TROY – It was a game befitting the top two seeds of Class CC.
In the end, a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 11th gave top-seeded Chatham a 3-2 win over Canajoharie in the Section II final at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
The game featured great pitching, clutch defensive plays and, of course, just gritty sticktoitiveness.
In the bottom of the 11th, Chatham earned two walks before substitute L.J. Morse laid the perfect bunt to load the bases. Later, with one out, Kyle Jackson earned the walk to end the game.
“In the bottom half of the inning, things can change like that,” Canajoharie coach Joe Fowler said. “Somebody had to lose. Two great teams. Those guys played a heck of a game.
Chatham starting pitcher Matthew Thorsen went 6 2-3 innings and struck out 14. Canajoharie starter Jack Montanye went nine innings and struck out 12.
If there was one thing that might nip at the Cougars, it was that in four innings Canajoharie got a runner to third base, but couldn’t bring him home. Twice it got a runner to second with similar results.
Chatham finally broke through for a run in the bottom of the third. Vincent Marasco got to first on a fielder’s choice and came all the way around on Tate Van Alstyne’s deep double to center field with one out.
Canajoharie responded with two runs in the top of the fourth. Riley Montanye led off with a walk, moved to second on Cody Hyney’s sacrifice attempt that actually left both runners safe. They each advanced a base on Aiden Bowerman’s walk to load the bases. Later, with two outs, Chatham pitcher Matthew Thorsen threw a wild pitch that got just enough away from home plate to allow Montanye to score, but the throw home to try to get him bounced off him, and the ball squirted further away, allowing Hyney to come home as well.
It was a dramatic bottom of the sixth. Cameron Horton singled to left field, moved to third on Tyler Kneller’s double to deep left field and scored on Michael Piero’s single to left. Kneller also tried to score, but was thrown out on a 7-6-2 in which he charged into Canajoharie catcher Riley Montanye and was ejected. Jack Montanye then got the third out on a strikeout to keep the game tied at 2.
Chatham will play Galway in the Class C-CC playoff at 7 p.m. Saturday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
“They played hard all year,” Fowler said of his squad. “I give Chatham all the credit for the win. Great kids, I lose 10 of them, so it’s a hardship for us.”
Canajoharie 000 200 000 00 – 2 3 1
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