Here is my game story on John Jay’s 2-1 loss to Williamsville South in the Class A state semis:
BINGHAMTON — Throughout the playoffs, John Jay had outpitched every team that it faced.
The Indians didn’t give up more than two runs in any postseason game, and that trend continued in the Class A state semifinals. But John Jay finally met its match on Saturday at NYSEG Stadium, as Damian Powers threw a one-hitter to lead Section 5 champ Williamsville South past the Indians and into the state final with a 2-1 win.
“That’s the best kid that we’ve faced all year – by far,” John Jay coach Geoff Curtis said. “He owned the game from the start. He had command – or near command – of three pitches. His changeup had nasty down and in movement, his fastball was exploding, and he had a legitimate D1 slider. He had three pitches that were all plus.”
Powers took a few minutes to throw his first strike, but once he did, he put his overpowering stuff on display. The Le Moyne-bound senior finished with 10 strikeouts.
“After the first three pitches I threw were balls, I was like, ‘Get back to myself. Just do what you do and throw the ball,’ ” the right-hander said. “I fought back to get a ground ball, and then went 1-2-3. I just kept going from there.”
The Indians (18-9) countered with their own ace Sam Mines, who came into the game with three wins and a save under his belt in the playoffs. The Rutgers-bound submariner only allowed one run on four hits, but was taken out after four innings at 45 pitches.
“Sam’s going on three days’ rest,” Curtis said. “We watched some of his mannerisms, and he just didn’t seem comfortable. Here’s the indication of how we knew we were right: When he came out of the game, we talked about what are we going to do defensively, and I said, ‘Sam, how do you feel about left field?’ He said, ‘Coach, I’d rather not throw.’ That’s where he is. He’s a relief pitcher who has turned into a phenomenal starter for us.”
Mines converted to a starter during the season after Northeastern-bound ace Will Jahn partially tore his labrum. He was pulled in favor of Trevor Filacchione, who was the winning pitching in the section title game.
“I didn’t really have much on the fastball today – I felt like the velocity was way down,” Mines said. “I definitely thought going to Trevor was the right move. I didn’t have much left.”
John Jay scored first in the top of the fourth. After Anthony Patti led off with a walk and advanced to second on passed ball, Jack Weiller’s bunt single moved him to third. Patti would score on Tyler Keech’s ground ball to third, but that would be it for the scoring.
In total, the Indians were outhit eight to one.
“We were outhit like crazy, but it doesn’t matter in this game,” Curtis said. “We put our guy in scoring position when we needed to, played a little bit of small ball and Jack had a tremendous bunt.”
After tying the game in the bottom of the fourth on Powers’ RBI single, Williamsville South would score the winning run on Tyler Utz’s RBI single in the sixth.
The loss ended a remarkable run for John Jay in which it allowed just 10 runs in seven playoff games.
“You think about what these kids just did, and it boggles the mind, really,” Curtis said. “They went on a run like no other. The school has never made it this far, and it’s just tremendous. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Photo by Seth Harrison/The Journal News