CANTON The Ogdensburg Free Academy baseball team didnt let Seth Pinkerton go it alone against Potsdam in the Section 10 Class B championship game on Friday.
A couple of times I started to feel the nerves kicking in but the guys kept telling me it was OK, that they had my back. They just kept making big plays when we needed them the most, said Pinkerton after going the distance to earn the decision as the Blue Devils defeated the Sandstoners 5-3 at St. Lawrence Universitys Tom Fay Field.
Nearly flawless defense helped OFA overcome the 11 walks, three hit batters and four wild pitches that Pinkerton recorded over the course of the game as the Blue Devils turned two key double plays and kept Potsdam from closing the gap to one on an inning-ending play at the plate in the sixth.
Seth struggled with his control a little at times but our defense came through with huge plays, said coach Tom Pinkerton. We just had a lot of guys who came up big today. Im just very proud of all our kids.
By reversing a pair of regular season losses to the Sandstoners, OFA improved to 8-5 and earned a second straight trip to the state playoffs, which get under way next Friday. The Blue Devils face Section 7 champion Saranac Central at 4:30 p.m. at SLU.
Offensively, the top of the lineup rose to the occasion early for the Blue Devils. Peyton Lalonde provided an immediate spark when he turned a shallow line drive to left field into a lead-off double. Jon Tayler then reached on a fielders choice and Pinkerton loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch. Kinnon LaRose, who has missed several games this spring due to basketball commitments, then stepped up and deposited a one-strike offering over the fence in left field for a grand slam.
High and inside is my favorite spot and thats where the pitch was. I just turned on it, LaRose said.
Lalone helped the Blue Devils push their lead to 5-0 in the second inning, starting when he once again stretched a short line drive to left field into a double, this time with two outs. Dakota Brady followed by singling him home.
Peyton really set the tone for us, said coach Pinkerton. Both times, he went flying around first base and turned what should have been singles into doubles. Those plays gave us huge momentum.
After stranding four baserunners through the first two innings, the Sandstoners broke through for their first run in the third. Jacob Keleher led off with the first Potsdam hit. He moved to second on a wild pitch then scored after back-to-back groundouts.
The Sandstoners threatened to cut the deficit in each of their next two at-bats but they were thwarted both times by inning-ending double plays.
OFA came ready to play. They got those four runs and that put us in a big hole early, said Sandstoners coach Chris Donah after his squad ended the season at 13-3.
We just had too many missed opportunities. You cant have as many chances as we had and not get the runs and expect to win too many games, he added. Our kids kept fighting and they showed a lot of fire.