Hamburg baseball does not reach the Class A state championship | High school
VESTAL – The Hamburg baseball team could only watch the pile of dogs in midfield grow and grow stronger.
It was supposed to be the Bulldogs having a party. Instead, they exited the final game on the final day of the season as state runners-up following a 3-0 loss to Division II Averill Park in Saturday’s Class A Championship game at the Binghamton University.
The Hamburg Bulldogs cruised to a 6-3 victory over the Section VIII Calhoun Colts at Union-Endicott High School on Friday.
The Hamburg players packed their gear into the dugout and started checking their phones as Averill Park enjoyed the State Championship spoils. Bulldogs players, however, considered what a run to the state championship game meant for the program.
“In Class A, there’s only one team in the state that’s going to finish with a win, and we were lucky enough to become one of two teams, so just the opportunity to be here , it was just excellent,” said Evan Chaffee, Hamburg’s starting pitcher in the state championship game. “The chance to be with the kids on my team for one more day was the most I could ask for.”
People also read…
The Bulldogs savored the last day of the season. However, Hamburg was unable to create an offense on what would have been two opportune runs in the game, including the top of the seventh inning, as the Bulldogs were down to their final outs.
Hamburg will play in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A state semifinal against No. 8 Calhoun at 4 p.m. Friday at Union Endicott High School.
The Warriors (21-6) held the Bulldogs (18-7) to six hits and neutralized Hamburg’s best scoring chance in the top of the fourth inning when he loaded the bases with no one on.
Hamburg’s Braeden McGuire hit a ground ball to Averill Park pitcher Brady Mazzeo, who threw home to keep Chaffee scoring from third base, and catcher Steve Koval threw to first baseman Aidan McCue to kick out McGuire and complete the double play. Jon Oswald flew out to right field to end the inning.
“Obviously when you have runners you want to score,” Chaffee said. “One thing they say about baseball is that the ball rolls kinda funny, and you never know. The balls we were hitting, they didn’t go through, or some things didn’t work in our sense, but it’s the same in life.
“Sometimes things won’t go your way. You take it on the chin and you have to come back tomorrow and get another chance.
Then, in the seventh, with bases loaded and two out, Mazzeo finished the game with his seventh strikeout, which robbed Hamburg of the chance to become the first Division VI Class A baseball champion since Orchard Park. in 1988.
Being a high Division I prospect from Western New York brings a lot of hype when Evan Chafee pitches. And Chaffee would much rather share the attention with his teammates than surround it solely with him.
Rather than overestimating every pressure situation, Averill Park has taken a different approach: make it routine.
“It was just to keep it simple and not try to do too much,” Mazzeo said. “Take out one, get another and you’re out.”
The Warriors took a 2-0 lead late in the first when Ethan Nardacci’s two-out triple went over the head of Hamburg center fielder Nolan Heavern and drove in Nick Galuski and Alex Yash. An inning later, the Bulldogs and Chaffee came out of a goal-laden two-out situation when Yash flew to Heavern to end the inning.
Chaffee walked Koval — Chaffee’s fifth step of the game — to open the bottom of the third, and Nardacci’s single put the runners at first and third with no outs. Then, two batters later, Chaffee’s 1-1 pitch hit McCue to charge the bases with one out. Loval scored on Hunter Willet’s field to make it 3-0.
The loss hurt, but Chaffee considered the long-term outcome of his team’s run to the state championship game.
“It sets the standard and raises the bar a bit, and also sets the standard for young kids, whether they’re in middle school or early high school,” Chaffee said. “To see us do this kind of race is really good for the marketing of our program.
The ever-optimistic Hamburg coach Derek Hill also looked back on the entirety of the season and what got the Bulldogs to the state championship game.
“Maybe the last chapter wasn’t how we wanted it to be, but, oh my, the first 20+ chapters were exactly how we hoped,” Hill said. “We’re just filled with a great feeling of love right now. It’s a little overflowing now. These guys gave us everything they could and more.
“I said, ‘If you don’t show up with that eager attitude to practice every day, we’re never going to get out of Section VI. “But we had a chance today. We did a lot of things really well today, but we were maybe a swing or a pitch away from really having a party-type day.