Matt Rogers for MHTS
NEW HARTFORD- Ranked No. 1 in New York State in Class ‘A’, the New Hartford Spartan baseball team had looked like anything but the top team in their past two games, both losses, after the team had jumped out to an 11-0 start.
But today, led by the return of a four-year starter, and the arrival of a junior varsity call-up, New Hartford got back to its winning ways.
Sophomore Noah German made his varsity debut by pitching 5 2-3 strong innings, and Senior catcher Connor Manderson smacked two key RBI singles in his return from a four game absence to lead New Hartford to a 10-4 Tri Valley League win over Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon at Joe Corr Memorial Field at New Hartford High School.
Despite the game being played at New Hartford, Notre Dame served as the home team, as the game was originally scheduled to be played at Notre Dame.
“After the stretch we’ve had, to come back and win 10-4 is big,” Manderson said. “Our bats haven’t been going too much.”
It didn’t start out so well for the Spartans. After shutting out New Hartford in the top of the first, Notre Dame got to German early.
A pair of walks, a couple of base hits, and an error by German helped the Jugglers jump out to a 3-0 lead.
“I was extremely nervous at the beginning,” German said. “A lot was going through my mind. My legs were shaking pretty good.”
The Spartans countered with a run in the top of the second to trim the deficit, and in the third inning, they took the lead that they would never give up.
After second baseman Steve Tomaino led off the inning with a bloop single and Mark Chanatry was hit by a pitch, Manderson cut the lead to one as he ripped a single to left field.
“It was good to get back on track and hit the ball,” New Hartford head coach John Randall said. “Some kids who haven’t been hitting the ball lately had some good at-bats.”
The Jugglers didn’t go away in the bottom of the third, however, as first baseman Keith Lubey looped an RBI single over the shortstop, scoring Zack Murdock to get the game back within one run.
But Manderson answered the call again. He ripped an RBI single to right, scoring Cooper Deck, and New Hartford took a 6-4 lead. That was the end of the day for the Murdock, the Juggler hurler. He gave up 6 runs on 11 hits.
Notre Dame went to the bullpen in the fifth, as Sophomore Joe Flynt went to the mound.
Flynt, walked the first two Spartan batters, and New Hartford scored three runs to break the game open and take a 9-4 lead.
“Once we started to score, I said I have to back [my teammates] up and get them out,” German said. “It was a great opportunity for me to pitch today.”
Coach Randall noted the Spartans have huge league games coming up next week. On Monday, New Hartford will take on Whitesboro, and on Tuesday, the team will head to Rome Free Academy.
The importance of the rest of the season is not lost on Manderson.“We have to take it step by step,” he said. “We want to win the league, sectionals, regionals, and then states.
We won eleven straight and beat good teams along the way. If we play the way we did today, it could happen.”
New Hartford 10 Notre Dame 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
New Hartford 0 1 4 1 3 0 1 10 14 0
Notre Dame 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 7 0