BROADALBIN - Last year and the year before, the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots battled down to the final game of the season before qualifying for sectional play.
That will not happen this year.
On Wednesday, behind a clutch performance on the mound and at the plate by Joe Zarecki, the Patriots defeated Glens Falls 3-2 in walk-off fashion to earn a berth in the Section II Class B postseason tournament.
Broadalbin-Perth’s Tim Gordon (9) slides safely into second as Glens Falls Dylan O’Sick chases down the ball during Wednesday’s Foothills Council game at Broadalbin-Perth High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"It feels great," Zarecki said. "We have a lot of time before sectionals so I know we will be working on certain things we are doing wrong. Hopefully we will put it together and win the whole thing."
After Glens Falls tied the game at two in the top of the sixth, Zarecki, B-P's starting pitcher, held the Indians in check in the top of the seventh.
Noah Martin, a junior varsity call-up, led off the bottom of the seventh and was hit by a pitch. Logan Ackley replaced Martin on the base paths and Luigi Magliocca beat out an attempted sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Glens Falls relief pitcher Andrew Corlew struck out A.J. Klemczak and Anthony Visco, setting up the dramatic finish.
Zarecki lined Corlew's first offering to deep center field allowing Ackley to race home from second with the game-winning run.
"It was a fast ball," Zarecki said. "I was going up there being aggressive and doing anything just to move the runners and I got the big hit."
Zarecki was in control on the mound from the start of the game, holding the Indians hitless the first time through the lineup, including a 3-pitch, 3-out second inning.
The Patriots backed their pitcher up with a run in the first inning on Anthony Visco's RBI single to score A.J. Klemczak. The Patriots got the job done defensively too. Senior first baseman Aaron
Fonda turned a hard shot off the bat of Joe McMahon into an unassisted putout in the top of the second and Mike Visco came up with a rally-killing catch in the top of the fourth.
Dylan O'Sick led off the top of the fourth with a double to deep left field. John Meyers' opposite field flare looked to be falling for a base hit in short right field before Visco came up with a running, over the shoulder catch for the out, sending O'Sick racing back to second to avoid a potential double play.
"We have a lot of role players who are unsung heroes and they certainly shined today," Broadalbin-Perth coach Dan Simonds said. "The big one was the play at second base with Mike Visco making that running catch over his shoulder. That was a game changer."
The Indians manufactured a run in the top of the fifth after Clark Wooley singled, moved to second on Colin Duell's sacrifice bunt before scoring on John Endieveri's single to tie the game at one.
The game did not stay deadlocked for long as Anthony Payne led off the bottom of the inning with a single and stole second. Martin followed with an RBI single to put the Patriots back in front 2-1.
Glens Falls tied the game again in the top of the sixth when O'Sick led off with his second double of the game and crossed the plate on Mike Harrington's RBI single, tying the game at two.
The Patriots threatened in the bottom of the inning with Zarecki leading off with a single but was forced on Tim Gordon's ground out.
Corlew, who came on in relief of Duell in the sixth, struck out Patrick Brown and Mike Visco to get out of the inning, but a dropped third strike on Visco's strike out kept the inning alive with runners on first and second. Corlew finished off the inning striking out Payne to end the threat.
Zarecki shut down the Indians in the top of the seventh, setting up the dramatic walk-off victory.
"All good things from top to bottom," Simonds said. "A JV guy came through with the RBI that put us back up; Anthony Visco has another good game I think he is hitting 600 with runners in scoring position and Joe [Zarecki] came up with the big hit to win it. We had opportunities to score runs and took advantage of it."
Zarecki finished the game with a single, a double and an RBI at the plate, while scattering six hits and striking out four on the mound.
Payne finished with two singles, while Gordon added a double to go with hits by Martin, Anthony Visco and Klemczak.
O'Sick led the Indians with two doubles, while Pat Burton had two singles to go with hits from Harrington and Wooley.
The victory also pulled Broadalbin-Perth into a three-way tie for second with Johnstown and Scotia-Glenville in the Foothills Council standings. All three are one game back from Queensbury, which lost to Johnstown Wednesday.
"We have a tough series coming up next with Johnstown who is really good," Simonds said. "Under the lights on their home field they are always tough. I think coach [Paul] Chizek said it perfectly; we need to keep the pedal down and play for seeding now. We have momentum and that is what we have to focus on not the fact that we are in but that we need to keep our momentum going."
Johnstown will host Broadalbin-Perth at 7 p.m. Friday before welcoming the Sir Bills to their home diamond at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Broadalbin-Perth 3, Glens Falls 2
Glens Falls000 011 0 - 2 6 0
Broadalbin-Perth100 010 1 - 3 8 0
Duell, Corlew (6) and McMahon; Zarecki and Gordon.