As the year ends, it’s time to look back at some of the biggest sports happenings around Montgomery County from 2022.
Here’s a selection of the top stories from the area this season, listed in chronological order.
Jan. 19: Amsterdam girls’ basketball coach Eric Duemler won his 300th game, as the Rams topped Scotia-Glenville 73-31. At the time, in his 21st season, Duemler was 300-133. He finished last season as the eighth all-time winningest coach in Section II history.
Feb. 16: Dale Smith was named the new varsity baseball coach at Fort Plain, replacing the legendary Craig Phillips. Phillips won 806 total games, a NYSPHSAA record, and two state championships, 12 Section II titles and 26 league crowns.
Feb. 26: Canajoharie/Fort Plain’s Reed Douglass won the NYSPHSAA Division II 172-pound wrestling title with a dramatic last-second takedown. Trailing 1-0, Douglass took down La Salle’s Ray Hutton to win the title by a 3-1 decision at MVP Arena. He was the combined program’s first state title winner.
March: The OESJ boys’ basketball team won the Section II Class D title on March 5 with a 52-45 victory over Northville. The Wolves advanced to the state final four with a 57-46 regional final win over Seton Catholic, but had their season end at 15-10 with a state semifinal loss to top-ranked Avoca/Prattsburgh, 59-42.
June 10-11: On the first day of the state championships in track and field, Amsterdam senior Garrett McHeard won the Division I boys’ shot put title with a throw of 56 feet, 3.5 inches. The next day, Fonda-Fultonville senior Alessandro Saltsman, on his last throw, won the Federation discus title with a toss of 182-5.
July 18: Amsterdam graduate and Rutgers University pitcher Dale Stanavich was selected by the Miami Marlins in the MLB Draft. The Marlins chose the left-handed pitcher with the 232nd pick in the eighth round. The previous spring at Rutgers, Stanavich struck out 51, walked nine, earned 10 saves, had a 1-2 record and a 2.10 ERA in 34 1-3 innings pitched. He made the ABCA East All-Region First Team.
Aug. 3: The Amsterdam Mohawks won their sixth Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League title by beating Batavia in a best-of-3 series. After winning Game 1 at home, 9-5, the Mohawks traveled to Batavia, where they lost Game 2, 8-1, before rebounding the same night to win the decisive Game 3, 7-2. Keith Griffin was named the league’s coach of the year, infielder Gage Miller was player of the year and Santhosh Gottam was reliever of the year.
August: Mike Mancini followed in his father, Alex’s footsteps, when he took over the Fonda-Fultonville football team. Mike Mancini was a 2002 graduate of the school and threw for 4,766 yards during his time there. The Braves finished this season with a 9-1 record, not losing until the Section II Class C semifinals.
Nov. 12: Fonda-Fultonville senior Bennett Melita followed his Section II Class C victory a week earlier with an individual state championship. At Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, Melita won the 3.1-mile Class C state run in 16:36.6, more than 23 seconds ahead of the runner-up. The Braves finished fifth in the team standings.
November: Amsterdam seniors Jhai Vellon and Ceasar Thompson finished record-breaking football seasons. Vellon, a left-handed quarterback, completed 69.7% of his passes for a school-record 2,295 yards and 22 touchdowns. He added 754 yards and 15 TDs as a runner. Thompson had a school-record 53 catches for 1,032 yards and 8 TDs despite missing a game and a half.