In Section 2 baseball, Class C is so big (How big is it?), such that come sectionals, it has to be split into two classes, C & CC. Today's double-header at Bruno Stadium provided plenty of excitement, despite the sparse turnouts.
The winners of today's games would move on to a C vs. CC "playoff" on Tuesday at Shuttleworth Park, while the Class AA title game is played as the second half of a double-header with the A title game at Bruno Stadium.
The C title game opened the card, with Maple Hill, representing the Patroon Conference, facing Canajoharie, from the Western Athletic Conference. The Cougars struck first against Maple Hill starter Alec Yager in the first inning. With one out, Aiden O'Neil singled, and came around on a double by Isaiah Logan.
Unfortunately, the Cougars' defense betrayed starter Griffin Collins, committing three costly errors in the home first, leading to two unearned runs. Maple Hill poured it on after that, as they scored in every inning. Yager recovered after giving up the run, and finished with a complete game, striking out seven while walking four. After a sacrifice fly by Tyler Hanrahan in the home sixth, the umpires called the game, invoking the mercy rule for the second time in as many days, as the Wildcats claim the C title, 12-2.
For his part, Collins didn't really do too badly, but coach Cody Lillich left him on the mound a wee bit too long, letting him start the fourth. After hitting Nick Butler with a pitch, and walking Yager, followed by a single by Hanrahan, Collins was finally pulled from the mound, moving to third base in a defensive shuffle. In all, he was charged with eight runs, six earned in three-plus innings.
In the nightcap, the CC title was on the line as perennial contender Lake George took on Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, another team out of the WAC. The Golden Knights are a former Big 10 school, which relocated a while back.
Knights starter Vinny Sorrentino helped his own cause in the home first, as he singled and scored on a double by Jacob Trombley, both wrapped around strikeouts by Warriors starter Tony Abrantes. Bishop Gibbons added a run in the second, and then, their offense disappeared, as Lake George began their comeback. Despite his offensive heroics, Sorrentino was wild, walking eight batters, three of them to start the visiting third. Connor Vidnansky cashed in one of the walks with a sacrifice fly, and Lake George was within one at 2-1.
After Lake George tied the game, thanks to some sloppy Bishop Gibbons defense in the fifth, Sorrentino untied the game with a sacrifice fly, part of a three run frame to put the Knights back up, 5-2. However, that wouldn't last. Two more walks in the sixth set up a four run rally to put the Warriors up for good, and Sorrentino was removed from the mound after 5 1/3 innings in a defensive switch.
Abrantes had similarly been shuffled off to first base in the fifth after going 4 1/3, reliever Nick Hoffis was moved from the outfield, and benefited from the Warriors' comeback in the sixth. However, there was a scary moment in the seventh, as Hoffis was struck in the groin by a pitch from Matt Kordziel, and had to be lifted briefly for a pinch runner, Jack Mellon. Mellon came around to score as the Warriors tacked on three insurance runs. Hoffis came back out for the home seventh, and negotiated his way through, giving up only a sacrifice fly to Trombley, as Lake George outlasted Bishop Gibbons, 9-6. As a result, it'll be Lake George vs. Maple Hill on Tuesday. Hoffis went 2 2/3 innings for the win, while Nick Kownack, who relieved Sorrentino in the critical sixth, was tagged with the loss.