BINGHAMTON — Schuylerville didn’t get the result it wanted Saturday, but the Black Horses walked off the field as state finalists to a rousing ovation from their fanbase.
Top-ranked and unbeaten Center Moriches struck early for a three-run home run in the first inning and didn’t look back, earning its second straight Class B state baseball championship with an 11-1 six-inning victory at Binghamton University.
For Schuylerville (18-8), a banner season ended. The Black Horses caught fire, captured the Section II crown, won their regional final and edged out Medina in the semifinals to reach the state championship for the first time.
“We came into this as the No. 4 seed in the Section II sectionals and walked out on the state championship field with a chance to win a state championship,” Schuylerville coach Darrin Renner said. “I think for these kids it’s a memory they’re always going to have.”
“To make Schuylerville history is something to be proud of even if we didn’t come out with the result we wanted,” Schuylerville senior catcher Paul Harshbarger said. “This is something to be proud of, and I think that a lot of people are going to think back on this team and think great things.”
Center Moriches (26-0), out of Section XI, took control right away. Corey Stengel and Matt Alifano each singled to lead off the game, and Alex Maag blasted a deep three-run shot into the netting above the center field fence. The Red Devils struck for six runs over the first three innings and led 7-0 after the top of the fourth.
Colton Weatherwax led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to center field for the Black Horses, and another single from Alex Vallee put two on with one out. Weatherwax came around to score when the Red Devils overthrew first base trying to get the double-play.
Those were the only two hits for the Black Horses as Center Moriches’ Alifano picked up the win with four strong innings, the only blemish an unearned run. Nate Sigerson and Jordan Falco pitched in relief to close out the win.
“They have a guy who they didn’t even pitch today who throws 90-something, so we thought we were going to see him, but they have so many arms and they’re so good at every position,” Renner said. “They won the state championship last year, so we knew they were very good.”
Fourth-ranked Schuylerville trailed 3-0 in the second inning when Vallee and Charles Luzadis worked back-to-back walks with one out, but Alifano struck out the next batter and induced a grounder back to the mound to end the threat.
“We had a couple situations early in the game when it was 7-1, if we got a big hit or something maybe we could have changed the momentum; it just wasn’t that day,” Renner said.
The junior-heavy Black Horses will say goodbye to three seniors — Harshbarger, Christian Petralia and Jack Bodnar.
“We are going to think about this for the rest of our lives,” Harshbarger said. “It was just a great run.”