Story by Jon Dinan
NEW PALTZ Livingston Manor will not repeat as state champions. The Wildcats fell 4-3 to John A. Coleman Catholic in the Section IX Class D championship on Thursday at Loren Campbell Field.
Livingston Manor coach, Jim Loeffler expressed his disappointment after the game. “I am going to miss my six seniors. They, along with all my boys, played their hearts out. Unfortunately for us, [Coleman’s] Smithmeyer pitched a hell of a game.” Loeffler said.
Coleman struck first in the top of the second after Livingston Manor starting pitcher Michael Mills walked four batters in the inning forcing in the game’s first run. Coleman would cushion their lead in the third after Smithmeyer walked and stole second base, and Jim Lavalle hit an RBI single. Lavalle also stole second and scored on Austin Koo’s RBI single, making the score 3-0.
Manor would answer back in the bottom of the inning after Chad Rosario was hit by a pitch, Trevor Taggart singled, and clean-up hitter Michael Mills hit a double over the head of Coleman’s center fielder scoring both runners, making the score 3-2 Coleman.
Manor would tie the game in the bottom of the fourth when Robert Johaneman reached on a fielder’s choice. He proceeded to steal second, and was batted in after DH Andrew Cummings singled to right center.
Coleman struck back in the top of the sixth as Doug Terrone walked, and Nate Gray bunted for a single putting runners on first and second. Mills issued two more walks to Justin Bressack and Connor Bannen which allowed Terrone to score the go ahead run.
In the bottom of the seventh lead off batter, Ken Fisk reached base on a dropped third strike. With one out Mills hit what appeared to be a single that would’ve most likely put runners on first and third. But left fielder Nate Gray made a game-saving sliding catch to end Manor’s title defense.
“No player felt like an underdog, said Coleman coach Bob Brinkman. “We were very enthused, but no one is surprised. We are in a very competitive league, which is a definite advantage.”