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Westhill repeats as state baseball champs

The decisive rally came in the bottom of the fourth. With two out and two on, Greg Schmidt dribbled an infield single that scored Jake Rush to tie it, 1-1, and Giordano's wild throw on a pickoff attempt allowed Len Graf to race home with the go-ahead run.

Dan Karleski walked and, with two on, McMullen struck again, his double going to the wall and plating two runs. Westhill now enjoyed a 4-1 lead.

JFK cut the margin to 4-2 in the fifth, but the Warriors salted away the state title in response. Nigolian scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth, and in the sixth Graf tripled, then scored on Schmidt's double before McMullen's deep sacrifice fly led to a third RBI.

McMullen, whose 3 1/3 inning pitching stint produced the win, gave up a single to lead off the seventh. So McAvoy, his arm weary, still strode in and, in quick order, struck out Ryan Patterson and David O'Dell before Smith went down on strikes to end it.

Westhill's playoff run rarely featured a deficit and included, in the middle, its 10-2 romp over rival Bishop Ludden to win another Section III Class B title. McMullen said that was the pivotal moment of the entire Warrior season.

"When we beat Ludden, we knew we had the state championship," he said.

Maybe so, but Westhill still had to go make it official - which it did on a long and draining Saturday that, when it all was done, produced more Warrior glory.

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