After delay, Panthers fall
HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Two years ago, when Hoosick Falls and Voorheesville baseball met in the Class C sectional finals, Blackbird pitcher Kevin Connolly struck out 13 to knock out the Panthers.
On Friday, with each team now in Class B, Voorheesville's Kristian Singh became the latest Blackbird to best Hoosick Falls.
Singh allowed two hits and struck out 10 as No. 6 Voorheesville won 4-0 in a quarterfinal matchup.
"He's an emotional kid, but if he gets on a roll early, it's tough to get him out of that state," said Voorheesville coach Kyle Turski. "He had a lot of 3-ball counts and more walks then I'd like. But he was spotting his fastball, used the curve effectively and [catcher] Jared [Paigo] called a really good game."
Starting the game in the top of the second after the game was suspended by bad weather on Thursday, Hoosick Falls struggled to get on track at the plate against the Blackbirds' junior.
Singh kept the Panthers hitless until the fifth, when Alex Mendez, batting out of the nine spot in the lineup, grounded a ball through the wet grass to short and beat the throw.
"Mixing speeds is important, having control of other pitches and having the mechanics," Singh said. "We're taught about using your legs to go from pitch 3 to 103 throwing hard."
It was in the fifth that the Panthers had the best shot at getting some runs off Singh. After Mendez moved up to second on a passed ball, Tom Peabody walked and Wyatt Whitman reached on an error to load the bases with one out.
But Singh reached back and struck out Tyler Rondeau and induced Brandon Hodges to ground back to the pitcher and get out of the inning unscathed.
"I always find myself in a bases loaded situation, it's familiar at this point," Singh said. "But Jared knows how to call a game, I just try to hit my spots."
"In that situation, I'm trying to put the bat on the ball and put it in a gap somewhere," Rondeau said. "We just couldn't get the timely hits with runners in scoring position."
Hoosick Falls loaded the bases in the second inning and had runners at second and third in the third inning and couldn't score and the squanders came back to haunt the Panthers. In the top of the fourth, still up 1-0, Voorheesville got another insurance run with two outs. David Cardona singled to center to start, then stole second and scored with Nick Chiseri doubled to left. A nice defensive play by Hodges at third on a liner from Singh ended the inning.
"We had a couple of mistakes on defense, but the real issue was not coming up with big hits with runners in scoring position," said Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac. "I think we were 0-for-7 [in that situation]. We need to come up with hits there."
With a 2-0 lead, Singh settled in, getting the Panthers 1-2-3 in the fourth and getting out of the bases loaded jam in the fifth.
"The second [I] see runners cross the plate, I can breathe, pitch my game, [because] everything's not do or die," Singh said.
Singh's counterpart, Whitman, was solid on the bump for the Panthers, allowing four runs -- only one earned -- and walking one while striking out seven in a complete game effort.
"Our pitchers have given us a chance to win every game," Lilac said. "Wyatt pitched very well, like we thought he would. He could have come out the winner if it bounced the other way. He did everything he could."
In the seventh, the Panthers wouldn't go quietly.
Mendez started the inning reaching on an error and after Peabody fanned, Whitman singled to put two on. Rondeau popped out, but Hodges walked to load the bases and bring up Alex Labarge as the tying run. But Singh struck him out looking, ending the Panthers' season.
"When you get six walks, you need to [score] runs," Lilac said.
Hoosick Falls ends the year at 8-9, while Voorheesville (11-10) moves on to the semifinal on Saturday against Chatham.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.