By Mitch Silver
After winning Section 1’s Class B championship over Westlake on the rarest of baseball plays — a catcher’s interference in extra innings — Joe Carlucci’s Rye Neck Baseball team met Section 9 champs Spackenkill June 2, in Saugerties.
Senior Jack Edwards started on the mound for the Panthers and breezed through the bottom of the first inning. His teammates scored three times in the top of the second, when an Evan Janowitz RBI single drove in eighth grader Davey Ryan and junior Elias Murphy hit a sacrifice fly.
But the Spartans’ Andrew Speranza came up with a strong throw to the plate from center field, saving a run, as catcher Nick Ryone applied the tag to end the inning.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning, Spackenkill’s Steven Ciancio ripped a three-run double to send Carter Usher, Anthony Hoyt, and Ryone home to tie the game.
Rye Neck went back up 4-3 in the top of the third when a bases-loaded walk forced junior Jack DiMaggio home with the lead run. But the score didn’t stay that way for long.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Ryone beat a high throw at first before Speranza walked. Xavier Zykoff blooped a two-out, two-run single into left field, scoring Ryone and Speranza for a 5-4 lead.
Nick Ryone would slide in head-first to beat a slow ground ball in the bottom of the fifth. By extending the inning, he helped the Spartans tack on two insurance runs for a 7-4 lead.
Rye Neck got one run back in the top of the sixth inning, but Speranza recorded his 100th strikeout of the season when he struck out DiMaggio to end the inning and the Panthers’ scoring. Senior Sam Dalsimer would close out the game on the mound for the Panthers.
Rye Neck played Coach Carlucci’s brand of small ball, bunting for base hits and building runs. They finished 18-8 on the season, winning their fifth Section title in school history, the first time they’ve ever won championships back-to-back.
After the game, Coach Carlucci said, “I didn’t think a lot of people expected us to get this far. We lost a lot of guys from last year, but these kids believed they could do it from game one. They worked hard and battled every game and never gave up. I’m so proud of them.”