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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — No matter how far and wide you look, the list of coaches to reach 400 varsity wins in their career is a short one. It shrinks dramatically when tallying up those who have done it in two different sports.

Hoosick Falls head coach Mike Lilac Jr. is now on that list. With his Panthers’ 14-4 win over Waterford-Halfmoon on Thursday evening, Lilac hit the hallowed mark on the baseball diamond just 15 months after achieving the same in basketball.

Lacking the traditional Gatorade cooler, the team improvised and doused Lilac with a handful of water bottles in celebration.

“It’s the kids. It’s all the great players we’ve had that have gotten (the 400 wins),” a gracious Lilac said, still shaking the water off his cap. “It’s definitely a team effort here between all our coaches.”

Lilac’s “We, not me,” attitude only rang more true as he took a minute to reflect on 33 years as the baseball coach at Hoosick Falls.

“We’ve learned along the way that you don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “When our friend, Coach (Ronald) Jones passed away a few years ago… it just makes you appreciate every day that you get to do this.”

Lilac laughed when asked if he’d be sticking around for win number 500 in either sport.

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“I don’t think so. I don’t know. You get to my age, you’re year-to-year, and day-to-day,” he answered. “So… I’ll be here tomorrow, that’s all I know.”

The game itself probably didn’t rank too high in terms of drama or excitement for Lilac. The game was mostly in hand after the Panthers pushed across eight runs in the bottom of the third to go up 11-3.

Eli King gave the Panthers six strong innings on the mound, holding the Fordians to goose eggs in every inning except a bumpy second in which he allowed three runs (two earned). He pounded the strike zone and trusted his defense behind him, allowing seven hits and two walks while fanning five. He retired the side in order in the first, third and fifth, and erased the only runner he allowed in the fourth with a slick pickoff at first.

Panthers senior Jake Sparks was quiet at the dish, going 0-2 with two walks and reaching on an error. He was solid behind his pitcher, though, notching four assists and two putouts from shortstop.

It was his brother Andrew who did the damage with the bat, going 2-4 with two triples – the first of which cleared the bases in the Panthers’ big third inning. Third baseman Ryan Sparks and first baseman Cole Ziehm added two hits and two RBIs apiece, as well.

The Panthers closed out their regular season in style, capping a 12-8 regular season (9-7 league) and await their seeding in the Section II playoffs.

“These kids are tough,” Lilac said. “We started out 0-4 this year, I think we’re 12-4 since. These kids are really tough and a pleasure to coach. Really happy we get to keep playing and just got to wait until next weekend.”

Tory Rich can be reached at


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