NEW HARTFORD POST PEAKS AT THE RIGHT TIME-PLAY SMITH FOR TITLE TODAY
New Hartford’s Ryan Faro is out by a step as Josh Urtz awaits the throw.
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It looks like a sense of normalcy has returned for the New Hartford Post 1376 Baseball team.
That point was made in spades as New Hartford eliminated Ilion, 15-7, in the District Five Tournament semifinal tonight at Murnane.
A year removed from a deep state tournament run, one of the more talented teams the fifth district has to offer, took fans on a roller coaster ride in 2014, posting a league record of 12-10.
Limping into the tournament with the seventh overall seed, a New Hartford team plagued all season by inconsistency suddenly found its familiar stride after a 5-4 opening round loss to rival Whitestown.
Since that loss, New Hartford has run wild through the loser’s bracket with a five-game win streak.
Their renewed winning ways paid terrific dividends this evening as New Hartford punched a ticket to the State Tournament and forced a winner-take-all district final with their 15-7 and 8-4 wins over Ilion and Smith Post, respectively.
For all the teams New Hartford has been up against this postseason, none were quite like Ilion.
Seeded just one spot ahead of their fellow elimination bracket finalist when play began, manager, Eric Moreau’s, ballclub gutted out scrappy victories to get within a win of States, sending contenders, No. 3 Utica Post and No. 2 Whitestown, into the loser’s bracket by one run each, by scores of 6-5 and 5-4.
Even top-seeded Smith Post briefly struggled in the wake of a ninth inning Ilion rally in the winner’s bracket final, but Ilion ran out of time in a 4-2 decision, putting them in a position to meet New Hartford for a spot in the 2014 New York State Championship.
Those who wanted a quick game did not get their wish. The tournament’s two upstart teams combined for a total of 22 runs on 27 hits and Ilion got right to work to do damage on the board after a 1-2-3 New Hartford first.
The boys from Herkimer County crushed three doubles in the first inning alone, with Joseph Juliano and Ryan Fahy picking up RBIs for an early 2-0 advantage.
New Hartford was not intimidated. Just two batters into the second inning of play, Mark Chanatry nailed a double into left field to score catcher, Connor Manderson and Ryan Faro came through with a sacrifice fly into shallow right field to score Chanatry, to knot the score at 2-2.
What got lost in the stat sheet was a spectacular diving play by Fahy to rob Faro of a base hit and potentially save an additional New Hartford run.
The bad news for Ilion was that the game-tying, New Hartford second was just the opening act and Faro came back with a vengeance too.
A pair of sloppy fielder’s choice attempts by Ilion converted a leadoff walk by Joe Donovan into a bases loaded jam on no hits for Ilion pitcher, Zach Woods.
The carousel produced one run on a bases loaded walk by Vinny Maugeri and Faro flew the ducks off the pond with a 3-RBI triple to open a 6-2 lead for New Hartford.
Ilion picked up an additional two runs on Joe Desarro’s two-rbi single in the fourth, but with a three-run, two error New Hartford fifth in the books and a 9-4 deficit at hand, Ilion left one of their best opportunities of the day on the table.
A Justin Kiesow single, a Mike Dobek walk and an error by Maugeri loaded the bases for Chanatry to walk a run home with a bean ball to Colin Warmingtam.
With the bases remaining loaded, Josh Urtz and Mark Spina failed to move the runners over and left three costly runners on.
From there, New Hartford went into cruise control. Both teams posted two runs apiece in the sixth and New Harford batted around for four more in the eighth, to lift New Hartford to a 15-7 win that clinched a minimum of four more games in their 2014 season.
With Chanatry ineligible for the win due to his fifth inning exit, the victory on the mound went to a very deserving candidate in Ben Phelps.
Phelps retired every single hitter he faced, 12 in all, to shut down Ilion over the final four innings. Woods allowed 11 runs on eight hits in the loss.
At the plate, Kiesow’s three hits paced Ilion. New Hartford got a great offensive performance from Maugeri, who finished with three runs scored.
After their elimination bracket triumph, New Hartford went on to hand Smith Post an 8-4 loss to force a single championship game tomorrow at SUNYIT 4:30PM.
Ilion finishes with an overall record of 17-10.
New Hartford 15 Ilion 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New Hartford 0 2 4 0 3 2 0 4 0 15 14 1
Ilion 2 0 0 2 1 2 0 0 0 7 13 4