Saturday, July 27, kicked off the first day of the tournament for the young men about to put their skills to the test over the next five days. To see if they can run the table and rally together with their teammates to become state champions of New York.
The first game started at 9 a.m. with Saugerties Post 72 taking on Clinton County Post 1619. The game would be a test in itself for the players, coaching staff and even fans, as the game lasted over three hours, going into extra innings, eight to be exact. Saugerties would come out as the victors over Clinton County, 12-9. Addison Allen and Steven Croswell both stepped up big at the plate, batting in two runs. Ryley O’Connell for Clinton County put in 6 innings of work, with 4 strikeouts and a 4.67 ERA.
In the next game, Hamburg Post 527 faced Maine Endwell Post 1700.Hamburg started their championship run with a close win 3-2 over Maine Endwell. Jordan Prince in three at-bats had two hits and two runs scored, while his teammate Jake Szymanski had two hits and two RBIs in three at-bats. Maine Endwell’s starting pitcher went six and two-thirds innings with one strikeout and a 3.15 ERA.
In-game three, Rayson Miller Post 899 faced Smith Post 24. Rayson Miller took the victory by a score of 4-1. Wayne VanNewkirk had himself a day with three hits, two of them being doubles and bringing in three runs for his team. While his teammate Lukas Haefner pitched four and two-thirds innings on the mound striking out five, and not giving up any runs to Smith Post. Kyle Clark went the distance on the mound for Smith Post pitching a full seven innings with five strikeouts and one walk in the loss.
In-game four, the three-time state champion Rockland Pirates Post 130 took on Adrean Post 625 in the night game. Rockland showed why they won the past three years, as they cruised to a 7-3 win over Adrean. Sean Liquori had three hits and one RBI while Joseph Ottaviano had two hits and four RBIs on the night. Sean Dertinger pitched five innings with seven strikeouts and posted a 1.30 ERA.
On day two the first day of elimination play, Clinton County Post was the first team to be eliminated with their second loss to Smith Post 24 in a score of 8-4. The second team to see elimination was local post team Adrean Post 625, as they fell to Maine Endwell Post 1700 12-2. Saugerties and Rayson Miller faced off in the evening game and this one was a nail biter, as Saugerties hangs on to 6-5 victory over Rayson Miller. The last game of day two would be a preview to the championship round with Hamburg Post and Rockland Post.Rockland went on to blank Hamburg this time around as Mile Massay pitched six and two-thirds innings and dialed up five strikeouts in the win.
Day three ended the journey to a state championship for two more teams as Rayson Miller avoided elimination and defeated Maine Endwell 7-1, while Smith Post cannot battle back against Hamburg in 7-3 loss. In the night game, Saugerties would take on the rolling Rockland Pirates to try and knock them off the undefeated streak, but Rockland would come out strong in the bottom of the first scoring four runs and cruising to a win over Saugerties.
On day four, the final four would battle it out for a chance to play into the championship round. Hamburg and Saugerties would start the day off in the elimination game as both teams headed into the game with a loss already. The score was all zeros until Hamburg scored three runs in the fifth inning and again in the sixth. Saugerties wouldn’t answer back until the bottom of the seventh, scoring only two runs and losing the game 7-2. Rockland eliminated Rayson-Miller by a score of 9-2, sending Rockland back to the championship round for the fourth consecutive year!
Day five, the final day of the tournament, featured the matchup from day two with Hamburg Post 527 and the Rockland Pirates Post 130. Hamburg comes into the championship round with a 3-1 record while Rockland came in undefeated. Hamburg faced a tough road ahead having to beat Rockland twice to take home the hardware. Game one would be all zeros heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, as Hamburg finally breaks the scoreboard when Spencer Kwilos ropes a single and scores Nate Lockwood for a 1-0 lead. In the top of the sixth Rockland threatens with runners on second and third with one out, James Costlin hits a ground ball to shortstop and with a close play at the plate, Aiden Gallagher is called out. Advancing to the top of the seventh with the score 1-0, Rockland had runners on first and second with two outs as Frank Margiotta lines a base hit to left field, with the runner from second rounding third, Tom Furmanski fires a bullet to home to just throw out Billy Sullivan at the plate to end the game!
Game 15 the championship game, one of these two teams will be headed to North Carolina to play in the regional tournament and also be crowned the New York State American Legion champion! Game tied at five and Rockland up to bat, Joseph Ottaviano, is able to get himself into scoring position on a stolen base, setting up Frank Margiotta who strikes a double in the gap to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead in the fifth.
In the sixth inning, Rockland would add two more making it 8-5, but Hamburg as they have shown all tournament that they do not give up rallies to score two runs of their own making it 8-7 going into the seventh inning. In the top of the seventh, Hamburg held off the strong bats of Rockland and was able to put a zero on the boxscore. Hamburg was in an all but familiar place, down by one, in the bottom of the seventh, but did they have another rally in their bones?
With bases loaded, Spencer Kwilos gets caught leaning at first and on the throw, Jacob Gawronski scores tying the game at 8-8. With the championship run ninety feet away, Joseph Roward battles at the plate to find his pitch and grounds a hard shot at second base, but second basemen Frank Margiotta cannot handle the ball cleanly and everyone is safe. Scoring on the error was Nate Lockwood and the entire team mobs Roward in the middle infield, as Hamburg Post 527 defeats Rockland Post 130 in dramatic fashion 9-8.