VESTAL — The “team of destiny,” as head coach Dave Benedetto called it after the Section 9 championship game win over Kingston, rolled on in state tournament play on Monday.
Minisink Valley, which started the season 3-6 and was the No. 7 seed in a seven-team field in the Section 9 playoffs, beat Section 4 champion Union-Endicott in the state Class AA opening round at Binghamton University, 2-1.
John-Michael Guarino threw an 88-pitch, complete game four-hitter…and he also drove in the game-winning run with a fourth-inning single.
Check out the video above for some highlights from the game as well as postgame interviews with Guarino and senior catcher Joe Saetta.
Some bullet points on the game…
- U-E starter Joey Orlando baffled the Minisink hitters through the first two innings, as he recorded four of his first six outs via the strikeout. He had a nasty curveball, but the Minisink hitters were patient and finally found some fastballs to hit in the later innings. Orlando had thrown 116 pitches through six innings and was removed for a reliever at that point.
- Guarino, on the other hand, was a model of efficiency. He threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of the 25 batters he faced. His biggest workload was a 19-pitch third inning. Guarino didn’t throw more than 13 pitches in any other inning. He was also getting strikes called with his curveball, a pitch he didn’t feature as much in his win seven days earlier against Pine Bush in the Section 9 Class AA quarterfinals.
- Josh Walker was 2-for-3 for the Warriors…and he laid down a sacrifice bunt in the seventh to move Chris Davignon to second for the first out. He’s likely to get the start tomorrow against Arlington.
- Speaking of teams of destiny…Arlington was certainly Section 1′s representative in that regard. In the Section 1 final, Arlington scored eight runs in the seventh inning to erase a six-run deficit to beat Fox Lane, 13-11. Arlington (19-5) won the Section 1 title in 2012 as well, but the Admirals ran into Kingston in the opening round of the state playoffs. Kingston won that game, 6-2, en route to a state title.
- It’ll be a tripleheader of playoff baseball tomorrow at Dutchess Stadium. Minisink Valley-Arlington kicks things off at 12 p.m. Rhinebeck and Haldane play a Class C opening round game at 4 p.m. Cornwall and John Jay-Cross River wrap things up with a 7 p.m. Class A quarterfinal game. Coleman Catholic will also be in action, as the Statesmen take on Smithtown Christian at SUNY New Paltz at 4 p.m. in a Class D quarterfinal.
- I’ll be providing play-by-play from the Dutchess Stadium games on Varsity845.com on the Championship Scoreboard. You can also check my Twitter feed for more updates: @THR_Montgomery.