ENDWELL — Cooperstown baseball coach Frank Miosek has coached a lot of talented teams in his 29 years at the helm, including 2017’s state semifinalists, but Friday, as the Hawkeyes defeated Pierson, 5-2, in the Class C semifinals at Maine-Endwell High School, the 2019 team became the first in school history to ever earn a trip to the state title game.
“It’s unbelievable, I’m at a loss for words,” Cooperstown senior Eric Deysenroth said. “I’m so proud of this team. I was on the team two years ago, and I never thought we’d get back to where we are today. Knowing we’re the best baseball team in school history is amazing.”
Starting pitcher Kendall Haney found himself in trouble in the first inning, as the Hawkeyes fell behind, 2-0.
Haney responded by retiring seven straight batters from the end of the first to the third, but was relieved by Deysenroth after 2 2/3 innings of work and 39 pitches.
Miosek said he came into Friday with the intention of keeping Haney under 40 pitches.
According to NYSPHSAAA rules, a pitcher requires one night of rest if they throw fewer than 40 pitches in a postseason game, meaning Haney will be available for tomorrow’s title game against Ticonderoga.
“We knew Deysenroth could do the job, because he’s a contrast to Haney and (Chris) Ubner,” Miosek said. “He’s slow, methodical, big and hides the ball.”
Deysenroth threw 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball for Cooperstown, striking out three and allowing five hits.
“I knew we had to keep Kendall low (on pitches), and I knew that I was going to have to come in, I just didn’t know when,” Deysenroth said. “I have great defense behind me so I wasn’t afraid to pitch to them. I just tried to hit my spots and the defense did the rest.”
Trialing 2-0 in the top of the second, Cooperstown responded with three runs in the inning.
Alex Hascup led off with a double and was followed by a Jesse Furnari single. Hascup scored on an error on an attempted snap throw over to first by Pierson catcher Tucker Schiavoni.
A walk to Alex Hage and a single by Jackson Martz loaded the bases. After an out, Haney brought two across the plate to give the Hawkeyes the lead.
Pierson starting pitcher Matt Hall, fresh off his complete-game win in the quarterfinals, lasted seven innings in the loss, allowing 11 hits and walking one.
“He threw a lot of curveballs and off-speed stuff, so we knew we had to stay back and drive the ball to right field,” Haney said.
Cooperstown held on to its one-run lead until the fifth, when Sam Bonderoff hit a sacrifice fly that scored Ubner and made it 4-2.
Ubner, a sophomore, finished 4-for-4 and scored two runs.
A Bonderoff single in the seventh brought home the final run.
“This is the kind of game where there’s ups and downs,” Miosek said. “We knew they (Pierson) could play baseball, even though their record (5-12) didn’t indicate it because they played bigger schools.”
“We were able to do enough to get the runs as a team," he continued. "You know, nobody hit a home run today. Nobody hit a triple. We just did little things that got the job done.”
After Deysenroth allowed a leadoff double in the seventh, Ubner came on to pitch. He got the first two outs before walking Hall and bringing the tying run to the plate, but a ground ball to third baseman Ryan Lansing during the next at-bat clinched the win for Cooperstown and its first trip to the state title game.
“This has meant the fulfilment of their dreams, my dreams, the communities dreams,” Miosek said. “You know, everybody dreams about going to states.”
The Hawkeyes (20-4) got to Maine-Endwell early to watch some of the Friday’s other semifinal between Ticonderoga and Gananda. Ticonderoga (18-2) won, 3-1, to book its second straight trip to the state title game. The Sentinels lost, 6-5, in extra innings to Avon in last year's final.
“We know a little about them, we think they threw their ace pitcher today but they’ve got another one,” Miosek said. “They look bigger than us but it’s like every other team, you just got to take one step at a time.”
Miosek said he expects Ubner to start Saturday, but will have Haney ready if needed. Opening pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Binghamton University.
Cooperstown 5, Pierson 2
Cooperstown ….. 030 010 1 – 5 11 0
Pierson ….. 200 000 0 – 2 8 2
Kendall Haney (W), Eric Deysenroth (3), Chris Ubner (S, 7) and Sam Bonderoff. Matt Hall (L) and Tucker Schiavoni.
2B: Alex Hascup (C), Tucker Schiavoni (P).
3B: Cooper Schiavoni (P).