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Sunday, June 12, 2016: Fort Plain sends coach out with a championship

   Leading off today: Fort Plain batted around the order three times and defeated West Canada Valley 11-6 for the NYSPHSAA Class D baseball championship Saturday at Broome County Community College.

   In all likelihood, it sent 44th-year coach Craig Phillips out as a winner.

   "This is probably it for me," Phillips told The Times Union after his 744th career victory. "I'm going to go out with a championship. We've got great coaches behind me."

   Fort Plain's previous title came in 2007 in Class C. Phillips downplayed his role in the program's success.

   "I eat doughnuts, yell at kids, make out lineups and deal with parents," Phillips said. "The rest of the guys coach."

   McKay Nare drove in three runs, including two successful squeeze bunts, and Drew Fureno went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored in the final. In the semifinals, the Hilltoppers routed Genesee Valley 11-0 behind a combined two-hitter from Jesse Heroth, Jacob Kennedy and Nare.

   Class AA baseball: Junior Joe Palko's walk-off singled in the seventh inning secured the first New York State Public High School Athletic Association title for Shenendehowa in the form of a 7-6 win over Webster Schroeder.

   Palko, the only underclassman in the Shen lineup for much of the season, lined the first pitch to left-center field to score junior pinch-runner Kyle Douglas and complete a three-run rally.

   "You don't see his name in the papers or anything, but he puts in his work and we have the greatest respect for him because he tries so hard and produces for us," senior first baseman Joe Fraser, who had three hits and two RBIs in the day's two games, told The Gazette. "Like, today: Just another Joe Palko moment, delivering in the clutch for us."

   Shenendehowa had advanced to the final with a 3-0 win against West Islip earlier in the day. Fresh off his selection as the No. 3 overall pick in the MLB draft, Ian Anderson struck out eight while pitching to his twin brother Ben Anderson, who was selected Saturday in the 26th round of the draft.

   In the final, senior John Cady, who had not pitched since May 12, through 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief.

   "We don't win this game without him throwing up zeroes," Ian Anderson said.

   Shenendehowa racked up 17 hits in the championship game. But after scoring three first-inning runs, the Plainsmen did not score again until Palko knocked in Kevin Huerter while hitting into a double play in the sixth.

   Ben Anderson singled in the first run in the seventh and advanced on a Frank Pizzo base hit. After two fly outs, Nick Jacques knocked in the tying run with a single to set the table for Palko's heroics.

   "He's our best little brother," senior Nik Malachowski said. "He's a kid we know we can count on."

   Class A baseball: Jimmy Joyce slugged a 2-0 fastball for a two-out, solo home run in the top of the ninth inning to lift Wantagh to a 6-5 win over Williamsville East for the championship.

   After tossing three straight one-hitters in the playoffs, Bobby Hegarty threw 120 pitches in a complete game. Hegarty allowed five hits and five runs in the first two innings and then just three more hits the rest of the way.

   Joyce threw a one-hitter in Wantagh's 2-1 semifinal win over previously unbeaten Queensbury earlier in the day.

   Class B baseball: Fredonia scored four times in the bottom of the seventh but fell short as Marlboro secured its first state baseball championship with an 8-7 win.

   Nick Mongelli, who threw a four-hitter to beat Solvay 1-0 in the semifinals, came in to get the last two outs with the tying run on third and the winning run on first.

   Class C baseball: North Salem pounded out 21 runs on 20 hits in a pair of wins for its first NYSPHSAA baseball championship. The Tigers blanked Watertown Immaculate Heart Central 10-0 and then downed Avon 11-8.

   Adam Concadoro scored five runs on the day, while Danny Capra went 6-for-7 with four runs scored and three RBIs.


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  •    "We're a special team," North Salem junior J.B. Healy told The Journal News. "We've got a lot of talent on this team. It's a special year."

       Class AA softball: Junior Paige Rauch struck out 14 batters in the semifinals and laced a two-run single in the second inning of the final as Binghamton earned a title.

       The Patriots ran their winning streak to 18 games with a season-ending, 4-1 win vs. Orchard Park.

       This marks Rauch's second state title, her first coming in 2013 with Windsor, where she logged four varsity seasons.

       "She's a great player," coach Joe Mancinelli told the Press & Sun-Bulletin. "She fits in really well. We're glad to have her."

       Class D softball: Freshman right-hander Makenzie Stiles dazzled all day for Deposit, first tossing a perfect game to beat Heuvelton 4-0 and then spinning a two-hitter to top Bradford 13-0 in South Glens Falls.

       "Absolutely unbelievable," first-year coach Dan Briggs said of Stiles, who stuck out 11 batters in each game. "A perfect game in the semifinal game. Then to follow that it -- she gave up two hits I think and about four or five base runners. So in two games she gave up just a few base runners. What an unbelievable performance on the big stage."

       Catcher Megan Faulkner, Deposit's lone senior, blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning to give the Lumberjacks all the offense they would need against Bradford in defense of their 2015 state title.

       "I'm just really relieved because the only thing harder than winning a state title is winning one two years in a row," Faulkner said. "It's hard to come back like that and play just as hard and win 13-0. I'm just really proud of all of us. It's amazing."

       More games Sunday: Three championship games in the NYSPHSAA softball tournament were pushed back to Sunday after Saturday-morning storms held up completion of the semifinals.

       It was the first time since 2003 that title games were moved to Sunday by rain.

       "The weather (forecast) changed all week long, and this thing came through a lot earlier than we thought," state softball chairman Cathy Allen told The Post-Star. "We really thought we could get the first two rounds of semifinals in, but it started at 10. And when it was raining harder around 11:15, we decided why start them now when fields are going down (unplayable)."

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