TROY — Saturday night’s Class B final between Ichabod Crane and Albany Academy, or Dave Yankowski vs Ben Seiler part two, was expected to be a pitcher’s duel. It was not. The offenses, particularly for Albany Academy, came through and ultimately led the Cadets to their second consecutive Class B title, winning 8-4.
When these two pitchers faced off on April 9, Seiler threw a no-hitter in a 4-0 victory. Saturday was much different for him as he had to sweat it out a little bit but still threw a complete game, allowing four runs and scattered seven hits over his seven innings.
“It’s tough coming out here. You feel all the pressure from everybody all around the stadium. Just to grind it out and come away with the win, that’s all that matters,” Seiler said.
It took a couple of innings for the offense to help Seiler out, but they came through in the third inning with the game tied 1-1. With the bases loaded and no outs, EJ Birch got all the way to third on a single and an error to give the Cadets a 4-1 lead. Seiler himself was the next batter, and he helped out his own cause with an RBI single to make it 5-1, capping off a four-run inning that gave them all the momentum that they needed. All of those runs came off of Yankowski, as part of what ended up being a start unlike many of his previous ones.
“We tried to keep the pressure on every inning, and some innings we went down pretty quickly, but other innings we had guys on base. It puts pressure on the other team. EJ Birch came through with a real big hit there with the bases loaded. We were fortunate to get those runs,” Albany Academy coach Dave Rider said.
After that, Ichabod Crane never got within three runs as Albany Academy tacked on three more in the fifth inning to make the game 8-2, highlighted by Seiler once again coming up clutch with an RBI single to right field.
“They came to rake, so they did,” Ichabod Crane coach Brian McComb said of Albany Academy. “We wanted to see more baserunners, but it just wasn’t our day.”
The Riders tried to stage a comeback as they scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning to trim their deficit to four runs off of Seiler late but it did not work out for them in the end.
“They had some big hits, we just happened to put the hits at the right time,” Rider said.
With this win, Albany Academy takes its second consecutive Class B title and are hungry for a state title win this time around. Last year, they came up one run short of a title, falling 9-8 to Livonia in the state championship game. This year’s group wants a state championship more than ever, and they believe that their experience last year will help them this year.
“Every game that we played last year had made us stronger mentally. Once you have familiarity with what you’re doing, it’s a little easier. It’s not easier because you still have to win the games, but mentally it’s easier to prepare,” Rider said.
At the state level, this year’s quest will begin this Thursday as they play Section X champion Ogdensburg Free Academy in the regional semifinals. The game will be played at St. Lawrence University and first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.