play, with outs made at home plate and then first base.
“You can’t draw that up any better,” Pingitore said.
“Then,” Savoie said, “Visco came up and hit a homer.”
Visco — Broadalbin-Perth’s starting pitcher, who struck out 10 batters and allowed four earned runs in five innings — made sure the home half of the ninth inning was a quick one. Batting first, the senior took the first pitch he saw and deposited it over the left-centerfield fence.
Visco joyfully circled the bases as the Schalmont defense slowly walked off, and the slugger was greeted by an army of teammates as he jumped on home plate for the game-winning run. The home run completed the cycle for Visco, whose four-hit day saw him drive in three runs.
Savoie earned the win for Broadalbin-Perth. He pitched the final 3 2-3 innings for the Patriots.
“It’s my first year on varsity and it was definitely nervewracking to go out and have the bases loaded with no outs,” Savoie said of the ninth-inning jam he faced. “I knew I had to keep the ball down low.”
Schalmont opened the contest with Andrew Schraa delivering a three-run home run in the first inning. Later, Aiden Jasenski hit a three-run home run that tipped off the glove of an outfielder and over the fence. Andrew Van Dyk and Nick Delucia each added two RBIs for Schalmont.
The missed chance late, though, perhaps kept the sixth-seeded Sabres from advancing.
“It stings a little bit when you have some runners on and can’t get that one run in that you kind of need,” Schalmont coach Chris Teta said. “We fought hard all the way to the end, that’s all we asked our guys to do.”
For Broadalbin-Perth, Hertik hit a home run and had three RBIs.
In Tuesday’s championship game, Broadalbin-Perth will face Ichabod Crane at home as the Patriots look to win its first-ever Section II title.
In Saturday’s other semifinal, fifth-seeded Ichabod Crane rallied against top-seeded Hudson for five runs in the fifth inning to win 12-8.
Connor Bailey went 2-for-2 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a home run for the Riders. Bailey also walked three times. Justice Suafoa went 3-for-5 with a run and four RBIs, including a double and a triple in the win.
Schalmont 320 005 000 — 10 15 1
Broadalbin-Perth 202 220 201 — 11 10 1