Senior Alex Noga hangs his head as the winning run crosses the plate just before the storm ended play.
Rye High Baseball
Garnets’ Season Ends in Playoff Loss to Nyack, 5-2
By Mitch Silver
When the Rye High baseball team played host to Nyack in the revamped Sectional semifinals Wednesday at Disbrow Field, they might have been looking in the mirror. The second-seeded Garnets came into the game with 18 wins and seven losses; the third-seeded Indians had 17 wins and six losses. Each had already beaten Byram Hills in a nail-biter and lost to top-ranked Lakeland in the double-elimination playoffs. And each was hoping to keep a top pitcher in reserve should they win and face Lakeland’s phenomenal Gatorade New York State Player of the Year, Joey Vetrano, Saturday.
Things were looking good for the Garnets when C.J. Nemsick drove in a pair of first-inning runs. In the home second, Mark Surhoff stroked the first of his two singles, Derek Woods moved him to second, and Declan Lavelle’s groundout put him on third. The chance evaporated when Sean Thompson struck out looking. The players and fans didn’t know it, but that was to be Rye’s highwater mark for the day.
Meanwhile, Jake Ciardiello made quick work of the visitors in the third, getting two groundouts and a liner to Aidan Ahearn in left. But he ran into trouble in the fourth when a huge double to the wall in center was followed by an RBI liner that kicked up chalk along the right field line. After another sharp single, Woods backhanded a low liner at first base and Ciardiello got out of the inning with a hard-hit grounder to Lavelle at short.
The Garnets went down quickly in the fourth, and the Indians were right back at it. Another stinging drive past Lavelle convinced Mike Bruno to make a pitching change. He brought on sophomore Jack Griffiths. The runner stole second on the first pitch. Griffiths’ next serving was slammed to left-center for an RBI double. The reliever closed out the frame with no further damage. Rye 2, Nyack 2.
Even as the weather deteriorated with a storm front moving in, Nyack’s pitcher was getting better: three Garnets up, three out in the bottom of the fifth. And then the sky fell in, both figuratively and literally.
A base on balls and a sharp single past short put two Nyack men on. After a force-out, Nemsick overran a single to right that plated both for a 4-2 lead. Almost immediately, thunder in the distance called a 30-minute mandatory halt to the proceedings. The rain that followed postponed things for 24 hours.
Thursday proved to be anticlimactic, as that runner who was left on second came around to score when play continued. Rye could do nothing with its remaining six outs, and the Nyack Indians left the field with the win. As well as the dubious honor of facing the State’s Pitcher of the Year Saturday in the Class A Finals at North Rockland High.
A year ago, Rye’s 5-4 win over Byram Hills the previous Friday would have been the only one needed to send the garnets into the Finals. Coach Bruno was asked what he thought of the new format. To his credit, he said, “I think it’s an outstanding format. This way, you have to be a complete team; you can’t get by with just one or two great arms.”
The Garnets can take solace in one bit of trivia. After the loss, Rye was ranked 14th in the state. Nyack is 15th.