GLOVERSVILLE – After third-seeded Maple Hill staved off a sixth-inning rally by Canajoharie and tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the seventh, the second-seeded Cougars found themselves on the verge of elimination Monday from the Section II Class CC baseball tournament.
However, the Cougars were not done.
Canajoharie tied the game up with one out in the bottom of the seventh, before Tyler Montanye, who came on to pinch run for Kyler Peet, beat the throw back to the plate on a wild pitch to score the game-winner and put the Cougars in the Class CC championship game at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy. Canajoharie will play top-seeded Chatham, which topped Greenwich 7-2 in its semifinal, in Thursday’s title game.
“This group of boys play to the last strike. Plain and simple, they play to the last strike,” Canajoharie coach Joe Fowler said. “They may get down during a game on a certain play, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, they are ready to go. We have been saying all along that this is a championship team and you have to show you are a championship team by your demeanor.”
The Wildcats came out swinging with Brody Rogers driving the first pitch for a triple and scoring on Sam Gamello’s single. Jerry Stalker reached on a fielder’s choice before Gavin Van Kempen drilled a home run into the center-field bleachers to stake Maple Hill to a 4-0 lead.
Canajoharie got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Richie Tamsett scored when a throw back to the pitcher got away from Rogers to make it 4-1.
The Cougars took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third, with Jack Montanye and Riley Montanye connecting for RBI doubles in the four-run inning to take a 5-4 lead.
The lead was short-lived for last year’s Class C area champions, as Maple Hill answered with four runs in the top of the inning with Colby Frazier delivering a two-RBI single to put the Wildcats up 8-5.
Rogers, the Wildcats starting pitcher, shut down Canajoharie in the fourth and fifth innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced, while Jack Montanye came on in relief of Tamsett, the Cougars’ starter, and held the Wildcats to two hits in three innings.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Canajoharie’s first three batters reached base. After an out, Peet walked to score a run, then Aiden Bowerman delivered a two-RBI single to tie it. After tying the game at 10 in the bottom of the seventh, Tyler Montanye broke from third on a line drive by Zach Suits that was caught in shallow left field, but Montanye was able to safely make it back to the base — and, then, was ready to sprint home for the game-winning run when the next pitch got past catcher Kaden Van Kempen.
Rogers finished with a triple and a double for Maple Hill to go with a nine strikeout effort on the mound.
Jack Montanye and Riley Montanye both doubled for Canajoharie while Peet, LaAnthony Fairley and Bowerman had two singles apiece. Bowerman had three RBIs, and Jack Montanye and Riley Montanye each had two RBIs
Maple Hill 400 400 2 — 10 8 2
Canajoharie 104 002 4 — 11 8 1