Ed Townsend | Democrat
Tri-Valley coach John Rusin consoles starting pitcher sophomore Justin Swarthout and senior catcher John Anzano following the Bears’ loss to Rhinebeck in the Section IX, Class C championship game.
Rhinebeck turns back Tri-Valley
Story by Ed Townsend
NEW PALTZ June 4, 2013 Down by eight runs to Rhinebeck after the first two innings of the Section IX Class C championship last Thursday, Tri-Valley mounted a valiant comeback, putting the tying run at the plate in the sixth inning.
But Rhinebeck shut the door on Tri-Valley’s rally and its attempt to win back-to-back Section IX, Class C titles. The Hawks won the game 11-5 for its first-ever Section IX baseball title.
In that sixth inning, with Tri-Valley trailing 8-1, Alex Brown started the rally by driving a ball to Rhinebeck's shortstop whose throw to first was not handled by the first baseman. Aric Boyes walked. Donavan Flores popped up to the catcher. Andrew Exner singled to right (he was 3-for-4 at the plate) loading the bases.
Cody Exner walked, scoring one run, Justin Swarthout flied out to center for the second out. Rodney T. Jester hit a ground ball to short which was bobbled and resulted in Jester being safe at first and scoring another run. Michael Foster doubled to right pushing across two more runs, bringing John Anzano to the plate with runners on second and third. But a ground out to third ended the inning.
The Hawks put the game away in its half of the sixth, scoring three more runs.
Tri-Valley sophomore starting pitcher Justin Swarthout struggled the first two innings with Rhinebeck scoring three in the first and five in the second inning.
The Hawks showed patience at the plate and speed on the basepaths with numerous stolen bases and timely hitting.
Sophomore Jared Nash relieved Swarthout on the mound for the Bears and pitched four innings of one-hit relief.
The scoring tally for the game gave Rhinebeck three runs in the first inning, five runs in the second inning and three runs in the sixth. For Tri-Valley they had one run in the third and four in the sixth.
Tri-Valley totaled five runs off 10 hits and four errors. Rhinebeck had 11 runs off eight hits and one error.
Andrew Exner led Tri-Valley with three hits and Jester and Foster added two hits apiece.
Tri-Valley coach John Rusin gave high praise for his Bears team.
"They were down eight runs and they never quit and that was this team all year long," said Rusin. He gave credit to the team's attitude commenting that "sometimes their approach was not there but the attitude was always there."
Rhinebeck coach Bill Carney noted his starting pitcher Josh Hanaburgh for an "outstanding performance in today's heat." He gave a big pat on the back to his leadoff hitter, Nick Hoynes who went 1-for-3 with four stolen bases and three runs scored.
The heat Thursday resulted in the game being delayed almost an hour and a half. New York State Public High School Athletic Association's heat safety policy states that if the heat index on accuweather.com (which takes humidity and air temperature into account) for a particular location is at 96 degrees or higher, the contest must not begin until the heat index drops to 95 or below.
The game scheduled to start at 4 p.m. got underway at 5:20.
In commenting on the season, Rusin said, "this has been a special group for me because the group before them kind of had a path mapped out for them as they were highly touted coming through. They played three years of varsity ball. They went to one section championship game and they won the next championship game.
“This team this year had faith in themselves. They started 2-6 and they kept finding their way and they knew what they were capable of," Rusin added.
Tri-Valley seniors playing in their last high school game included John Anzano, Aric Boyes, Kyle Burkey, Andrew Exner, Cody Exner, Michael Foster, Rodney T. Jester and Bradley VanAken.