CANTON — Heuvelton used one of the best postseason hitting tears in school history to reach Saturday’s Class D state quarterfinal baseball game against Lake Placid, and to preserve a lead heading into the sixth inning at St. Lawrence University.
But the only player not to get a hit in sectional or regional play, right fielder Joe McDonnell, made the play to seal the 4-3 win and vault the Bulldogs into Saturday’s state final four at Broome Community College.
McDonnell made a running, juggling catch on a looping flyball by Lake Placid’s Ryan Damp with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning with runners on second and third base.
“I was a little scared and I didn’t know if Joey was going to get to the ball. But he is a very good athlete and he is very fast,” Heuvelton center fielder Dylan Liscum said.
McDonnell relayed the ball into the infield as the Blue Bombers’ Dan Moore raced home with the apparent tying run.
Catcher Jordan Macaulay asked Heuvelton coach Dave Steele to appeal at third base and the runner was called out for not tagging up on the play.
A quick conference by the umpires confirmed the call and the Bulldogs celebrated their program’s first final four trip since 2006.
“I just thought the runner got to the plate awfully fast so I figured it was worth a try,” Macaulay said.
As far as McDonnell was concerned, he had to make the play to make up for a mistake he made earlier that helped Lake Placid score.
“I had to make that play to pick myself up and help my teammates win. I got to the ball but I couldn’t catch it so I flipped it up in the air into my glove,” said McDonnell, the flex player in the ninth spot of the Heuvelton lineup where designated hitter Ben Jacobs hits for him.
Eight players hit safely for Heuvelton, which tallied 11 hits. Dylan Liscum led the way with three singles, Mike Martin singled and doubled, and winning pitcher Jack Palmer singled twice and scored twice.
Palmer, who picked up in the win the Section 10 championship game, pitched five scoreless innings but issued two walks in the sixth and was relieved by Mike Martin.
“This is just a special group. There is no selfishness and everything is all about the team,” Steele said.
AVERILL PARK 16, MASSENA 1
Senior Alex Tomlinson pitched a complete game four-hitter for the Warriors to help the Section 2 champions beat the Red Raiders in the Class A quarterfinals at The College of Saint Rose in Albany.
Senior Ben Reinisch drove in three runs on three singles, and Chris Amadon hit a bases-clearing double to highlight am eight-run third inning for Averill Park (15-11), which advanced to states after winning the Section 2 playoffs as the eighth seed.
Massena, which is ranked 10th in the state, ended its season at 14-4.
SCHALMONT 11, OFA 2
Southpaw Greg Musk limited the Blue Devils to three hits to lift the Sabres to victory in the state Class B quarterfinals at St. Lawrence University.
Schalmont (24-1) rallied with four runs in the sixth inning to erase a 2-1 deficit and then added six in the seventh to seal it.
Musk struck out 12 and was perfect through four innings. The senior entered the game with a 7-0 record and 0.29 earned-run average.
The Blue Devils took a brief 2-1 lead in the fifth inning after a suicide bunt by John Rogers and a Schalmont throwing error.
OFA’s Kinnon LaRose held Schalmont to four hits and an unearned run through five innings.
LaRose doubled, while Eric Pinkerton and Jared Barr each singled for OFA (11-5).
HOOSIC VALLEY 2, BRUSHTON-MOIRA 0
The fourth-ranked Indians scored four runs in the fourth inning, and used a solid pitching effort from J.T. Sawyer to defeat the fifth-ranked Panthers in the Class C state quarterfinals at Amsterdam.
Sawyer threw six shutout innings for Hoosic Valley, which will play Seton Catholic in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday in Binghamton.
Alex Carlo provided the first blow in the fourth with a two-out RBI double for the Indians (20-3).
Conway Gillespie, John Lucas and Matt Espey followed with run-scoring singles.
Brushton-Moira ended its season at 15-2.
MECHANICVILLE 10, OFA 0
Kirsten Alonzo struck out 11 in a five-hit shutout to lift the fifth-ranked Red Raiders to the state Class B quarterfinal victory at SUNY Potsdam.
Erin Maloney, Jamie Frosell and Kaile Kenyon provided two hits apiece to lead Mechanicville (20-5), which will play Thomas Edison of Elmira in the state semifinals Saturday at Glens Falls.
Losing pitcher Jenny Dalton allowed 12 hits, and the Blue Devils defense committed 12 errors, finishing the season at 10-7.
GREENWICH 2, ST. LAWRENCE 0
Freshman Rachel Hall pitched a no-hitter as Section 2’s Greenwich beat the Section 10 champion Larries in a Class C state quarterfinal at Malta, earning a trip to the state final four for the fourth straight year.
Hall struck out eight and walked three.
Greenwich (16-9) scored a run in the third inning when Ali Beck scored on Gabbie VanDeWater’s sacrifice bunt. The Witches added a run in the sixth when Sam Whitehouse doubled and eventually scored on Kali Nolan’s groundout.
St. Lawrence moved to 20-1.