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.