With stellar pitching and plenty of runs to back it up, Voorheesville’s triumph over Hoosick Falls Thursday had the characteristics of so many of its games before.
None of them, though, carried as much weight.
Kevin Connolly pitched six shutout innings with 13 strikeouts, the Blackbirds jumped on the Panthers early, and Anthony Scaccia delivered a big hit later on in a 6-1 Section II Class C title-game win at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
Voorheesville (No. 8 seed, 18-5) scored two runs in each of the first two innings, Scaccia’s two-run triple in the fourth made it 6-0, and Connelly went the distance to log his third postseason victory for the first-time sectional champions.
“Everybody was asking me at school if we’re going to win. I wasn’t being cocky when I said there’s no part of me that feels we’re not going to get it done,” said fourth-year Voorheesville coach Kyle Turski. “These guys are so poised and so resilient.”
Voorheesville's four-game Class C sweep included a trio of victories against the best of the Wasaren League, starting with an 11-0 quarterfinal blanking of unbeaten and No. 1-seeded Hoosic Valley. The Blackbirds outlasted Greenwich in the semifinals, 7-4, in nine innings.
“You can’t go into a tournament not thinking you can win,” said Scaccia, a senior first baseman. “We wanted to play good baseball and represent our school well.”
Connolly went the distance against Hoosic Valley and got the win in relief against Greenwich before scattering five hits and walking five to go with his 13 strikeouts against Hoosick Falls (No. 6, 16-7). The Panthers’ postseason resume included wins against 2011 Class C champ Fort Plain and this year’s top Central Hudson Valley League team in Rensselaer.
“He pitched 13 innings last week, and I asked him if he’d be ready to go, and he said yes,” Turski said of Connolly, a senior righty. “He’s a pitcher. I can’t say enough about about his guts, and the guts of the rest of this team.”
“We read up on a few of them, and we had a game plan,” Connolly said. “Throw a lot of strikes. Pound the strike zone. Get ahead early.”
“That kid has a rubber arm,” Scaccia said of his teammate. “Sometimes, I wonder if it’s real rubber in there.”
While Connolly flourished over the first two innings with five strikeouts, Hoosick Falls' starter Cody LaFlamme struggled with six walks, two wild pitches mixed in and a key throwing error.
“Getting out to an early lead and putting the other team down in a hole, that’s something we’ve been doing,” said Connolly.
Voorheesville went up, 2-0, in the first on Mike Young's RBI single and LaFlamme's fourth walk, to Kristian Singh, with the bases loaded. The Blackbirds scored two more in the second when LaFlamme issued two walks, Nico Church singled to fill the bases, and LaFlamme threw the ball far wide of home plate after Mike Chiseri's infield tapper.
“To put it simply, this is high school baseball,” said Turski. “Put the ball in play and good things happen. Today, we showed that to be true.”
A hit batter, a walk and a two-out, two-run triple by Scaccia extended Voorheesville's lead in the fourth.
Chiseri also tripled for Voorheesville, and LaFlamme doubled in the fourth for Hoosick Falls' only extra-base hit.
The Panthers scored in the seventh on an error, two walks and LaFlamme's two-out single. The Panthers had only one runner reach third base before that, in the first, when Billy Pine singled and moved up on a two-out steal and a wild pitch. Connolly struck out the side that inning, and fanned a pair in the second, third, fifth and sixth.
“I heard Voorheesville had never been to the finals,” said Connolly, who notched his eight win. “Getting here was big. Winning it is even better.”
Voorheesville will play the Section VII-X winner Tuesday in a regional final at site and time to be determined.
Glens Falls scored three first-inning runs and held off Queensbury, 3-2, to claim its first sectional title since 1985.
Mike Harrington hit an RBI double, Alex Wright lofted a sacrifice fly and Logan Atkins produced another run for Glens Falls (No. 1, 21-2) with a groundout. Reed Farrier and Alston Moses hit RBI singles for the Spartans (No. 3, 16-5).
Zach Milton (10-0) got the win, and Harrington earned the save as Glens Falls beat its Foothills Council rival for the third time this season. Harrington pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth.
Ted Smallwood and Ben Brown joined on a four-hitter, Bob Lasch smacked an RBI single, and Albany Academy (No. 6, 15-5) beat Catskill (No. 5, 13-6) late Wednesday night, 6-3, for its first Class B championship since 1983.
Lasch knocked in what proved to be the winning run, giving the Cadets a 4-1 lead in the third, and Mike Eglow scored three times.
Shenendehowa (No. 4, 16-5) and Columbia (No. 2, 17-4) will meet in an all-Suburban Council Class AA title game tonight at 7 after the Plainsmen beat Niskayuna in a rain-shortended semifinal Tuesday, 4-1, and Columbia edged Guilderland Wednesday, 2-1.
Columbia is looking to become the first three-time Class AA champ in a division that was introduced in 2003, with the Blue Devils previously prevailing in 2009 and 2004. Shenendehowa's title drought extends back to 1996 (Class A). Columbia beat Shenendehowa with a late rally, 8-5, in the lone regular season game pitting the league's division winners.
GLENS FALLS 3, QUEENSBURY 2
Queensbury 000 011 0 — 2 7 1
Glens Falls 300 000 x — 3 3 1
Peltz and Farrier; Milton, M. Harrington (6) and B. Harrington.
VOORHEESVILLE 6, HOOSICK FALLS 0
Voorheesville 220 200 0 — 6 4 1
Hoosick Falls 000 000 1 — 1 5 1
Connolly and M. Chiseri; LaFlamme, Williams (5) and Brogue.
ALBANY ACADEMY 6, CATSKILL 3
Albany Academy 121 020 0 — 6 2 2
Catskill 010 110 0 — 3 4 5
Smallwood, Brown (6) and Eglow; Overbaugh, Schmidt (4) and Bulich.