TROY — Cole Hedden pitched to three batters on Thursday night. Then the rain came.
He had fallen behind to Guilderland 1-0 in that time, but came back after the game was suspended and dominated Friday afternoon at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, pushing Niskayuna to a 3-1 win over Guilderland in the Section II Class AA baseball semifinals.
On Thursday, he had walked two batters, one of them scoring on a wild pitch. After the break, he was lights-out, not allowing a run for the rest of the game, only giving up three hits in five-plus innings of work.
“I don’t think he’s walked two guys in an inning all year,” Niskayuna coach Chris Bianchi said.
Hedden did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. He got into trouble in the fifth inning as Guilderland loaded the bases, but he got out of that frame with a Henry Li flyout to end the threat. That was the theme for Guilderland all game as they got runners on, but could not score them.
“We didn’t come up with the big hit when we had the bases loaded. That’s what it came down to,” Guilderland coach Doug LaValley said. “We didn’t beat ourselves. That’s probably the first time I could say that all year long. [Niskayuna’s] a very good team.”
Malachi Flaherty led off the sixth with a single to chase Hedden, but not after he had shut down the Guilderland bats from the point the game re-started Friday on.
Hedden said it was a very tough situation to be put into, and it’s something that a pitcher cannot really get used to.
“It was tough. That’s almost an impossible situation to get yourself into,” Hedden said.
Niskayuna tied the game in the bottom of the second inning on an infield single from Jimmy Joyce. The game remained tied until the fourth inning.when Tim Schaffer led off with a single. James Murphy followed with a ground-rule double into right-center field to put runners on second and third with no outs. The first run came in on a sacrifice fly from Chris Erickson, and the second one was Aaron Whitley drawing a walk with the bases loaded. That was all the cushion that Hedden and relief pitcher Sam Morra needed for the rest of the game.
“The fact that we came back with all that fire and scored some runs was huge. It was awesome,” Hedden said.
Niskayuna loaded the bases in the sixth inning in an attempt to extend the lead, but were not able to score. However, the two-run lead proved to be more than they needed.
“That’s baseball. Sometimes you get breaks on little bloops,” Bianchi said. “We didn’t, but we scored enough runs to win the game.”
Guilderland finishes the year with a mark of 14-8.
Niskayuna is 15-6 and advances to the sectional final for the second time in three years. It will face Shenendehowa on Monday at 7 p.m. at Bruno Stadium.
Guilderland 100 000 0 — 1 4 1
Niskayuna 010 200 x — 3 7 0