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WAPPINGERS FALLS – The game wasn’t over for more than 12 minutes when the Roy C. Ketcham High School baseball team broke out the tan cardboard box with the red T-shirts and the black lettering that said, “Ketcham Baseball. 2012 League Champions.”
Nothing in life is certain, but with Seth Lamando on the mound it’s about as close to fait accompli as you can get.
The Indians’ star right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, settled for a two-hitter and, for the fourth consecutive time over two seasons, Lamando and RCK beat Arlington, 6-2, on a muggy Wednesday afternoon.
The victory gave the Indians their third consecutive league championship and seventh in the last 12 years. The defending Section 1 Class AA champions are now 12-3 and angling for the top seed in the postseason playoffs once again.
“It’s a fun game to coach when you have a kid like Seth on the mound,” Ketcham coach Pat Mealy said. “He’s got three pitches that he can get anybody out on any of the three, and that makes coaching a lot easier.”
Sure, when you’re his coach. When you have to coach against him? Not so much.
“Seth is a very good player,” Arlington coach Al Hammell said. “It was a loss and losses happen in baseball. Seth has been a good player here for a long time and maybe we see him again (in the sectionals). He has good stuff, he has command of his pitches and he’s just a bulldog on the mound. He’s had our number for a little while here, but we’re going to keep working at it and we’ll be ready for the next time we see him.”
The Admirals had only two baserunners through the first six innings thanks to a walk and an error.
Asked if he knew he had a no-hitter going into the final frame, Lamando said, “I did, I had an idea. But you have to go one inning at a time and just throw strikes, and that’s all I did.”
The Indians staked Lamando to an early lead. Lamando doubled in the first inning and came around to score on a Gabe Felix single, and RCK added a second run in the inning on an error. In the bottom of the second inning, Arlington took a gamble and gave Lamando an intentional walk with runners on first and second, loading the bases. But the gamble backfired when Admirals starter Matt Horton hit Billy Paskowski with a pitch, forcing in a run for a 3-0 lead.
Felix later added an RBI double and Lamando had an RBI sac fly.
Horton didn’t throw a bad game by any stretch; the problem was, he was up against Lamando. The Admirals did break through in the top of the seventh on back-to-back extra base hits, including Joe Boland’s triple to right field that ended the no-hit bid. But that was it. Lamando said he felt the difference in this game – and the three previous battles against Arlington – was intensity.
“We always come out hard because we’re always the team with the target on our back,” he said.