Margaretville junior Colby Russo closed things out on the baseball diamond and on the stage Tuesday night.
Second baseman Russo hit an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning, got the final out on a sliding play near the bag with bases full in the bottom of the seventh and sang the final solo in a school concert to finish his evening.
His baseball exploits helped the 14th-seeded Blue Devils to a 3-1 upset of Milford in a Section Four Class D first-round game at third-seeded Milford.
Russo and teammate Danny Russo were working on a strict deadline Tuesday. Both were involved in the concert, so Margaretville coach John Bernhardt drove his car to the game and said he was leaving with both singers for Margaretville at 6:15 p.m., regardless of where the game stood.
“The game ended just before 6 p.m. and we got to the concert,” Bernhardt said. “I went to the concert and Colby did a great job on the solo.”
The Blue Devils (8-7) took a 2-1 lead into the seventh.
Cooper Reither opened the inning by reaching on an error. He stole second, went to third on Conroy’s groundout and scored as Russo hit a two-out single to left on an 0-2 count.
Milford (11-4) threatened in the bottom of the seventh.
Blake Elliott drew a one-out walk off winning pitcher Kyle Short. Jacob Taylor then reached on an infield error. Max Lang followed with a single to shallow right to load the bases with one out.
Short retired Stephen Banks on a popout to catcher Reither.
William Ward then hit a grounder up the middle. Russo ranged to his right, made a sliding catch and stepped on second for the forceout to end it.
“It was his day,” Bernhardt said of Russo.
Short had a big day of his own. He threw a three-hitter that included one strikeout and one walk.
Bernhardt said Short normally features his curveball but relied on his fastball Tuesday. It led 14 to groundball outs.
“When Kyle pitches, we’re not a 14 seed,” Bernhardt said. “We’re 6-2 in games he’s started.”
With the score tied at 1 in the fourth, Short doubled to lead off. He went to third on a wild pitch by losing pitcher Kevin Musser and scored on Mitch Hull’s groundout to make it 2-1.
Musser’s two-hitter included five strikeouts and two walks.
Eric Mathiesen produced Margaretville’s first run in the first inning. He walked, stole second, went to third on Short’s groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Milford tied the score in the second, when Margaretville made two errors.
Margaretville will travel to sixth-seeded Edmeston today or Friday for a quarterfinal. Bernhardt said several members of his team qualified for sectional tournament in golf, which will be held today. He said he thought the game would be moved to Friday.
SECTION FOUR CLASS D
Margaretville 3, Milford 1
14-Margaretville 100 100 1 _ 3 2 4
3-Milford 010 000 0 _ 1 3 1
Kyle Short (W) and Cooper Reither. Kevin Musser (L) and Blake Elliott. 2B: Kyle Short (Marg).