TROY — No one saw whatever strange spirit inhabited Joe Bruno Stadium from the bottom of the fourth inning through the top of the fifth Friday. But that’s the only explanation.
Still, fourth-seeded Schuylerville will believe in the unseen and move on. It was a defensive battle until then, but the Black Horses countered Mechanicville’s three runs with five of their own in the top of the fifth and prevailed with a 12-3 win in the Class B final of the Section II Baseball Tournament at Joe Bruno Stadium.
It was Schuylerville’s first sectional championship since 2005.
The Black Horses will play Northeastern Clinton in a state regional semifinal at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the Plumeri Athletic Complex.
Neither team had a hit before the bottom of the fourth thanks to starters Jacob Popiel of Mechanicville and Alex Vallee of Schuylerville, but suddenly both teams found their bats, especially Schuylerville (15-7).
“Our boys are playing the best baseball they have all year, and I’m really hoping the boys can carry it through to regionals,” Schuylerville coach Darrin Renner said. “We knew we had to get (Popiel) into the stretch. We had heard he wasn’t as strong in the stretch. We got that done that inning and then put some hits together (later).”
Vallee, who finished with 13 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter, got the rally going in the fifth with a leadoff single to center field.
You have free articles remaining.
The big blows were Brady Eugair’s RBI double, Paul Harshbarger’s RBI single and Ryan Yandow’s two-RBI double to the left field wall. A couple of Mechanicville errors also helped the Black Horses.
From there, both pitchers settled back down, but Schuylerville caught Popiel at the end of his rope in the top of the seventh, tagging him for three more runs before he was relieved. The Black Horses added four more on the relievers for the final score.
Popiel was no slouch, striking out 11.
Schuylerville only allowed these three runs in four sectional games.
“I was so nervous after letting up those three,” Vallee said. “We just had to grind and get as many hits as we could.
“It meant the world to have the lead,” he added.
In the seventh, Nathan Preston, Yandow and Eugair each had an RBI single, Colton Weatherwax blasted a two-run single and Cayden Renner knocked in two with his double to left field.