BEACON, N.Y. – Whether it’s just the game of baseball or great parity in a tough Class A division, high seeds have been making runs at the Section 1 Class A championship for a couple years now.
Add No. 9-seeded Byram Hills to the list.
The Bobcats gave the ball to ace pitcher Andrew Slosberg on three days’ rest and secured a rain-shortened 5-2 victory in five innings. Byram Hills scored five runs in the top of the sixth before the game was called. By rule, the score reverts back to the last completed inning. Slosberg was in control on the mound though no matter what the score was.
“I kinda questioned (if I could be ready on short rest) because I haven’t done it this year at all,” Slosberg said. “I knew the team had my back though and I just went out there and pitched the game.”
Slosberg didn’t allow a hit until the third inning and already had a 4-0 lead. Beacon got to the senior right-hander in the third with four hits including an RBI-double off the wall in centerfield by Patrick Schetter and an RBI-single from Tony Romanelli. A chopper up the middle turned into a double play though to end the Bobcats’ biggest threat.
“That was the biggest moment of the game right there,” Slosberg said. “It completely knocked out their rally. It was huge.”
Byram Hills jumped on Beacon in the first inning by scoring a run, but the big blow came in the second inning off the bat of Joe Summa. After a single by Henry Milano, Summa crushed a fastball to centerfield that cleared the wall, giving Byram Hills a 3-0 lead. Three-run leads are usually enough for Slosberg on the mound.
“That was a big hit for us right there,” Slosberg said. “Any time you pitch with a cushion you’re more comfortable. We really hit the ball today.”
Byram Hills banged our seven hits in five innings which doesn’t include the four hits they ripped in the back-breaking sixth inning before the storm. For a nine-seed with a well-known pitcher, the offense was a bit of a shock to some, but not Byram Hills.
“Being selfless and relentless has been our motto all year long. We have 21 guys who are willing to help in any way, shape, or form,” Byram Hills coach Scott Saunders said. “Slosberg will be the first to tell you that his teammates have his back and make some outstanding plays for him.”
Besides the two double plays turned up the middle, Brian Skelly made a diving stop down the third baseline and threw a runner out of first to help Slosberg out. At the plate, Jack Hatheway was 2-for-2 with an RBI, and Brian Hammer had an RBI-single for Byram Hills.
“It was a complete team effort today, we showed that we can hit,” Slosberg said. “We didn’t face their ace, but we’re going out there and we’re going to bring our bats everytime.”
Byram Hills faces No. 2 Harrison on Thursday at Dutchess County Stadium in the Section 1 Class A championship game. The Bobcats split the season series with the Huskies and both teams certainly know a lot about each other.
“The benefit is we know a lot about them, and the disadvantage is they know a lot about us,” Saunders said. “It says a lot about how tough our league was this year though and it’s always a battle when we take the field.”
Contact John Malone on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone