NEW PARIS - It's not often a baseball game is decided in the first inning. This one was.
North Star scored twice in the top of the first inning then pitcher Brantley Rice worked out of a bases-loaded, no-outs situation in the bottom of the first, and NS went on to a 3-0 win over Bedford in the District 5 Class AA championship game Wednesday at Chestnut Ridge High School.
"Obviously, we're extremely disappointed," Bedford coach Scott Waugerman said after a lengthy postgame discussion with his Bisons.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Bedford’s Marcus Shippey gave up just two earned runs.
"For some reason, we picked the wrong day to press."
Waugerman said the Bisons put extra pressure on themselves at the beginning of the game, both offensively and defensively.
"We told them you can't play the game of baseball pressing," Waugerman said. "I don't want to take anything away from Brantley [Rice] because he threw a good game and did a good job of keeping us off balance."
Rice ripped a one-out double to get the Cougars' offense rolling in the first. After Tony Strasiser walked and Shane Supanick fanned for the second out, Cory Bloom ripped a base hit to right. The ball was missplayed in the outfield and both Rice and Strasiser scored.
"That was a huge hit by Cory Bloom," Rice said later. "He's been our leader in RBIs all season, and he came through big there."
Rice walked the first three batters in the bottom of the first and Bedford had a chance to get even. However, Rice struck out Marcus Shippey and Tyler Black bounced into a double play to end the threat.
"That hasn't been Brantley all year," NS coach Chris Evans said of his pitcher's shaky first-inning. "He just relaxed, got in a zone and started pounding the strike zone like he has all year."
"I was just trying to throw strikes [after walking three]," Rice said. "I tried to turn the tide my way and it ended up working out.
"My teammates pulled out a big double play for me," he said. "I threw a ground ball and they pulled it out. I was thankful for that."
"That was clutch," Evans added. "That was the momentum we needed."
The game was expected to be a pitching duel between Rice and Shippey and it was after the first inning. North Star scored its third run in the fifth when Strasiser doubled and Supanick singled.
Rice, meanwhile, checked Bedford on just two singles until the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, the Bisons made it interesting when Kody Blevins and Luke Campbell singled and Shippey walked to load the bases. However, Rice retired Black on a fly ball to left to end it and give North Star its first D5-AA title since 2009.
NORTH STAR (3): Revak 1b 400, B. Rice p 412, Strasiser cf 321, Supanick 1b 401, C. Bloom lf 301, Mullen dh 301, Maluchnik ss 000, Shrayer 3b 300, D. Rice rf 300, J. Bloom 2b 301. Totals - 30-3-7.
BEDFORD (0): Kline ss 301, Blevins 2b 101, Campbell c 301, Shippey p 301, Shircliffe cr 000, Black 1b 400, Henry 3b 200, Hickey rf 300, Deasey lf 300, Himler cf 300. Totals - 25-0-4.
SCORE BY INNINGS
North Star200 010 0-3 7 1
Bedford000 000 0-0 4 4
E-Shrayer, Kline, Campbell, Henry, Hickey. 2B-B. Rice. RBI-Supanick, C. Bloom. LOB -0 North Star 7, Bedford 11. DP-North Star. PB-Campbell. WP-Shippey 2.
North Star IP H R ER SO BB
B. Rice (W)7 4 0 0 7 7
BedfordIP H R ER SO BB
Shippey (L)7 7 3 2 10 1
Records: North Star (16-4); Bedford (14-6).