In the warmth of mid-June, the Hamilton baseball team will pursue the same state Class D championship summit that its boys soccer counterparts attained in the chill of mid-November.
On Saturday, the Emerald Knights face Arkport at 1 p.m. at Sylvester Field at Union-Endicott High School, near Binghamton. The winner advances to the 4 p.m. final.
This trip was made possible when Hamilton held off South Kortright (Section IV) 4-2 last Tuesday's Class D regional final at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse.
On the same diamond where it toppled Copenhagen for the Section III title, the Emerald Knights again leaned on Jordan Doroshenko's strong pitching, timely hitting and clutch defensive plays in the last two innings.
At the start, Doroshenko was perfect, retiring the first eight Rams batters he faced. Even when Ryan Borowski singled in the top of the third with two out to end that fast start, Doroshenko picked him off first base.
Hamilton got all of its offense in the first three innings. A walk to Lucas Rhyde, a single by Jack Sullivan and a Doroshenko walk loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, and Rhyde scored on a wild pitch as a grounder brought Sullivan home.
It got to 3-0 in the second inning when Ben Yacobon walked, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, then to third on a wild pitch. Sullivan used an infield hit to bring Yacobon home.
With two out in the bottom of the third, the Emerald Knights struck again. Will Keever singled, stole second, then raced home when Yacobon perfectly placed a single between first and second, and Hamilton had a 4-0 edge.
South Kortright didn't surrender, scoring off Doroshenko in the fifth and sixth innings and threatening to catch up.
With two out in the top of the sixth, and runners on second and third, John Andrzecjak ranged over to make a tumbling catch in right field, preventing the Rams from tying it.
Tyler White relieved Doroshenko in the seventh, and was wild at first, hitting one batter and walking another. But with two on and one out, White coaxed Josh Palmeteer into a 1-6-3 double play, and Hamilton had won.