Jun 14, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In the warmth of mid-June, the Hamilton baseball team pursued the same state Class D championship summit that its boys soccer counterparts attained in the chill of mid-November.
And the Emerald Knights would fall two wins short of that ultimate goal, seeing its great run end in a narrow 2-1 defeat to eventual champion Arkport in last Saturday’s state semifinal at Union-Endicott High School near Binghamton.
To win a state baseball title, a team must win two games in one day, forcing coaches to decide which pitcher to send out first. Hamilton coach Joe LePage brought out his ace, left-hander Jordan Doroshenko, to oppose Arkport’s Shawn Kerr.
The Emerald Knights quickly got to Kerr in the first inning, as Tyler White doubled, then ran home on Doroshenko’s single.
That was all Hamilton would get against Kerr, who never walked a batter in a five-hit, five-strikeout effort. Kerr got in trouble when the Emerald Knights got two runners on base in the third inning with one out, only to strand them.
The question now was whether Doroshenko could be just as masterful.
For three innings, that wasn’t a problem. And even after the Blue Jays loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the fourth, Doroshenko escaped it in a wild way.
First, Kerr hit pop fly that Lucas Rhyde caught, and he appeared to nail Arkport’s Greg Talbot with a throw to third — but catcher’s interference got called, and there was only one out.
Moments later, another pop fly forced Kinon Nolan-Finkel to catch the ball from the ground, and Talbot scored — but left third base too soon. When Doroshenko threw to Ben Yacovone on an appeal, Talbot was out, and the inning was done. Hamilton still had a 1-0 lead.
An inning later, though, Arkport bounced back. Max Houy’s infield hit (a bloop single that three fielders couldn’t reach) got it moving. Houy went to second on a sacrifice bunt and, with two out, tied it on an Ethan Lewis double and went ahead on Kevin Crosson’s single.
Hamilton had one more chance in the top of the seventh, thanks to Doroshenko, who allowed nothing more in his six-strikeout, one-walk effort.
Will Keever reached on an error to lead off the seventh. Yacavone moved him over on a sacrifice bunt, and Keever went to third on a groundout. Kerr stayed calm, though, and got Lucas Rhyde to fly out, ending the game.
Arkport would go on to win the state championship, coming from behind to beat Schenectady Christian 14-6 as Kerr would return to pitch four more innings to help his team prevail.
Hamilton had a 20-5 season that, by number of wins, was the best it has ever has enjoyed in baseball. Pulling it off again without Doroshenko, Keever and White might be tough to do.