Here is Brian Heyman’s story on how Rye fared in the Class A final four:
ENDICOTT — It took Rye about three hours Saturday afternoon to pass a 10-inning survival test in its Class A state semi against Averill Park and advance to the XXL-sized nightcap on this baseball field at Union-Endicott High — the program’s first state final.
But as it turned out, there would be no first state title. The Phantoms from defending champ Bayport-Blue Point were the happy ones jumping on a pile in the infield at the end under the Saturday night lights, winners again, this time 13-2.
It was a bad ending to a great 23-5 year for Rye.
“I think it’s just a fantastic season for the boys — league champs, section champs, regional champs, state finalists,” coach Mike Bruno said. “I’m just so happy for them. They brought so much joy to the community.”
Luke Meyerson earned the 3-2 win in the semi, throwing three innings of one-hit relief. The senior lefty threw 48 pitches, then took the ball to start the final.
“I had a lot left,” Meyerson said. “Location was fine. Speed was fine. Movement was fine.”
But after the Garnets scored two in the first, their opponent from Long Island got one back in the second and three in the third. Meyerson departed, and the Phantoms tacked on three more in the fourth and six in the fifth. Lefty P.J. Weeks, on the other hand, shut down Rye on six hits, three by Griffin Tutun.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Sal Geraci, who went 4 for 4 with two RBI for Bayport-Blue Point. “Two years in a row. I don’t even know what to say. It’s crazy.”
The day shift went a lot better for the Garnets. George Kirby threw 118 pitches over seven, allowing two runs and six hits. The sophomore righty faced a key moment in a 2-2 game or there wouldn’t have been a championship game for the Garnets.
The Warriors had first and third, no outs in the top of the sixth. First Kirby induced a popup. Then Chris Amadon tried to squeeze in the go-ahead run, sending the ball into the air in foul territory. Catcher Sam Lubeck made the grab and fired to third for the double play.
“That was huge,” Bruno said between games. “That’s the thing about George. Whenever it’s a tough situation, he always battles and comes through.”
Sophomore Chase Pratt finally won it, lining a single into left-center to bring in Lubeck.
The Garnets raced out of the dugout to celebrate with Pratt between first and second.
“We’re all so close on this team,” Pratt said. “We’re all such good friends. It was incredible to share this moment between all these guys.”
Photos by Jeff Miller/For The Journal News