By Rob Potter
RHINEBECK The Sullivan West Bulldogs saw their 2011 baseball season end on a very hot and humid day in Dutchess County.
The host Rhinebeck Hawks defeated the SW Bulldogs, 4-0, on Tuesday afternoon in a Section IX Class B quarterfinal game. With the win, No. 4 seed Rhinebeck improved its record to 10-8 overall on the season and advanced to face No. 1 seed John S. Burke Catholic High School in a semifinal game on Wednesday afternoon.
The two main reasons the Hawks topped the fifth-seeded Bulldogs were the right arm of senior pitcher Ben Hoynes and the bat of senior designated hitter Eric Holden. Hoynes tossed a no-hitter and Holden hit a grand slam home run to account for all of the runs in the game.
Hoynes and SW pitcher Ryan Alsdorf kept the opposing hitters in check for the first two innings.
After Hoynes set the Bulldogs in order in the top of the third, he helped the Hawks’ offense in the bottom of the inning. Mat Booz began the frame with an infield hit and Hoynes followed with a single to right-center field. Keenan Farrell then walked to put a runner on every base.
Alsdorf got the next batter, Nicholas Martin, to hit a fly ball to left field for the first out of the inning.
Holden then stepped into the batter’s box. He connected with a pitch and sent the ball over the left-center field fence to give Rhinebeck a 4-0 lead. After Holden was congratulated by all of his teammates at home plate, Alsdorf and the Bulldogs defense got two outs to end the inning.
SW (11-8) attempted to get on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth.
The first batter of the frame, Jeremy DeGori, hit a high pop fly ball into shallow left field that bounced off the glove off shortstop Nick Hoynes. DeGori was safe at first on the error, but was thrown out at second base on a fielder’s choice. Justin Zaccari reached first base on that fielder’s choice, but he could not advance to second base as Ben Hoynes recorded a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.
With one out in the top of the sixth, SW’s James O’Connor reached base on an error.
Again, Ben Hoynes and the Hawks defense prevented the Bulldogs from scoring as Hoynes got the next two batters, Lucas Bauer and Michael Durkin, to fly out and ground out, respectively.
In the top of the seventh, Ben Hoynes preserved his no-hitter by setting the Bulldogs down in order.
“Ben has been our No. 1 pitcher all year,” Rhinebeck Coach George “Nicky” Nikolatos said. “He pitched a heck of a game today.”
Nikolatos also praised Holden.
“Eric has been hitting the ball well this season,” Nikolatos said. “That was his first home run of the year and it was a great time for it.”
Nikolatos also lauded the entire Hawks’ defense, especially junior catcher Brian Hanson, senior first baseman Nicholas Martin and freshman shortstop Nick Hoynes, the younger brother of pitcher Ben Hoynes.
“We had guys on base, but we couldn’t get a hit to bring them in to score,” SW Coach Kurt Scheibe Jr. said. “[Ben] Hoynes pitched very well.”
Scheibe also noted that Alsdorf, who had nine strikeouts, pitched a good game.
“He threw six innings and close to 100 pitches,” Scheibe said.
Scheibe noted that the Bulldogs’ strength throughout the season was hitting. They managed to hit many of Ben Hoynes’ pitches, but when the did the ball went right to one of the Hawks’ fielders.
While the loss was disappointing for the SW players, coaches and fans who made the trip to Rhinebeck, Scheibe praised all of his players.
“We played great defense today and made only one error,” he said. “We were down after the grand slam, but these guys didn’t give up. They kept working hard the entire game.”
Notes: Rhinebeck was defeated by Burke, 9-6, in Wednesday’s semifinal game.
Tuesday’s game was the scholastic finale for eight SW seniors: Ryan Alsdorf, Lucas Bauer, Cruz Burgos, Jeremy DeGori, Michael Durkin, James O’Connor, Mike Pierce and Justin Zaccari.