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Dramatic Finish

Canajoharie claims Class C title with three runs in bottom of the seventh

The Canajoharie baseball team raises the Section II Class C championship plaque after the Cougars defeated Lake George, 7-6, in the title game Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

CANAJOHARIE — The final game of the Section II baseball season was a memorable one.

After getting rained out Tuesday, Lake George and Canajoharie met Wednesday in the Section II Class C championship game at Canajoharie High School.

The second-seeded Cougars scored three times in the bottom of the seventh to eke out a 7-6 victory over the ninth-seeded Warriors.

It marked the third come-from-behind win in four sectional games for Canajoharie, which rallied for a 10-9 win over Schoharie in the first round and posted a 5-3 comeback win over Galway in the semifinals. The Cougars also posted a 2-0 win over Hoosic Valley in the quarterfinal round.

“We kept it exciting all year. It’s Canjo grit. It’s never say die,” first-year Canajoharie coach Joe Brown said. “It’s been our motto all year. This team has the most grit I’ve ever seen. They don’t know how to quit.”

Canajoharie's Richie Tamsett, right, and Riley Montanye celebrate after Tamsett scored the game-winning run on a grounder by Montanye in the Section II Class C championship game against Lake George on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Cougars trailed for most of Wednesday’s game and faced a 6-4 deficit heading into their final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh.

Despite the daunting task ahead, Brown said he not only thought his team could comeback, but expected them to.

“It was just a matter of when is the spark going to happen,” he said. “It just happened to be in the last inning when we needed it today.”

The rally began when Keegan Meyers reached on an error that saw Lake George first baseman Matt Syvertsen field a high throw and come down on Meyers, who was ruled safe on the play.

“It’s hard, but games don’t come down to just one play,” Lake George coach Tim Kissane said. “Yes, that play was big at the time, but there were several others along the way that made a difference as well.”

Canajoharie's Chance Petteys, right, corrals the throw as Lake George's Matt Syvertsen dives into second base during the Section II Class C championship game Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

Meyers then stole second and advanced to third on a grounded out by L.A. Fairley. Meyers then scored on a single to left by Chance Petteys that made it 6-5. Richie Tamsett was hit by a pitch to put two runners on and Jack Montanye reached on a walk to load the bases.

“It came down to who wants it more,” Brown said. “I knew we had a chance if we could get some runners on. We did and they did the job.”

Zach Suits then drew a walk that plated Petteys to tie the game at 6-6 with one out and Riley Montanye coming to the plate. As he has done throughout the postseason, Riley Montanye delivered again for the Cougars, grounding a ball to Lake George shortstop Cole Clarke, whose throw home was wide and pulled catcher Brody McCabe off the plate which allowed Tamsett to score the game-winning run.

“I looked at Richie and said, ‘He’s gonna put it in play, you’ve got to be ready,'” Canajoharie coach Joe Brown said. “And then, literally the next pitch, Richie takes off down the baseline — pow, (Montanye) puts it in play. There’s the throw and there’s the winner.”

Things got off to a rough start for Canajoharie on Wednesday, as Brendan Lamby and Clarke opened the game with back-to-back doubles for the Warriors, who took a quick 2-0 lead.

Canajoharie's Richie Tamsett celebrates after scoring the game-winning run in the Section II Class C championship game against Lake George. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

After a tough first inning, Tamsett settled in on the mound for the Cougars, allowing just five hits over five innings, walking four and striking out six.

Canajoharie got one run back in the bottom of the third when Fairley, who doubled left with two outs scored on a single by Tamsett to make it 2-1.

Lake George answered with a run of its own in the top of the fourth when McCabe belted a solo home run to left to make it 3-1.

“Lake George is an outstanding team and they don’t have any quit in them either,” Brown said. “It was just a great game and a great battle.”

The see-saw contest continued in the bottom of the fourth when Canajoharie scored three times to take its first lead.

The Canajoharie infield huddles during Wednesday's Section II Class C championship game against Lake George. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

Suits led off the inning with a single and Riley Montanye drew a four-pitch walk that ended the day of Lake George starter Luke Sheldon, who allowed six hits, struck out four and walked three in three innings.

Lamby came on with two runners on and got an out when Riley Montanye was forced out at second when Tyler Montanye reached on a fielder’s choice. Lamby then hit Tommy Weingart with a pitch, loading the bases for Meyers, who delivered a two-run double to right to tie the game. Meyers was thrown out at third for the second out, but Weingart was able to score on an error to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.

The Warriors promptly erased Canajoharie’s advantage in the top of the five when Torin Davies crushed a two-run home run to deep center field to make it 5-4.

Jack Montanye came on in relief of Tamsett in the sixth, allowing one hit, walking three and striking out one over the last two innings.

Lake George added what it hoped would be an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Syvertsen scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a walk, stealing second and reaching third on a wild pitch to make it 6-4.

Canajoharie's Richie Tamsett throws to the plate during the Section II Class C championship game against Lake George on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

“I thought that insurance run in the top of the seventh was going to help us out,” Kissane said.

However, thanks to a three-run rally in the bottom of the inning by Canajoharie, it wasn’t meant to be for Lake George.

“It was an exciting game,” Kissane said. “It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but both teams battled the whole way and gave it all they had.”

It was a battle that took place on the Cougars’ home field due to sectional games being played at the higher-seeded team, a unique scenario unlikely to happen again in the future.

“This isn’t going to happen again any time soon,” Brown said. “To have the championship game on your home field is just such an advantage to have. We were able to take advantage of it.”

Though his team’s effort was remarkable, the first-year Canajoharie coach also credited the Warriors for their performance and postseason run from the No. 9 seed.

“Lake George is an outstanding team and they don’t have any quit in them either,” Brown said. “It was just a great game and a great battle.”

It was the first sectional title for Canajoharie since it won the Class CC crown in 2010. The Cougars ended the season with seven straight wins after they dropped a 14-12, 10-inning decision to Fort Plain on June 1.

“I can’t say enough about the parents we have and the support they give us,” Brown said. “It’s such a great atmosphere. To have it all come together and pull it out is amazing.”

With the New York State Public High School Athletic Association canceling the state tournaments this academic year due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, the Cougars wrap-up their season with a 15-1 record, while Lake George finished with an 12-5 mark.

“It was nice to have an opportunity to play sectionals this year after not having them last year,” Kissane said.

Canajoharie 7, Lake George 6

Lake George 200 120 1 — 6 6 6

Canajoharie 001 300 3 — 7 8 4

Sheldon, Lamby (4) and McCabe; Tamsett, J. Montanye (6) and R. Montanye.

Canajoharie's Zach Suits (3) slides into third as Lake George's Cam Orr applies the tag during Wednesday's Section II Class C championship game. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

Canajoharie's Zach Suits, left, awaits the throw as Chance Petteys, center, backs up the play as Lake George's Brendan Lamby attempts to steal second during Wednesday's Section II Class C championship game. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

The Canajoharie baseball team poses with its sectional championship plaque and patches after winning the Section II Class C title with a 7-6 victory over Lake George on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

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