With the game tied, the winning run standing at third and one out, the showdown between Ichabod Crane pitcher Nate Garafalo and Broadalbin-Perth’s Ryan Visco had a lot of hearts beating faster.
Garafalo got control early getting two quick strikes on Visco, but the Patriots senior was not ready to give up in what was potentially his last at bat for the Patriots.
Visco worked the count to 3-2 and fouled off pitch after pitch before hitting the 12th pitch of the at-bat for a clean single up the middle, scoring Ryan Hertik, kicking off a celebration as the Patriots claimed a 6-5 victory and take home the first Section II baseball championship since the Broadalbin and Perth school districts merged in the 1987-88 season.
“You knew that he wanted to win,” Broadalbin-Perth coach R.J. Pingitore said. “He led us all the way through and he wasn’t going to walk. If they threw him ball four, he was going to foul it off. It was one of those at-bats.”
Visco said his only thought at the plate was to “Get him in. I knew it was my last at bat and I needed to get the run in. I was looking for opposite field, up the middle or sacrifice fly, anything to get him home. It didn’t matter if it was another home run or a pop out to center, as long as he scored, I didn’t care.”
The second-seeded Patriots got off to a fast start, putting a pair of runs on the board with Michael Magliocca and Jake Terwilliger driving in the runs for a quick 2-0 lead.
Broadalbin-Perth stretched its advantage to 4-0 in the bottom of the third with two outs when Luke Tambasco and Terwilliger hit back-to-back home runs.
Ichabod Crane battled back in the top of the fifth when Justice Suafoa reached on an error, Gunnar Grethen-McLaughlin walked and Connor Bailey singled to load the bases. Satchel Baumgartner singled to drive in Suafoa to put the score at 4-1 with the bases still loaded.
Magliocca, the Patriots’ starting pitcher, got out of the jam, striking out Alex Schmidt for the final out.
Broadalbin-Perth built its lead back to four runs in the bottom of the fifth, with Visco led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by TJ Platt and a sacrifice fly by Magliocca to scored Visco for a 5-1 lead.
The Riders kept digging and picked up a second run when Brady Holzhueter led off the sixth with a double and came around to score on Garafalo’s two-out, RBI single. Garafalo stole second, moved to third on a balk and scored on Suafoa’s single to cut the Patriots’ lead to 5-3 heading into the seventh.
The momentum swung in favor of the Riders in the top of the seventh when Connor Bailey homered over the centerfield fence and Schmidt, who walked, came around to score on Topher Pelesz’s bloop single to tie the game at five apiece.
Hertik set the table for the dramatic finish with a lead-off double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Garafalo picked up a big strike out as Luke Barnhart attempted to bunt Hertik home.
Visco, who connected for a walk-off home run Saturday to put the Patriots in the championship game, again came through with the game-winning, walk-off hit to give Broadalbin-Perth its first baseball sectional championship.
“It was amazing,” Visco said about his sprint down the first-base line. “I saw my coach on first, Mr. [Adam] Barnhart, jumping up and down and I knew we had won. I couldn’t believe it.”
With the New York State Public High School Athletic Association cancelling the state tournaments this academic year due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, the Patriots wrap-up their championship season with a 16-6 record, while Ichabod Crane finished with an 11-5 mark.
“We have never won a championship, a final or semi-final,” Pingitore said. “With COVID and losing a heart-breaker here a couple years ago in the first round, we knew they were hungry for it.”
Section II Class B Championship
Broadalbin-Perth 6, Ichabod Crane 5
Ichabod Crane 000 012 2 — 5 10 0
Broadalbin-Perth 202 010 1 — 6 8 2
Garafalo and Grethen-McLaughlin; Magliocca, Savoie (6) and Terwilliger.