Westhill repeats as state baseball champs

As the clock edged closer to midnight and Saturday night inched closer to Sunday morning, the entire Westhill baseball family - players, coaches, parents and friends - gathered beneath the scoreboard at Union-Endicott High School for another round of pictures.

Above them, the shiny numbers - Westhill 7, Somers John F. Kennedy Catholic 2 - signaled a happy and familiar ending as the Warriors lay claim to its second consecutive state Class B championship.

The end came, officially, at 11:30 p.m., two games, two venues, several weather delays and more than 10 hours after it started early that afternoon. When Kevin McAvoy struck out JFK's Joe Smith for the final out, he quickly disappeared beneath a pile of Westhill players between the pitcher's mound and home plate.

Five of those players - McAvoy, Mike McMullen, Cory Hewitt, Dan Karleski and Nathan Nigolian - have now been part of three state title teams in 12 months, counting the boys basketball crown won in Glens Falls in March.

"That (state championship) feeling is not getting old," McMullen said. "It feels great."

The fact that the final day of the 2010 season became such a long and winding road - literally and figuratively - fit the script for the Warriors' season, according to head coach Bob Weismore.

"You have to face adversity in order to be a champion," Weismore said. "And this team did that."

This wild day began in a rather routine manner, as Westhill rode McAvoy's power pitching to a 5-0 victory over Tonawanda (Section VI) in the afternoon semifinal at NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton.

McAvoy allowed just three hits and struck out 10 to earn his fourth consecutive victory in the playoffs, dating all the way back to the Section III semifinals against Ilion.

More importantly, Westhill played error-free defense. The same couldn't be said for Tonawanda, whose five errors directly or indirectly led to most of Westhill's runs.

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