Spar­tans come home with elu­sive hard­ware

Queens­bury’s 4th trip to fi­nal four in six years yields ti­tle

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - HIGH SCHOOLS - By Pete Dougherty pdougherty@ time­ 518-4545416 @Pete_­dougherty

Few things in sports are more dif­fi­cult than clinch­ing a cham­pi­onship, and Queens­bury’s will was tested Satur­day evening.

Hold­ing a 5-1 lead in the state base­ball Class A cham­pi­onship game against Lake­land, pitcher Jack Sylvia had his most la­bo­ri­ous in­ning, throw­ing 24 pitches, the fi­nal nine to mound foe Evan Berta.

Sylvia won the bat­tle, in­duc­ing Berta into a force­out, and Queens­bury had the prize it cov­eted, a first state base­ball crown.

“It was way bet­ter than ex­pected,” Sylvia said of the tri­umphant feel­ing, “es­pe­cially the first time ever in Queens­bury, and es­pe­cially when we’ve had pro­fes­sional play­ers like Bren­dan Har­ris play­ing for us. It felt great.”

Queens­bury (19-4) got back-to-back com­plete games en route to the ti­tle. Noah Ed­wards hurled a one-run, six-hit vic­tory, same as Sylvia, in Fri­day’s 3-1 semi­fi­nal vic­tory over Canandaigua Academy.

“Back-to-back com­plete games,” Queens­bury coach Jay Marra said, al­most in dis­be­lief. “Jack just kept hang­ing in there, mak­ing pitch af­ter pitch. Our forte has been de­fense the whole time. We kept telling him, throw the ball over the plate, we’ll catch it for you, and we did.”

Sylvia threw 117 pitches (76 strikes), strik­ing out six and walk­ing two, in­clud­ing one in the fi­nal in­ning.

“I started to lose my ve­loc­ity there,” Sylvia said. “I was just tired.”

Lake­land (16-10) led 1-0 when Sylvia ig­nited the Spar­tans’ of­fense in the fourth with a two-out RBI sin­gle. Af­ter Mike Guido walked, Bren­dan Scott launched a bases-loaded triple for a 4-1 lead.

“We felt with Jack on the mound,” Scott said, “throw­ing the way he was, if we could get him some runs, we feel like we can beat any­body.”

Guido gave Sylvia a lit­tle breath­ing room in the sixth with a run-scor­ing sin­gle, also with two outs.

“We were not hit­ting the ball at all,” Sylvia said. “When I got that hit, B-scott opened the flood­gates, and it gave a lot of con­fi­dence. I could ac­tu­ally at­tack the hit­ters in­stead of play­ing pas­sive.”

It was the fourth time in the past six years Queens­bury has made the state fi­nal four.

“It means a lot to the whole pro­gram,” Marra said. “I’ve been get­ting texts and emails from guys who played for me 20 years ago, wish­ing me good luck to­day. This is all for those guys who helped build the pro­gram.”

Jeff miller / Spe­cial to the times union

Queens­bury’s matt Chase hits a sin­gle against Lake­land dur­ing their Class A state fi­nal Satur­day at NYSEG Sta­dium.

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