PLATTSBURGH — Entering Monday’s NYSPHSAA Class B regional semifinal against Section II Schalmont, Beekmantown baseball coach Eric Bell asked his 18 players to do one thing — scrap.
Five innings of mistake-free baseball, though, just wasn’t enough.
Down 1-0 in the sixth inning, the No. 11-ranked Sabres (20-4) surged for six runs before adding four more on two errors in the seventh for a 10-3 defeat of the 12th-ranked Eagles (18-4) at Chip Cummings Field.
“I think we played a fantastic five innings,” Bell said. “After five, we’re up 1-0. We had some tough base-running errors early on in the game. But bottom line is — we were up 1-0 going into the sixth and things kind of unraveled a little bit.”
With the bases loaded and zero outs in the sixth, Schalmont pinch-runner Chris Amorosi scored from third on a passed ball to tie the game at 1-all.
After Beekmantown pitcher Austin Bradish threw a called strike to batter John Pascarella, Eagles catcher Brandon Rabideau attempted to catch baserunner Kevin Paskevich off of third base. The throw, however, struck Paskevich and trickled away, allowing him to score.
Pascarella continued the relentless attack, slapping an RBI single and scoring Greg Musk to make it 3-1. With baserunners on second and third, Bell elected to pull Bradish for Quenton Barber.
Bradish totaled 5.1 innings on the mound and allowed five earned runs on four hits. The senior walked two batters and struck out seven.
“Austin Bradish gave us everything he’s given us all year long — five unbelievable innings on a mound against a really good hitting team,” Bell said. “That team has faced a lot of pitchers this year that are going Division I and Division II. So, they faced quality pitching. Bradish came in and just threw absolutely fantastic and matched their starter Greg Musk. As a coach, you can’t ask any more from your player.”
Barber got Chris Hamilton to ground out, but walked Joe Wignot, gave up a two-RBI single to Tyler Smith, an RBI double to Jimmy Hamilton and a walk to Paskevich.
Brandon Buksa closed out the sixth on the mound, forcing Musk to ground out.
“We couldn’t get outs,” Bell said. “They did a good job putting the ball in play and finding the holes. The sixth inning started with a blooper up the middle. I mean, if we get that guy out, it could be a whole different ball game. But that’s baseball. I’m not disappointed at all. Those first five innings were the best baseball we’ve played all year.”
The Eagles tried for a comeback of their own in the next half-inning.
With the bases loaded and two outs, sophomore Alex Price slapped a two-RBI single, cutting the differential to three. However, a baserunner was caught leaning off second base and was tagged out to end the inning.
“Alex Price, a sophomore — clutch hit,” Bell said. “Kid’s a clutch player. He comes up big for us with two outs and the bases load. So, we were right back in the game at 6-3.”
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, Beekmantown surrendered four runs on errors by the pitcher and right fielder.
“We made errors and got a little shaky in the seventh,” Bell said. “I think the pressure of knowing that the season was almost over got to us at that point.”
Musk was credited with the win for the Sabres in a complete-game performance, allowing three runs on three hits, while walking five and firing five strikeouts.
Devin Fessette finished with one of the Eagles’ four hits, an RBI single to left field in the fifth, giving Beekmantown a 1-0 lead. Barber singled in the fifth and Rabideau also reached first on a base hit in the sixth.
“We’ve been trying to improve to get to this day, and we did,” Bell said. “We got there. Come the sixth inning — things happen when you can’t get outs and you start walking a few guys. (Monday) wasn’t our day toward the end of the game. I really think we did all we could.
“I’m going to miss our six seniors. We had a great season. We had high expectations for this team. We had big goals. Overall, in my first year, I had a bunch of great kids. They really made this special for me in my first year.”
With the win, Schalmont plays Section X champion Ogdensburg Free Academy today at 4 p.m. in the state quarterfinals. The winner will face either Wayland-Cohocton (Section V) or Fredonia (Section VI) at Union-Endicott High School Saturday for 4 p.m.
— Schalmont 10, Beekmantown 3 Schalmont 000 006 4 — 10 7 1 Beekmantown 000 012 0 — 3 4 2 Musk and Yezzo. Bradish, Barber (6), Buksa (6), Barber (7), Manney (7) and Rabideau. WP- Musk. LP- Bradish. 2B- C. Hamilton (S).