HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Kennedy, bottom of Troy’s lineup, carry Flying Horses to Section 2 Class A baseball crown

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Kennedy, bottom of Troy's lineup, carry Flying Horses to Section 2 Class A baseball crown

Mike Kennedy, Troy’s LSU-bound southpaw, made one mistake in the top of the first inning. After that, he wasn’t going to make another.

“Once we got that second run, I told them it was over,” Kennedy said. “We had our game-plan after the first mistake and we weren’t letting it happen again.”

Kennedy was just a bit better than Burnt Hills’ Kyle DeCresce, in the pitchers’ duel that decided the Section 2, Class A championship. Troy took home the honors in a 2-1 final.

That mistake was in the bottom of the first inning, to none-other than DeCresce, who got himself a lead with a solo home run to left field.

“Mike is one of the best pitchers that I’ve ever been able to witness,” said Troy’s Head Coach, Chris Stack. “I said to one of our assistant coaches, I think that home run was the best thing that happened to us today, because [it shows that] he’s human and we had to go out there and back him up.”

The bottom of Troy’s batting order did just that. In the top of the third, the Flying Horses seven-hitter, Christian Brown hit a ball over the scoreboard in left field, tying the game, 1-1.

Then, neither team scored until the top of the seventh, in a game that provided solid pitching and strong defense from both teams.

“They’re an unbelievably good team. We lost a close one to them during the regular season on a walk-off hit,” Stack said of Burnt Hills. “It went our way today, but both pitchers went out and threw strikes and kept guys off balance. It was a great baseball game to watch.”

As the game progressed, DeCresce began incorporating a quick-pitch, to Troy hitters in an attempt to keep them off balance. Kennedy took notice.

“I’ve done it in our inter-squads, just joking around with the guys. I mix it in here and there,” Kennedy said of his own quick-pitch. “I mix in a slow-down windup too, but we’re out here competing and that fact that he did it, I’ll do it too. We’re just having fun, playing a game.”

Overall, Kennedy went the complete seven innings, striking out 10 in the final victory of his high school career, allowing one run on three hits. DeCresce also threw seven innings in the loss, allowing two runs and four hits, while striking out six.

In the top of the seventh inning, six-hole hitter Kenile Jenkins led off and was hit by the pitch, getting Troy a baserunner. Brown would then go down on strikes and Eric Balogh would ground out to first, advancing Jenkins to second.

With two outs, that brought up number nine-hitter, Nick DeGiorgio – the man who would be the hero.

“I felt something was coming, I saw my pitch and I drove it,” DeGiorgio said. “I know I’m going to get something to hit because they don’t want to see the top of the order.”

He dunked a two-out, two-strike single down the line in left field, as Jenkins came around to score the go-ahead run.

“Nick struggled a little bit in the beginning of the year, he’s a junior getting used to the varsity pitching, but he’s been swinging the bat really well,” Stack said on DeGiorgio’s progression this season. “He’s fundamentally sound and he doesn’t try to do too much and that’s what you have to do with two strikes.”

That run is all Kennedy would need to close the door on the Spartans hopes at the Class A title.

In the bottom of the seventh, Burnt Hills had their four-five-six hitters due up. After getting Nate Deluke to ground out to short, Noah DiCaprio hit a hard chopper at third-baseman Danny Rogers, who knocked it down, stuck with it and got the second out of the inning at first.

Kennedy got John Wells to go down swinging, clinching the championship.

“It’s an unbelievable group of who who fight for each other and play with a chip on their shoulder,” Stack said. “They go out and give it everything they got, every single day.”

Of Burnt Hills’ three hits off Kennedy, DeCresce had two of them – a homer and a single. Kyle Kristel singled for the other.

“It was a great-pitched game on both sides and it was tight. They know us, we know them, a ball off the hands falls in and that’s what happens. That’s the game of baseball. That’s why we love it,” said Burnt Hills Head Coach, Josh Hadcock. “Our guys just come to work every single day. They work hard, they love each other and they work together. To see them gel as young men, that’s what I like to see.”

Troy had four hits off DeCresce, all coming from the bottom three hitters in their lineup. Brown was 2-for-3, with the game-tying home run. Eric Balogh was 1-for-2 and DeGiorgio was 1-for-2 with the go-ahead single.

“Two of our seniors were on the varsity team four years ago when we were 3-15,” Stack said of Rogers and Brown, who were on the varsity team in 2018. “The year after that we won five or six games in the league and after that, they changed the culture of the program. It wasn’t anything that I did different or a different message. It was their attitude and their desire to be the best.”

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School

Burnt Hills, NY

TROY 0-0-1-0-0-0-1 — 2-4-0

BURNT HILLS 1-0-0-0-0-0-0 — 1-3-0

WP: Michael Kennedy; LP: Kyle DeCresce

HR: Kyle DeCresce (BHBL); Christian Brown (Troy)

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