Together, the Christian Brothers Academy and Chatham baseball teams generated enough excitement during last Saturday's state Class B semifinal at Broome County Community College to last for several games, much less one.
But after 10 innings of tension, the Brothers found itself on the wrong end of the equation, falling by a score of 3-1 as its dream of a first state title since 1996 got denied.
Not since the opening round of the Section III Class B playoffs, when CBA had rallied to beat Solvay, had the Brothers been so threatened -- and were it not for a hit there or a bad break there, it might have won here too.
CBA's long-time head coach, Tom Dotterer, opted to pitch his ace, Matt Croglio, in this semifinal. Croglio, a senior going to Holy Cross for baseball, was just coming off the first no-hitter of his varsity career, a gem spun in last Monday's 5-0 victory over Chenango Valley in the Class B regional final at Alliance Bank Stadium.
Chatham, the Section II champions, countered with Zach Kraham on the mound. And while neither side would get close to a no-hit bid, Kraham and Croglio engaged in a 0-0 duel through the first three innings.
Then, with one out in the top of the fourth, Kraham came to the plate and tagged a Croglio pitch over the fence for a solo home run, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
From there, Croglio would not allow anything through the rest of regulation, yet it didn't look like it would matter, as Kraham nursed that 1-0 lead to the bottom of the seventh inning and got within one out of victory.
Stu Flynn worked his way on base, though, and with two outs, Mike Kitts pinch-hit for Croglio. Kitts laced a single, and when Chatham committed a fielding error, Flynn raced all the way home with the tying run.