BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Jacob Stuckelman doubled down the leftfield line in the bottom of the 10th inning as New Castle Byram Hills ended Division's season with a 4-3 walk-off victory in the Class A state baseball semifinals Saturday.
Stuckelman drilled the shot off reliever Anthony Papa, who had hit a batter to set up the winning run.
"You can't do that,'' Papa said. "Then they got the hit when they needed the hit.''
Byram Hills starter Frankie Vesuvio had a no-hitter through five innings before Joe Piscitelli doubled down the leftfield line with one out in the sixth. James Varela's two-run single cut the Blue Dragons' deficit to 3-2, and Ronmel Ocampo's two-out RBI single scored Varela to tie it.
Varela, who spotted Byram Hills a 3-0 lead early on, was happy he could help out his own cause. The righthander said he fell behind because he was leaving the ball up with his fastball and knuckle-drop.
"I watched the ball get deep in the zone and then I was lucky enough to see that hard-hit ground ball get through,'' said Varela, who pitched nine innings, allowing two earned runs and nine hits, striking out 10 and walking one. "It was a good way to get back at them.''
"We were putting the ball in play and got the runs when we really needed them,'' Division first baseman Mike Ambrosio said. "But the bottom line is you have to give credit to them. They made their pitches count when they needed to and got one more big hit than us. Case closed.''
The Blue Dragons had an opportunity to score the go-ahead run in the 10th. Piscitelli's infield single loaded the bases with one out, but winning pitcher Matt Gertz retired Varela and Papa to end the threat.
Division coach Tom Tuttle asked Varela to put down a suicide squeeze, but Varela fouled out and Papa popped out in the infield.
"I didn't get the hit,'' Papa said. "I got to put the ball in play there. I made it too easy for them. It just can't happen.''
"Two pop up . . . we tried to get the squeeze down. It just didn't work in our favor,'' Tuttle said. "That's baseball. When you don't capitalize on that, it comes back to hurt you. It's a shame because we battled back.''
Division finished with a 26-5 record.