TROY — After a five-run first inning, the hot Chatham bats were just too much for Galway to overcome as the Golden Eagles fell to the Panthers 10-6 in the Section II Class C/CC baseball playoff game Saturday at Joseph Bruno L. Stadium.
The Galway bats came out hot, sending 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning, cracking five hits and scoring five to take the early advantage. Eric Zelezniak, Eli Tompkins, Joshua Lovelass and Joseph DeVillis all had RBI hits.
However, Chatham answered in a big way, scoring three runs in the bottom half of the first to bring the deficit to two, then took the lead for good in the third inning as Michael Pierro doubled to deep center field to tie the game at 5, followed by a run-scoring balk from Galway starter Myles Pleasants to take the lead.
“It was hard. We thought we had a chance with our hitting after scoring five runs in the first inning. We thought we had a good chance, but we just couldn’t respond with the bats,” Galway coach Mark Kalinkewicz said.
Galway got one run back in the top of the fourth when Pleasants scored on a wild pitch, but Chatham responded with three more runs in the bottom half of the inning to make 10-6.
Galway had some missed opportunities throughout the night. They left the bases loaded in the first and fourth innings and left two runners on in the sixth inning, leaving runners on first and third. Chatham’s Jameson Balich, who had come out of the bullpen to relieve starter Logan Smalley, struck out Tompkins to end the Golden Eagles’ final threat of the game. Earlier, in the fourth, Lovelass flew out to left field to end the frame. In the second inning, Tompkins grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second.
“I think we could have used those runs. They got up 10-6, and in some of those innings, we had the bases loaded. If we would have scored a few more runs there, it would have been a much closer game,” Kalinkewicz said.
The loss ended Galway’s season, but not before this team won the program’s first Section II title since 1986.
“We’re really proud of the season we had, we don’t want to dwell on this one. We had a great season. Winning the sectionals for the first time in many years is a big deal for us,” Kalinkewicz said. “To get this far after losing six seniors last year is just awesome. We’re really proud of the season that we had. . . . Going to the semifinals last year I think really motivated them to get back there and win the title this year.”
In the Class D championship game, Germantown scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to walk-off Fort Ann 2-1.
Germantown trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh but roared back, capped off by a walk-off single to left field off the bat of Logan McDonald to give the Clippers the win.
Fort Ann struck first in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Cullen Jackson. Cardinals starting pitcher Callon Sutliff held the Germantown bats in check through the first six innings.
The win gave Germantown its second straight Class D title.
Galway 500 100 0 — 6 9 2
Chatham 304 300 x — 10 10 1