As it turned out, RJ Gallup’s lucky pants were no match for Arkport’s hitting.
The Blue Jays of Section V used a 17-hit attack to shrug off a 6-1 deficit and win the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D baseball championship with a 14-6 victory over Schenectady Christian School Saturday afternoon at Union-Endicott High School.
Gallup, the Schenectady Christian senior who, with classmates Ian Compton, George Amedore and Steve Carter, were the foundation of the fifth-year Falcons’ program, had carried Schenectady Christian into the championship game with a workmanlike effort in the semifinal in the morning, scattering nine hits in an 11-1 victory over Livingston Manor. And he did it with a gaping hole, which was starting to resemble a doggy door, in the back on his right pants leg. The tear had occurred during the final regular-season game, but once the Falcons got on a roll in the playoffs, Gallup wasn’t going to change his wardrobe.
But luck ran out for the Falcons in the fourth inning of the championship game.
Schenectady Christian (18-9) had appeared to take control of the game when the Falcons erupted for six runs in the second inning to take a 6-1 lead.
But the Blue Jays got three back against sophomore Matt Gallup in the third, and then put the game away in the fourth with a six-run outburst of their own.
After No. 8 hitter Jason Lewis opened the inning with a walk, the Blue Jays (21-2) banged out four straight hits, capped by a wind-aided double to the fence in left field by Kevin Crosson.
The first two of those hits came off Matt Gallup, and the Blue Jays did the rest of the damage against RJ Gallup, who was brought in to replace his brother with no outs.
“I wasn’t necessarily out of gas,” said RJ Gallup. “I missed a couple of spots, but they were hitting it hard.”
“We just couldn’t stop the bleeding,” said Falcons coach Chad Bowman.
By the time RJ Gallup got the final out in the fourth, the Blue Jays had a 10-6 lead.
“We had a 6-1 lead, had momentum going, Matt has pitched well for us all year. We were in a good spot,” said RJ Gallup. “That just shows how things can slip away.”
The Falcons roughed up Arkport starter Vincent McDaniel in the second inning, scoring all of their runs with two outs. Tyler Spence drilled an RBI double over the head of Arkport left fielder Nate Gambino, No. 9 hitter Charles Talpin and RJ Gallup had run-scoring singles and Matt Gallup drilled a rocket past Blue Jays shortstop Ethan Lewis that turned into a two-run double.
But Arkport coach Scott Wood wasn’t worried.
“My pitcher [McDaniel] is a very good pitcher, but he has never been in a situation of this level, of this pressure,” he said. “What was going through my head was to take our lumps and chew up three [innings].”
Because Wood’s plan was to bring back ace Shawn Kerr, who had pitched a complete game in a 2-1 victory over Hamilton in the semifinals earlier in the day. After McDaniel got in his three innings, Kerr came in and held the Falcons to just one hit over the final four innings, while striking out four.
“He’s a workhorse,” said Wood. “He took us to the section title game last year and we got beat. That’s been a thorn in his side all year.”
Ethan Lewis, Arkport’s leadoff hitter, finished the day 4-for-5, while catcher Nick Smith, the No. 9 hitter, was 3-for-4 and scored twice. Seven of the nine hitters in the Blue Jays’ lineup had at least one hit.
“They hit the ball well, up and down the lineup,” said Bowman. “They were the better team today and there are times when you just have to tip your hat to the other team. Today is one of those days. But when you’ve got a 6-1 lead in a state championship game, you’ve got to hold it.”
“Five years ago, we didn’t even have a team,” said Gallup. “We had a great year, and it was nice to make it this far. But we could have played better.”
The Falcons blew out Livingston Manor in the semifinal, scoring seven runs over the first two innings. Livingston Manor starter Troy Edwards struggled with his control, walking two batters and hitting two more in the second inning before Carter delivered a two-run single that capped a four-run inning.
Schenectady Christian 340 111 1 — 11 10 1
Livingston Manor 000 000 1 — 1 9 3
RJ Gallup and Amedore; Edwards, Abbott (6) and Abbott, Lewis.
Arkport 013 601 3 — 14 17 0
Schenectady Christian 060 000 0 — 6 8 2
McDaniel, Kerr (4) and Smith; M. Gallup, RJ Gallup (4), Compton (5) and Amedore.