BINGHAMTON — If there was ever a case where a win/loss record didn’t reflect what was actually achieved, it was with the 2022 edition of Fayetteville-Manlius baseball.
Playing 24 games, the Hornets lost 13. Still, they accomplished more than any other team in program history, their run only ending in the New York State Public High School Class AA championship game. Athletic Association.
It wasn’t until Saturday’s state final, when FM lost 4-2 to Rochester McQuaid at Mirabito Stadium in Binghamton, that the Hornets’ remarkable postseason run came to an end, further because of the quality of the Knights than anything the Hornets did wrong.
A day earlier, FM met Pine Bush of Section IX in the state semifinals at Binghamton University and proved, emphatically, that he didn’t need to turn on the scoreboard. to find the win column, beating the Bushers 2-1. ‘
As he had done three times in the playoffs, Max Danaher started on the mound. And he would need to be good as his Pine Bush counterpart, Alex Bucolo, retired the first nine batters he faced.
Danaher tied the zeros and held it 0-0 until the start of the fourth inning, when Michael Dutch, in his second time against Bucolo, scored FM’s first hit.
The second hit was even bigger. With Dutch second after a sacrificial bunt, Chris Hoalcraft landed another blow, a single that scored Dutch.
An innings later, FM doubled their margin to 1-0, with Eitan Spinoza reaching base and Ethan Powell bringing Spinoza home with a single.
Meanwhile, Danaher continued to baffle the Bushers for six scoreless innings, going 13 straight at one point, then quickly recording the first two outs in the seventh to edge closer to victory.
Pine Bush, however, fought to the end. Connor Stacklum scored a single, went second on a passed fly and ran home when Josh Martin doubled the lead.
Now it was all down to Jack Taylor at the plate, but Danaher struck him out, his fourth strikeout on four hits and two walks, and FM was in his first-ever national final.
Awaiting them was McQuaid, who won his own tense 7-6 state semi-final over Massapequa and was looking to defend the state title he won the tournament was last held in 2019.
Starting off, sophomore pitcher Dan Swift walked in the first inning to Aiden Stewart, who then stole second and third before scoring on Liam Ciaramatro’s single.
Matt Wilmarth, pitcher for McQuaid, shut out FM for the first four innings, but Swift also settled in, throwing three scoreless frames, with plenty of help behind him.
Mason sent off Will Russotti trying to score from second place late in the second. Two innings later, Tanner Deragon tripled, but when he tried to score, Danaher relayed Sam Kuss, whose throw to catcher Nick Wratney led to a home tag.
Anyway, FM rewarded that work in the top of the fifth, with Tom Woodbridge walking and, with two outs, Hoalcraft delivering again with his bat, doubling the gap to tackle Woodbridge.
When Swift gave up a brace to Allen late in the fifth, Seth Albert picked it up, but Hall greeted him with another brace that gave the Knights a 2-1 lead. Hall went to third and scored on Russotti’s grounder.
FM cut it to 3-2 in the top of the sixth through Danaher, who tripled and then scored on Ethan Powell’s single. But McQuaid restored the margin late in the sixth on Deragon’s RBI double, and Wilmarth blanked the Hornets in the seventh to end it.