Hoosick Falls Ends Golden Horde Season

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By Keith Harrington

The Granville baseball team saw their outstanding season come to an abrupt end Monday as they fell to Hoosick Falls 11-5 in the Section II Class CC semifinals at Veterans Memorial Park in Saratoga.

The sixth-seeded Panthers out of the Wasaren League came into the contest fresh off an upset of No.3 Canajoharie and didn’t waste any time flexing their muscles in this one.

Jake Sparks, who is on his way in the fall to play for Division I Marshall University, blasted a homer in a four-run top of the first, and Hoosick Falls fought off a Golden Horde comeback attempt.

After the blast by Sparks Hoosick Falls took advantage of two Granville fielding errors to fashion a 4-0 lead after a half inning. The Golden Horde has not had an inning like that all season.

“The second pitch going over the wall, that’s only one. But the errors are what really hurt,” Granville coach Cory Burton said. Uncharacteristic. Stuff that we haven’t done all year. We don’t give up four runs in an inning. We don’t make errors on routine plays.”

The Panthers added a run in the second. Burton elected to walk Sparks in his second at-bat. It didn’t matter. He came around to score on a pair of wild pitches and an error to make it 5-0.

When Sparks came into pitch replacing Panther starter Ben Smith in the third the Golden Horde attempted to rally. Alex Torres nailed a two-run single. Then Cody Nelson and Donny Woodell had RBI hits to slice the deficit to 5-4.

Hoosick Falls responded with three runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to blow the game back open at 8-4 and Granville could not catch them.

Sparks was walked four times and scored on all of them for the Panthers.

Andrew Sparks and Carson Glover combined for six RBIs for Hoosick Falls. Andrew Sparks, Jake’s brother, drove in three runs on two triples and drew a bases-loaded walk. Glover contributed two singles, a double, and two RBIs.

Trey Senevey had a double, single, and RBI for the Golden Horde.

The loss marked the end of the careers of Granville seniors Torres, Caleb and Cody Nelson, Brent Perry, and Collin Norton.
Burton was emotional, wearing his emotions on his sleeve while talking about the group.

“Our guys fought to the last pitch. There’s a lot of heart on that team. It’s a great group of seniors,” Burton said. Unless you win the state title you’re going to lose your last game. It sucks, but that’s a great group of kids.

Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac Jr. had nothing but praise for the Golden Horde.

“That’s a good team, we knew they were going to make a little run,” Lilac Jr. said. “We were going to go with Ben Smith as long as we could, but we were going to win or lose with Jake up there. Jake’s gonna throw it over the plate — if we played some good D behind him, I knew we were in good shape.”

Granville ends the season 13-2.

Hoosick Falls moves on to play top-seeded Chatham Thursday at 7 p.m. in the championship game at Joe Bruno Stadium.

The Panthers improved to 14-8.