When the Cooperstown baseball team takes the field Saturday at NYSEG Stadium for the Class C state quarterfinals, the Hawkeyes will be looking for their second state semifinal trip in the last three years.
Standing in their way will be Section IV champion Tioga, and perhaps more importantly, its ace Pierce Hendershot.
“We know they have a very good pitcher,” Cooperstown head coach Frank Miosek said. “He (Hendershot) is a right-hander and throws a good slider and a fastball and in the upper 80s. I think 70 percent of (his) pitches are strikes.”
Hendershot, a senior and St. Bonaventure commit, is fresh off a stellar performance in the Section IV title game. He struck out nine, allowing three hits and one run to lead his team to a 3-1 win over defending state champion Deposit-Hancock.
Cooperstown (18-4) is coming off a win over Oriskany in the Section III Class C title game, a game in which it lost a 1-0 lead in the seventh, only to came back and get the win thanks to a RBI single from Kendall Haney in the eighth inning.
Miosek said if his team is going to get to Hendershot and advance, it’s going to need to treat it just like any other game and support one another through the ups and downs to come.
“This team is a mix of young guys and a few veterans,” Miosek said. “Throughout the year they’ve never gotten down on one another and always shown support. If they can do that and go out there and be relaxed I think we’ll play a good game.”
Getting the start on the mound for Cooperstown will be sophomore Chris Ubner. Ubner pitched 6 2/3 innings in the section title game, striking out seven and walking four.
Miosek said he doesn’t know much about the Tioga offense and what to expect, but he knows they’ve played some small ball throughout the post season.
“We know they’ve used the squeeze bunt a bunch of times, so we’ll be ready for that,” Cooperstown coach Frank Miosek said. “Most teams have started to use small ball, when it gets this late in the season you have to score any way you can.”
First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday at NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton. The winner of Saturday’s game will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between Section XI champ Pierson and Section I champion Tuckahoe. The Class C semifinal is scheduled for June 14 at 5 p.m. at Maine-Endwell High School.