Greg Musk had one last jam to escape.
“I got a little nervous, but I know I have great defense,” Schalmont’s senior lefty said of the seventh-inning threat he faced in Saturday’s state Class B championship game at Binghamton University. “I had them to back me up, and they did their job.”
Third baseman John Paskevich handled a two-out grounder and fired to first to cap the grandest season in the history of Schalmont baseball.
That throw finished off a 3-1 victory over Rye Neck, and was the last play in a 22-game winning streak for the Sabres (26-1).
“We made plays behind him,” Schalmont coach Bob Anderson said of Musk, who earned two wins Saturday to finish with a school-record 10. “That’s the way it’s been all year. A guy picks up another guy. That’s how you win 26 games.”
Musk went three innings in relief early Saturday and then the full seven against Rye Neck, giving up seven hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.
“Coach told me I’d be in relief if things got sticky in the first game,” said Musk. “I wanted the ball in the second game.”
Musk hit an insurance RBI single in the sixth inning and held off the Panthers (Section I, 25-2-1) in the seventh. After Chris Cascione’s one-out double, right fielder Chris Hamilton caught a fly near the line. Musk then hit a batter before Paskevich gunned down Matt Franks.
“There was no way we were getting him [Musk] out of there,” said Anderson. “He was pounding the strike zone. He’s got a lot of heart.”
Schalmont’s fabulous season started with Anderson’s 300th win and included Colonial Council, Bouck tournament and Section II titles to go with the program’s first regional championship.
“We came back from Myrtle Beach and had to play Lansingburgh and Albany Academy. Two tough teams, and Academy nips us, 2-0,” said Anderson. “We don’t lose again. Twenty-two in a row. What an unbelievable run. These guys were determined.”
Musk hit a two-out RBI single in the sixth after Paskevich singled and moved up on a sacrifice bunt.
Schalmont scored its first two runs in the second inning. Joe Wignot started with a single, and after Hamilton reached on an infield error, Brion Dufek hit an RBI single. Paskevich drew a walk to load the bases, and Jake Defayette picked up an RBI when he was struck by a Angelo Spedafino pitch.
Rye Neck got its run in the sixth when Franks singled leading off, took second on a passed ball and third on a groundout, and scored on Spedafino’s single.
Musk got out of a couple of jams before Rye Neck broke through. In the second, Spedafino hit a one-out single and Ryan Aquino drew a walk. Musk then recorded a strikeout and got an infield forceout.
In the Rye Neck fifth, Musk walked Sam Piliero to begin the frame and Chris Pennell blooped a two-out single. Wignot, Schalmont’s shortstop, then snagged a line drive off the bat of Tom Pipolo, and Musk went on to complete his fifth playoff victory.
His fourth came earlier Saturday with an effective three-inning relief stint in Schalmont’s 14-6 win over Clinton.
“We just came together and played two great games,” said Musk.
Rye Neck (Section I, 25-2-1) beat Livonia (Section 5, 24-2) in Saturday’s first game, 8-0, behind Aquino’s one-hit, 11-strikeout pitching.
Schalmont piled up a playoff high for runs and hits against Clinton (Section III, 18-6).
Musk singled and scored on a two-out error to break a sixth-inning tie, and Dufek followed with a two-run single to make it 8-5. The Sabres batted around in a six-run seventh, which included five of their 17 hits.
“It was a great team effort today, and we needed it to get through these teams,” said Anderson.
Musk relieved Nick Bird in the fifth with two on and no outs and the game tied at 5-5, and struck out the side.
Musk gave up his first earned run in the postseason in the sixth.
SCHALMONT 3, RYE NECK 1
Rye Neck 000 001 0 — 1 6 2
Schalmont 020 001 x — 3 7 0
Spedafino, Franks (2) and Pipolo; Musk and Yezzo.
SCHALMONT 14, CLINTON 6
Schalmont 230 003 6 — 14 17 0
Clinton 203 001 0 — 6 10 4
Capovani, Bird (4), Musk (5) and Yezzo; Hardy, Hobika (6), Foxton (7) and Taft.