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Sayville's baseball playoff run comes to an end in state semifinal

Sayville's Brock Murtha reacts in the sixth inning

Sayville's Brock Murtha reacts in the sixth inning during a state Class A baseball semifinal against Ballston Spa in Endicott, N.Y., on Friday, June 14, 2019. Credit: Thomas La Barbera

ENDICOTT, N.Y. — The past week was a great one for the Sayville baseball team. After winning its first Suffolk County title, it got to bask in Brock Murtha’s no-hitter against Clarke in the Long Island championship game, replete with video of the wild celebration that went viral nationally.

But Ballston Spa brought that week to a resounding end on Friday night in a state Class A semifinal.

The Section II champion Scotties dominated on the mound and in the batter’s box in a 10-0 run-ruled victory over Sayville at Union-Endicott High School’s Sylvester Park.

Ballston Spa (23-2) got a two-hitter from George Mason-bound righthander Jake Manderson and a pair of two-run home runs by Boston College-bound Luke Gold.

Gold’s second shot came right before Manderson hit a solo shot in a six-run sixth inning that ended the game.

There is no 10-run rule in Suffolk County, and the Golden Flashes (21-7-1) appeared a little stunned to see the Scotties lining up for handshakes at the plate after Manderson crossed it.

“I don’t really know what there is to say,” Sayville coach Joe Esposito said. “That’s one of the best high school baseball teams I’ve ever seen. It might be the best I’ve ever seen. Gold showed why so many people think he is the best player in the state.”

“I can’t ever remember seeing a team that good, with a lineup so deep,” said Murtha, who allowed seven earned runs in 5 1⁄3 innings. “I hope they go on to win the whole thing. They were very impressive.”

Ballston Spa will meet Maine-Endwell in the title game Saturday at Binghamton University. Maine-Endwell (15-4) beat Canandaigua Academy, 5-4, in the other semifinal. The Scotties will be going for their first state title.

“This is pretty much the opposite feeling from the end of our last game, but it wasn’t really in doubt,” said shortstop Jack Davis, who had one of Sayville’s two hits. “There was not much we could do to stop them.”

Scotties leadoff hitter Evan Fox greeted Murtha with a single to leftfield to start the bottom of the first and Gold followed with a monster homer well over the 410-foot sign on the centerfield wall. Ballston Spa upped its lead to 4-0 in the third when Donovan Rhoden doubled in a run and scored on a wild pitch.

Murtha led off the fourth with the Golden Flashes’ first hit and got into scoring position, but Manderson struck out the side to quell the threat. He struck out seven, allowed two walks and benefited from a pair of nifty double plays.

“This is a tough way to go out, but I am very proud of what this team did,” Esposito said. “This was a group that found a way to come together, win some tough games and capture a Long Island championship. They can walk out of here with their heads held high.’’

Said Davis, “Obviously, this isn’t the ending that anyone wants, but I don’t think any of us will look back on this season and feel it was [tarnished] by losing to a team this good in the state tournament. For Sayville, it was a historic season, and I know that’s how it will be remembered.”


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