Kingston ends Arlington's run
WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. – The resignation on the face of Arlington High School’s Matt Horton said it all.
Down 5-2 to Kingston in the bottom of the sixth inning of a New York State Class AA regional game on Monday, Horton ripped a line drive to centerfield hoping to spark a rally. But the Tigers’ Jerred Beniquez made a spectacular diving catch, robbing Horton of extra bases and leaving him at first looking skyward, then at the ground, then slowly and reluctantly taking his hat and glove from a teammate.
Minutes later, it was all over.
Kingston added one more run and beat the Admirals at neutral Roy C. Ketcham High School, 6-2, to advance to the state quarterfinals on Tuesday at SUNY New Paltz. Kingston, the Section 9 champion, will take on Section 4 winner Horseheads and will likely face star lefthander Dylan Manwaring, son of 13-year Major League catcher Kirt Manwaring.
For Arlington, it was the end what had been a magical run. The Admirals captured their first Section 1 Class AA championship in 25 years as the ninth seed by beating No. 1 Mamaroneck, No. 4 Fox Lane and then No. 2 John Jay-East Fishkill in the title game – and all without their first baseman and best hitter, Joe Boland, who broke a bone in his hand prior to the postseason.
“It’s tough,” Admirals coach Al Hammell said, “but we can look back on this and say we had a great run.”
The game featured a terrific matchup of old rivals and friends – Hammell played his high school ball at Our Lady of Lourdes and was a 28th-round draft pick of the New York Mets in 1992. Kingston coach Mike Groppuso was drafted out of Kingston in 1991 as the 44th overall pick of the Houston Astros.
“That’s a good team over there,” Groppuso said of Arlington. “We knew this was going to be a tough game, the delay made it a little more interesting, but we came back strong.”
Neither team scored in the first inning, and then both had to sit tight for 64 minutes for a rain delay. When they came back, Kingston nicked Horton for two runs in the top of the second on a two-run, two-out single by Pat Dorrian. The Tigers made it 3-0 in the fourth but Horton blasted a 2-0 fastball in the bottom of the fourth for a two-out, two-run home run to slice it to 3-2.
But momentum quickly went back to Kingston in the top of the fifth. Dorrian led off with a single and, with one out, came all the way around on a monster triple to the gap by Chris Saitch. Saitch scored moments later on a wild pitch from reliever Kevin McKenna, and it was a 5-2 game.
In the meantime, Kingston starter Sean Debrosky was in control. After Horton’s home run, the right-hander set down the final 10 batters of the game.
“I was just trying to mix things up,” he said. “Fortunately we were able to keep them off balance.”