By PATRICK WALSH
BATAVIA, N.Y. — Micah Schwaderer does not let anything faze him.
After two North Collins Eagles reached base in the top of the seventh, Schwaderer induced two pop-outs, then forced a groundout after a walk to load the bases, sending Northstar Christian to the NYS semifinals for the first time since 2004 with a 3-1 win over North Collins in Class D Far West Regional action from Dwyer Stadium on Saturday.
“Micah (Schwaderer), about halfway through the year, we realized he was not affected by pressure situations,” Northstar Christian head coach Dave Valle said. “We brought him in during a close game with Alexander and he pitched unbelievable and so we have a ton of trust in Micah and so does the whole team.”
Schwaderer, who retired the first five batters he faced, came on in relief for Dom Kurmis. Kurmis, the Class D2 Player of the Year, hurled 4.1 innings, allowing one run on five hits and striking out four.
“He’s (Kurmis) our guy,” Valle said. “He’s our spark and the team really follows him. He’s been on varsity since he was in seventh grade so he knows exactly what we are looking for and the style of play we like to have.”
Kurmis, at the dish, put the Knights on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Then, Parker Seeley roped a single to drive in Da’Vonn Stephens, giving Northstar its first lead of the day.
“We felt like it was a matter of time,” Valle said. “We’ve only been shut out once this year and we felt like we were putting the ball in play just not barreling it as much as we would like to.”
North Collins gave the ball to right-hander Derek Ebersole, who went six innings, allowing three runs on four hits and fanning four. After the first, Ebersole had retired nine of the last 12 heading into the fifth.
“We just knew if we could put good at-bats together and get some small things, like the bunts we put down at the end of the game, that we would eventually score at least one to tie it up,” Valle said. “Obviously when we got two we felt really good about ourselves.”
With the win, the Knights advance to the NYS Class D semifinals for the first time since 2004, a year that saw Northstar Christian capture the state championship.
“The first year I took over, five years ago, we had 10 varsity guys, no JV and two of the 10 were seventh graders,” said Valle. “We were really bad the first two years and I cannot speak enough about how the guys bought into the program and to see them being rewarded for all of their work and offseason lifting, its incredibly rewarding.”
Andrew Mitchell walked, then scored on a wild pitch to give the Knights their third run of the game. Seeley finished 2-for-3 to lead Northstar Christian in the hit column. Stephens tallied the fourth hit. Schwaderer scored on the Kurmis sacrifice fly.
Northstar Christian advances to face Parishville-Hopkinton (X) in the NYS Class D semifinal next Friday.