TROY – Lake George head coach Erik Hoover hoped it was only a matter of time before Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons senior pitching ace Vinny Sorrentino ran out of steam. It turned out to be the sixth inning when Sorrentino just couldn’t find the plate any more, and the Warriors took full advantage.
Lake George (15-4) erupted for seven runs over the final two innings to rally past the Golden Knights and deny them their first Class CC title with a 9-6 victory in the sectional finals Friday night at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. Sorrentino, who pitched Monday, was wild all evening but continually escaped huge jams before finally being replaced by sophomore Nick Kownack with one out and two on in the sixth inning.
The Golden Knights (14-4) weren’t the same without their ace.
“It’s really kind of a shock,” Hoover said. “No a shock that we won the title, but it was kind of a shock to be down 5-2 with our backs against the wall. [Nick] Hoffis is what we call our specialist. He comes in when we’re in trouble and stops it right there. We knew Sorrentino was a great pitcher, but we knew that his pitch count was getting up there and that he had pitched Monday. We were trying to wait him out.”
Hoffis came on in relief of LG starter Tony Abrantes and was extremely effective. He even came back out on the mound after being his in the stomach while trying to bunt in the fifth inning.
Sorrentino allowed eight walks and three hits and also hit a batter in five-plus innings. He also struck out five and constantly got out of trouble to keep the Golden Knights in control until the end of the game. He walked the first two batters of the game but retired the next three Warriors in the first inning. He left the bases loaded in the second inning and allowed only one run in the third when the bases were loaded again after three walks.
Sorrentino finally couldn’t go any longer in the sixth inning after he walked two Warriors with one out. Kownack came on in relief, but he couldn’t put out the fire. Jack Kelleher belted a two-run double to right, Michael Johnson followed with an RBI double to left, and Sean Butkowski added an RBI single to right to score four runs.
Lake George tacked on three more runs in the seventh on RBI hits by Clay Moody and Alex Jones. Kelleher, hitting third in the lineup, added another RBI on a groundout.
“He pitched in and out of trouble all night,” ND-BG head coach Kacy Daus said. “He gave us everything he had. He pitched for us on Monday, and we were short-staffed this week. Lake George is a very good team. Our kids really stepped up, and we will be back next year. We only lose two seniors.”
Junior catcher Christian Baaki said he knew Sorrentino was going to have a rough night. “Vinny is my brother, and we work on his pitching all the time,” Baaki said. “We know sometimes he loses his curveball, but he also had trouble controlling his changeup tonight. You can’t beat a good team like Lake George when two of your pitches aren’t working.”
The Golden Knight took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a single to left by Sorrentino and a double to left by Jacob Trombley. ND-BG extended its lead to 2-0 in the second when Joe Matala singled home Matt Kordziel, who led off the inning with a walk.
Lake George climbed within 2-1 on Vidnansky’s sacrifice fly in the third inning, and the Warriors tied the score with a run in the fifth, when the Golden Knights committed two errors.
But ND-BG grabbed a 5-2 advantage in the bottom of the fifth inning on Sorrentino’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly and a two-run single by Baaki.
Lake George plays Maple Hill in the Class CC-C playoff Tuesday night at 7 at Shuttleworth Park.
In the Class C final, Maple Hill defeated Canajoharie 12-2 when the game was called early because of the 10-run mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth inning.
LAKE GEORGE 9, ND-BG 6
Lake George 001 014 3 – 9 8 1
ND-BG 110 030 1 – 6 8 4
Abrantes, Hoffis (5) and Moody; Sorrentino, Kownack (6), Kordziel (6) and Baaki.
MAPLE HILL 12, CANAJOHARIE 2
(Game called after 6 innings)
Canajoharie 100 100 – 2 4 4
Maple Hill 212 511 – 12 10 0
Collins, Shariff (4), Krug (4), O’Neil (5), Logan (6) and Suits; Yager and Butler.