BINGHAMTON - Heuvelton sophomore Mike Martin pitched well enough to win.
But uncharacteristic defensive miscues by the Bulldogs led to a 3-1 loss to Section 4 Hancock in the semifinals of the Class D state baseball tournament on Saturday at Broome Community College.
Heuvelton (18-3) saw its 17-game winning streak snapped despite the fact that the Bulldog righty allowed just one hit and did not allow an earned run.
‘Yes, I felt I pitched well. I had the knuckle curve and my other pitches working well,” said Martin who struck out six and allowed just one walk in the complete-game effort. “It’s a team game. We got guys on base but they got some big double plays to get them out of jams.”
Winning pitcher and southpaw Ryan Smith started 1-6-3 twin-killings in both the second and sixth innings after Heuvelton’s Jordan Macauley and Andrew Woodard had led off those respective innings with solid singles.
Smith allowed four Bulldog hits overall while striking out six and allowing just one walk.
His team took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Ryan Tooley led off by reaching on an outfield error and came around to score on a sharp single to left field by catcher Eli Holton - the Wildcats’ lone hit of the game. Holton then stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Preston Walker’s infield out “It was huge getting the early 2-0 lead. Eli got the big hit which he’s been doing for us for a long time,” said Smith. “The double plays were big. I knew if I made the throw, our guys would turn it.’
Heuvelton, which started three freshmen infielders and a sophomore battery, cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth when Dylan Liscum drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on Jordan Macauley’s infield out, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Cole Piercey’s infield single.
Hancock (20-4) made it 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth where Holton reached second on an outfield error, and scored on an infield miscue.
‘We made some uncharacteristic plays in the field we haven’t made all season long,” said Bulldog coach Dave Steele. “Mike pitched a great game. He kept us in the game. We had three or four hits on the board, more that they did. Their pitcher has an exceptional career record (33-5). I’m proud of my guys, the way they played.”
Martin was also presented with a state sportsmanship award before the opening pitch.
Hancock met Smithtown Christian of Long Island last night for the state title.
Hancock 3 Heuvelton 1
Heuvelton 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 - 1 4 4
Hancock 2 0 0 1 0 0 X - 3 1 1
WP Smith (Holton) LP Martin (Macaulay
Records Hancock 20-4, Heuvelton 18-3