By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO June 8, 2001 The Fallsburg Comet baseball team held off a last inning rally by Sullivan West/Jeffersonville-Youngsville Tuesday afternoon at Monticello High School to claim the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division IV title.
After the final out was recorded in the 6-4 Fallsburg win, the Comet players threw their gloves into the air and quickly formed a celebration pile near the pitchers mound. The celebration was understandable as it is believed that the Division IV crown is the first association, league or division championship for the Fallsburg baseball team since 1959.
That title came in the long-since disbanded Dutchess-Orange-Sulli-van-Ulster (DUSO) athletic league.
SW/J-Y (10-5, 8-3 OCIAA) did its best to prevent the Fallsburg jubilation, however.
Down 6-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Trojans did not go quietly. With one out, Jon Fanning hit a double to the bottom of the fence in right center field and the next batter, Kyle Bright, doubled to left field to bring Fanning to the plate and cut the Fallsburg (165, 92 OCIAA) lead to only two runs.
Following a quick conference on the mound between Comet coach Brett Cancredi and his players, SW/J-Ys Jake Sauer-Jones singled. When the throw went to the plate to prevent Bright from attempting to score, Sauer-Jones took second base. That put the potential game-tying runs in scoring position with still only one out recorded in the frame.
But Fallsburg pitcher Darren Kenney squashed the Trojan comeback by striking out the next two batters to end the game and preserve the Comet victory.
They made a couple of mistakes and we took advantage of them, Cancredi said. And we had some timely hitting today.
Some of the mistakes Cancredi alluded to came in the top of the third when the contest was a scoreless tie. The Comets took advantage of three walks by Bright, who started the game on the mound for the Trojans, to load the bases.
Fallsburg scored its first run when a Trojan infielder hesitated for a split second before throwing the ball home on a bases-loaded ground ball. That gave Fallsburg a 1-0 lead.
And in the fifth inning, with the Comets up by a 4-2 margin, two SW/J-Y throwing errors put Fallsburg runners on second and third with only one out. Darren Kenney then hit a sac fly to score Jeff ONeill and Mike Gilberg followed with a bloop single to center that allowed Corey Huber to cross the plate.
SW/J-Ys Jon Fanning led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run over the right field fence to make it a 6-3 contest. But Kenney (72), who relieved Huber in the bottom of the fourth, allowed only the aforementioned seventh-inning run while striking out six batters to earn the win.
They have a great ball team too, Cancredi said of SW/J-Y. And we knew being up 6-3 that they would come back. But DK (Kenney) was able to pitch out of trouble and that shows a lot of mental toughness on his part.
Indeed, Kenney pitched out of a jam when he first took the mound. The Trojans had loaded the bases against Huber with no outs and scored two runs when Huber hit two batters with pitches. But Kenney came in and struck out the next three batters to end the Trojan scoring threat.
Fallsburg has good pitchers, good hitters and theyre a good defensive team, too, SW/J-Y coach Kurt Scheibe Jr. said. They got the hits when they needed to. We had some opportunities to score some runs and didnt take advantage of them.
Fallsburg scored its other two runs in the fourth inning when Joe Calvello and Mike Hernandez hit back-to-back RBI singles.
We battled back and didnt give up, Scheibe said. We got down a couple of runs and fought back. But we just couldnt get a couple more timely hits.