Eldred battled Chapel Field and Tri-Valley faced Rhinebeck on Saugerties' Lorenz Field with Section 9 titles on the line.
SAUGERTIES –– In back-to-back games on Lorenz Field in Saugerties, the Eldred Yellowjackets and Tri-Valley Bears’ seasons came to an end at the hands of Chapel Field and Rhinebeck respectively. The Chapel Field Lions bested Eldred, 10-1, while the Rhinebeck Hawks defeated Tri-Valley, 4-1.
In both Sullivan County teams’ cases, the inability to generate consistent hits on offense was a key factor in the end results. Here’s how each game unfolded.
Chapel Field 10, Eldred 1
The game began as a pitchers’ duel, with neither team scoring in the first two innings. Successful baserunning by Eldred put them in the right position to capitalize on a Chapel Field error in the third inning, as a dropped pop up allowed a run to score.
Despite Eldred scoring first, the Chapel Field bats came alive in the fourth inning. Combined with Eldred errors, the Lions tacked on six runs, before adding one in the fifth and sixth innings, and two in the seventh.
With one last chance to put a rally together, Chapel Field continued to shut down Eldred’s offense in the bottom of the seventh, and captured the Section 9 Class D crown.
This was the first time the Yellowjackets’ baseball team had been in the Section 9 title game in almost a decade, and had they won, it would have been their first title since 1991.
When asked why the game turned out how it did, Eldred Coach Josh Santoro was quick to point out “mental breakdowns.”
“We had one bad inning where we lost the fundamentals of the game,” he said. Santoro noted that since some of the players were new to the game, they weren’t yet used to that stage of baseball.
The Yellowjackets will have a good number of players returning next spring, including freshman pitcher Josh Warming, who has shown great promise on the mound.
Overall, Santoro described their 2021 campaign as a fulfilling season.
“We had a lot of players who had never played together before,” he said. “They came together throughout the year, had adversity, came back and truly enjoyed the game of baseball.”
Rhinebeck 4, Tri-Valley 1
The Bears entered Saturday’s Section 9 Class C championship game undefeated, and with a big 2-1 win over Pine Plains in the semis. The Hawks earned their ticket to the dance with a 13-3 win over Millbrook, in a game that was rescheduled due to weather from Tuesday to Wednesday, and then thanks to Mother Nature’s wrath, had to be paused and completed on Thursday.
Each team had an exceptional pitcher, with Tri-Valley’s Jake Yager headed to St. Bonaventure University next season, and Rhinebeck’s Brendan Hines committed to Ithaca College.
They both fired their best stuff, with Hines and Yager striking out 13 and 12 batters respectively. However, it was Hines’ Hawks that had more success with their bats, putting together 10 hits in the 4-1 win. The Bears only had two hits on the day, both coming from Yager’s bat.
Rhinebeck got on the board in the second inning, taking a 1-0 advantage. They added three more in the fifth inning to cushion their lead. Jake delivered a much needed ‘Yager bomb’ in the sixth inning, but with no runners on base, the solo homer still left a three-run deficit.
A few Bears got on base in the bottom of the seventh, but a grounder and two strikeouts retired the side, and the Hawks won the ‘C’ title.
“We played the best team we faced all year,” said T-V Coach John Rusin. “We definitely didn’t beat ourselves. They just went out and put the bat on the ball better than we did and it was a well-played baseball game.”
Rusin had high praise for his team, which at 14 wins and one loss, still had a heck of a season.
“In a year that was so abnormal, they [the team] gave me the greatest sense of normalcy everyday,” said Rusin. “They made us, their families and the community proud, and they’re just a joy to be around.”