Spartans hold off Braves 5-4 to advance to the state finals

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We’ve been previewing it and talking about it all week, and now, the day has finally arrived.

The baseball state semifinals got underway today around the Binghamton area.

We begin with the Class A semifinals at Union-Endicott.

Adam Rutkowski and the Maine-Endwell Spartans looking for their first state championship game appearance since 2008, facing Canandaigua Academy.

First inning, Rutkowkski lines one into right.

Scoring is Mike Mancini.

1-0 Spartans.

Bottom two, grounder through to left.

Joe Brinza trying to score but Ryan Brozovic says no no.

Nice shoot and Matt Raleigh with the tag.

Still 1-0.

Top three and it’s Joe Mancini doing what he does.

Another big hit.

Into the right-center gap.

Brody Raleigh trots home.

2-0 M-E.

Same inning, and it’s Mike Mancini again.

Chopper up the middle scores Brozovic and it’s 3-0.

But, here come the Braves.

Bottom four and Luke Pawlicki lifts it into right.

That’s down and Michael Sculli scores to make it a 4-1 game.

Trying to add more here when it’s chopped to third.

Joe Mancini rifles it home.

Raleigh with the tag and the out.

Remember those plays.

A little insurance here in the 5th as Jack Hopko strokes one to right.

Rutowski scores making it 5-1.

Those throw outs at the plate were huge as Canandaigua got the game to within a run at 5-4, and that would be your final.

M-E holds on to beat the Braves, advancing to state championship.

Afterwards, head coach Matt Raleigh spoke about his son’s crucial plays behind the plate.

“He did a great job. He’s been a leader for us all year. I wouldn’t want to run into him if I was a baserunner, that’s for sure. When he catches the ball, he’s going to put a good, firm tag on you. But, Josh Chandler makes a heck of a throw, Ryan Brozovic makes a heck of a throw. I thought they ran themselves out of a couple of innings. They helped us out. We just stood in there and did what we had to do,” he said.

The Spartans will look to finish the job and bring home the program’s third state title tomorrow.

They take on #1 Ballston Spa at 10:00 am on the campus of Binghamton University.

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