Cornwall ends Harrison's state title hopes
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FISHKILL, N.Y. — All the good vibes that Harrison felt at Dutchess Stadium five days earlier were conspicuously absent as they quietly walked out of the dugout Tuesday night.
The Huskies were eliminated in the state tournament by Cornwall, a 5-0 shutout in the Class A regional final. While the stadium served as a reminder of their heart-pounding 10-inning win over Byram Hills in the Section 1 final, so did Tuesday’s team-wide drought at the plate.
Harrison had six straight scoreless innings against Byram Hills before a walk-off walk won it. And on Tuesday, the Huskies managed only one hit off Cornwall starter R.J. Berger. They only got only five men on base, just one of which reached third, and had the final seven batters retired in order.
“We just ran out of gas,” Harrison coach Marco DiRuocco said. “We didn’t have it today.”
The soft-throwing Berger needed 94 pitches to finish off his gem where he struck out just two and walked four. He had 12 fly-ball outs.
“We just couldn’t figure this kid out,” Harrison ace Max Bruckner said. “We couldn’t get into a rhythm or strings some base hits together. He was throwing a lot of junk.”
Cornwall took advantage of its opportunity against Bruckner, handing the senior righty his only loss of the season. Bruckner, who’ll pitch for Iona College, struck out seven and allowed four runs on nine hits with a walk.
“There’s nothing on him at all,” DiRuocco said. “He did an unbelievable job in this postseason and he really stepped up. If you saw the game today, they didn’t hit him very well. He didn’t get some breaks but that’s baseball.”
The Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Steve Octave. Jimmy Patterson’s RBI single in the third made it 2-0 and Octave scored a Berger single and throwing error in the fourth.
Matt Baker finally ended Berger’s no-hit bid with a clean liner up the middle in the fifth inning.
“I honestly didn’t know I had a no-hitter in the fifth,” said the 6-foot-4 Berger, who pitched a no-hitter against Monticello this season. “I just assumed I gave up one before that.”
Cornwall broke the game open in the fifth off Bruckner when Ryan Smith drove in two runs with a bases-loaded bloop single. Harrison threatened with two men on in the fifth inning but couldn’t capitalize. The Huskies went in order in the sixth and seventh.
“It was an unbelievable year,” DiRuocco said. “For us to come in here and have a 20-5 season is phenomenal. That’s what I talked to them about after the game; all the positives. There were so many of them.”
Said Bruckner: “We met our goal, which was to win a sectional championship. Obviously we wanted more. But we’ll just have to settle on a sectional title.”
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