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The Dansville Online
  • Wayland-Cohocton stopped in NYS Final Four

  • Oneonta survived a rare bout of wildness to hold off Wayland-Cohocton’s latest bit of comeback magic.

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  • Oneonta survived a rare bout of wildness to hold off Wayland-Cohocton’s latest bit of comeback magic.
    Mike Calkins and Conor Youngs combined on a four-hitter as Oneonta built an early 8-0 lead before surviving Wayland-Cohocton’s late rally in Saturday’s 8-4 victory in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinal at MacArthur Park’s Conlon Field.
    Calkins struck out six over 5 1-3 innings, but also walked six and Youngs worked out of bases-loaded jams in the sixth and seventh innings to help the Yellow Jackets advance to the state finals for the first time since 2002.
    Oneonta, the Section IV champions, then went on to beat Briarcliff, 2-0, in the state championship game later in the day. Briarcliff advanced with a 4-3 win over Albany Academy on Saturday morning.
    Wayland-Cohocton (19-6) nearly rallied from 8-0 down, bringing the tying run to the plate in each of the final two innings.
    “With our guys, nothing surprises me,” said Wayland-Cohocton head coach Steve Wager. “The kids have the heart of champions. That’s the way they’ve always played. They never panic.”
    The first six Oneonta batters in the second inning reached base and Calkins’ two-run single made it 2-0. Mark Giallanzo’s RBI single two batters later made it 3-0 and chased Eagles’ starter Evan Englert.
    Tyler Brown came on and allowed consecutive sacrifice flies to David Wright and Ben Moxley and Giallanzo scored on a wild pitch to extend the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 6-0.
    Brown would retired the first seven hitters he faced and 10 of the first 11. Brown did not allow a hit until the fifth and finished up by allowing two runs over six innings of relief.
    “Our pitchers all year, they may not throw an 85-mile-per-hour fastball, but they throw strikes,”?said Wager. “Any time you throw strikes at the high school level, you give yourself a chance to win.”
    Brown did just that, as the Eagles finally broke through against Calkins despite finishing with only four hits.
    Wayland-Cohocton scored four runs in the sixth on one hit, taking advantage of four walks and an error in the inning.
    “That’s very uncharacteristic of our pitchers,”?said Oneonta head coach Joseph Hughes of his team’s eight walks. “We’re usually not that way at all, but I’ve got to give their hitters the credit. They didn’t chase and remained disciplined.”
    C.J. Ellis, who reached safely in all four trips, hit a two-run single to get the Eagles on the board and chase Calkins. Youngs came on allowed a bases-loaded walk to Collin Burke and another run came in on a wild pitch to cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 8-4.
    Page 2 of 2 - With one out in the seventh, Youngs hit Englert with a pitch and Joe Meyer reached on an error before Ellis’ single loaded the bases again.
    However, Youngs got a pair of fly outs to end the game.
    “Wayland-Cohocton never gave up,” said Hughes. “We were very impressed with their discipline and their approach at the plate.
    “We were able to survive all the walks, a hit by pitch, a couple of errors. We were very fortunate to come out of here with a win.”
    Hughes, in his 26th season as head coach, previously led Oneonta to the state finals in 2002, but now has won his first state title.
    Zach Pidgeon’s two-run single in the fifth gave Oneonta a seemingly comfortable 8-0 lead. Sean Getman had two hits and two runs scored, Pidgeon finished 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Youngs walked two, stole a base, and scored a run for the Yellow Jackets.
    Wayland-Cohocton, which won its first sectional title in baseball since 1999 and advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in program history, came from behind twice in its Far West Regional win over Fredonia. The Eagles also had eight come-from-behind league wins in the regular season.
    “They’re a very resilient group and it’s the only way they know how to play,”?said Wager. “They’ve played from behind all year. There’s no quit in these guys and I didn’t expect anything else.”
    Ellis finished with two hits, two walks, and a run scored and Englert doubled and scored in reaching base three times. Burke also reached base safely three times with a single and two walks, while Tyler Thielges walked twice and Joe Meyer walked and scored for the Eagles.
    Wayland-Cohocton capped a special year in sports for the school. The football team lost in the sectional finals by one point, then won a sectional title in boys’ basketball and baseball.
    “It’s been a great ride for these guys,” said Wager. “To finish off with another sectional title and continue on to the state level, I’m really proud of these guys.”
     
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