GLENS FALLS -- If the Glens Falls Golden Eagles had their way, they would have taken care of this piece of business on Tuesday. If not then, certainly in Wednesday's first game.
But even the person with the least fingernails remaining when it was all over had to admit the desperate situation lent a buzz to the proceedings at East Field at Wednesday night.
The scenario had been the same for two days: win one game and they clinched the Eastern Division title and home field advantage throughout the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League playoffs. Twice, they came up empty.
The third try ended just right.
Before a home record crowd of 1,512, the Golden Eagles beat Albany 7-0 in the second half of a doubleheader and the final regular-season game to win their fifth division title in eight seasons.
The Eagles (31-17) host rival Amsterdam on Friday at 7:05 p.m. to begin a three-game series between the teams. If necessary, the third game will be played at East Field on Sunday. The winner advances to the PGCBL championship series.
A few hours after he swept the team's awards in a pre-game ceremony, Kyle Ruchim kept the celebration simple after striking out the final batter; a fist pump and pat on the back from catcher Dan Klein sufficed.
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"It's a minor goal right now. The big goal is to win the championship, obviously," Ruchim said. "We accomplished the first goal, now we're on to Amsterdam, on to the next goal."
Ruchim's presence on the mound for the clinching felt appropriate. The two-inning save - he entered with the score 1-0 - was his team record ninth. The freshman from Northwestern also led the team in hits and runs.
Fans voted Ruchim both Pitcher and Player of the Year and he won the Coach Mayotte award, presented by the coaching staff. Ruchim didn't like being the center of attention in those ceremonies, but he felt at home on the mound.
As Ruchim worked a two-strike count to the final batter, the record crowd rose and clapped in rythym. The unusually large and vocal crowd caught his attention.
"That's awesome. You don't get that in school with the little kids coming up for your autograph," Ruchim said. "We're town legends, all of us, and it's great for the community to come out and support us."
Greenwich's Neil Fryer (5-3) earned the win. He threw five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits before ceding to Ruchim (doubleheaders are played as seven-inning games).
Fryer had been going through a skid of late after going 3-0 to start the season. He couldn't have picked a more pressure-packed situation to turn his season back to the good. He threw a scoreless inning in the first game, a 3-2 loss, and then got the start in the second.
Had the Eagles lost the nightcap, they'd be facing the tough task of up to two games in Amsterdam this weekend. And Amsterdam would have came in as the Eastern Division champions instead.
"I started out well, but from there I hit that rough patch, like three games where I got shelled," Fryer said. "It feels good to end on this note. I don't want know what my (playoff) role will be, but I'll do whatever the team needs."
Fryer left with the Eagles ahead 1-0, but his teammates gave him some breathing room by scoring six runs in the sixth.
Josh Anderson, who went 3 for 4, drove in three runs with a game-breaking triple.
ALBANY GLENS FALLS
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Boney, ss 3 0 1 0 Brown, cf 1 1 0 1
Bello, lf 4 0 1 0 Claudio, rf 4 0 0 0
Deeds, cf 2 0 0 0 Ruchim, 2b/p 3 1 1 0
Anderson, dh 3 0 1 0 Kindel, lf 3 1 0 0
Rumilard, 3b 3 0 0 0 Anderson, 3b 4 1 3 3
Osterhout, 2b 3 0 0 0 Olson, 1b 4 0 0 0
Welke, c 3 0 1 0 Alexander, dh 1 1 1 0
Palmer, 1b 3 0 1 0 Bernal, 2b 0 1 0 0
Wehrli, rf 3 0 1 0 Klein, c 2 0 0 0
Pisani, ss 2 1 1 1
Totals 27 0 6 0 Totals 24 7 6 6
Albany (18-29) 000 010 0 - 1
Glens Falls (31-17) 000 106 x - 7
E - Remillard 2. DP - Albany 1. LOB - Albany 5, Glens Falls 6. 2B - Alexander, Welke. 3B - Ruchim. SB - Wehrli, Anderson (A). CS - xx.
IP H R ER BB SO
Tokunaga, L (1-3) 5 3 1 1 4 1
Gallihugh 0 1 1 0 1 0
Haley 2/3 1 4 4 2 0
Novak 1 1 1 0 0 0
Fryer, W (5-3) 4 4 0 0 0 5
Ruchim, S (9) 2 2 0 0 2 3
HBP - by Tokunaga (Brown), by Haley (Kindel). WP - Ruchim. PB - Klein.
A - 1,512.