TROY — The New York State high school baseball tournament is in full swing and many Section II teams played for a spot in the state semifinals. Last night the Columbia Blue Devils took on the Baldwinsville Bees out of Section III and it was a game to remember.
Columbia, in many peoples minds, played their best game of the year just to fall short and took a tough 1-0 loss. Starting pitcher Carmen Erno gave Columbia a boost as he cruised through Baldwinsville’s lineup in the first inning but he fell into trouble quickly after that. Erno walked a total of four batters and struggled to keep Baldwinsville off of the bases as he allowed them to load them up multiple times throughout the game.
However, Columbia’s strong defense behind him never allowed the Bees to put any runs up until the fifth inning when Columbia’s luck ran out. Erno got two quick outs to start the top of the fifth inning but a single, a hit batsman and then a RBI single by Pat May saw Baldwinsville take a 1-0 lead. Columbia’s offense wasn’t able to match their defense as they struggled and never was able to get anything going. Their offensive struggles were mostly in part because Baldwinsville had their best pitcher on the mound and he did nothing but throw a spectacular game.
Jason Savacool gave up only four hits to Columbia, had only one walk and struck out a total of 11 batters. Savacool, who is only a sophomore, had always dreamed about having this experience ever since he witnessed his brother help Baldwinsville to a state title back in 2013.
“It’s awesome…it’s something I got to experience through my brother back in 2013 and now to do it for myself is huge.” Savacool said after the game.
Columbia’s head coach Chris Dedrick had high praise for Savacool as Columbia had him on their radar ever since they beat Ballston Spa in the Section II Class AA final last week.
“We knew we were getting one of the best pitchers in the state,” Dedrick discussing Savacool. “We had a really good scout on him and the thing he did today was get ahead of us…he was able to throw his pitches in any [pitch] count.”
Baldwinsville head coach Dave Penafeather emphasized that his team has a chance to make it to Binghamton to play in the state title game and they are excited to have this opportunity. “We have one banner hanging in our gymnasium, we were the first male team to win a state championship [in 2013]…so when we practice in the gym the kids see that and everyone said they want to put another one [banner] up.”
Even with Columbia’s season coming to an end last night, there is no disagreement that they had a fantastic year. As a seventh seed in the Section II Class AA tournament, they beat four teams including second seed Bethlehem in route to their seventh sectional title and first since 2012.
Baldwinsville will move onto the state semifinals as they will take on Victor High School out of Section V. That game will be played at Union-Endicott High School on Friday, June 8 at 5 p.m.