Cazenovia baseball players, from left, Dan Hammond, Dominic Paglia, Ted Koppers and Dylan McCrink recently competed in the Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional Finals. (submitted photo)
Submitted by Phillip Koppers
A quartet of Cazenovia Baseball players recently competed in the Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional Finals for a chance to go to the 2017 Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series in Lawrenceburg, Tenn. Dan Hammond (’19), Ted Koppers (’20), Dylan McCrink (’19), and Dominic Paglia (’19) participated as members of the Valley All-Stars. The Valley All-Stars were chosen from the Valley 13-15 Babe Ruth Summer League. Players were chosen from teams representing Cazenovia, Bishop Grimes, CBA, Westhill and Syracuse.
The first stop for the team was the Western New York Championship, held in Buffalo on July 6 through 9. The team advanced in the championship bracket, beating Chautauqua 6-5 in extra innings. Paglia provided the game-tying RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning. Hammond pitched the last two innings of the game and hit the game winning run home in the bottom of the eighth.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Finals were held July 25 to 30 in Niskayuna, N.Y. Eight teams competed in Pool Play prior to single elimination play. Teams represented State Champions from Western New York, Eastern New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Northern New Jersey, Southern New Jersey and the host Niskayuna Team.
Rainy weather forced a few schedule changes, including a delay of the first day’s games. Valley dropped its first game to the host team (11-1) after early game pitching issues. Rain postponed Thursday’s game as well, forcing Valley into a double header starting at 7:30 a.m. to complete the pool play.
Paglia continued his hot hitting, going 3 for 4 in the early game against Mifflin County (Pa.). McCrink contributed a hit and two stolen bases of his own in the game, as well as pitching the final out in the sixth inning. Koppers came in and pitched the seventh inning in what would be a 9-3 Valley loss.
Valley bounced back to win 8-0 in the second game of the double header against Lodi (NNJ). Hammond came alive at the plate going 3 for 3. McCrink continued to get on base, drawing two walks. Paglia added a sacrifice RBI to the effort. Koppers contributed to the defensive effort, getting the final out in the sixth inning by throwing the runner out from his knees at third base after diving and just missing a bloop infield hit. He then came in as pitcher and completed the seventh inning with just seven pitches.
Valley’s 1-2 pool record earned them a number 3A seed and an elimination game against number 2B Sorensco (ENY). Valley upset Sorensco 6-1 behind stellar pitching and team defense. On offense, Hammond provided two hits and two RBIs, with Paglia contributing one hit and RBI each. McCrink provided a run and double to the offense as well.
Valley’s run came to an end in the regional semi-finals in a rematch with Mifflin County (Pa.). The final score was 6-4. West Windsor (SNJ) would later defeat Mifflin County 5-4 in the finals to advance.
On Monday, July 31, the team traveled to Syracuse City Hall to be recognized by the Syracuse Common Council for their efforts and success during this baseball season.
Coaches for the team were head coach TJ Honors, John Cifonelli and Ryan Gosson.
The full team roster included Adam Herne, Miles Griffin, David Cifonelli, Ben Rivett, Tyler Wait, Matt Tarby, Thomas Westers, Zach Cadden, Joe Wike, Tyler Greco, Aidan Murphy, Owen Meeks, Nick Hoalcraft, Dan Hammond, Ted Koppers, Dylan McCrink and Dominic Paglia.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.