CARMEL – As he met his team at right field on Thursday night, Joe Hackert explained to his players why he considered the coaches’ job to be done. He remembered how they had all spent 2020 frustrated, hungry for a chance that never presented itself.
In this context, the only mission of the coach of Carmel for 2021 was completed.
âI said from now on, it’s all up to you,â Hackert said. “It’s bonus time now. We’re done. Our job was to give you as many games as possible because you deserve it and we did. And that gives me goosebumps, man.”
And the fourth-seeded Rams reached the final day of the season with a creepy victory, rallying from behind then hanging on late to beat No.8 White Plains 6-5 in a half. class AA final.
This will be the program’s first appearance in a championship game since arriving as the No.17 seed in 2007.
That victory – and the shot – both belonged to Matt Demme, one of nine seniors called to college two years ago in sophomore year. The right-hander pitched 6 2/3 difficult innings before reaching 125 throws. He also lined up a curve to left field, scoring Anthony Febo with the go-ahead in a three-point final of the fifth.
Carmel needed that answer after White Plains, who had won two 1-0 games to get here against Fox Lane and seeded Mamaroneck, scored three runs over Demme early in the inning. Two of them came on a double from Teddy Hauser.
âWe wanted this,â Demme said of the tension. âWe wanted a close game. We live for this moment. I live for this moment. He threw a curve ball at me and I knew it was going to happen and I got the hang of it. But credit the guys who stepped in. in front of me. It was just a great team victory. “
The Carmel rally was also fueled by two costly mistakes, including a stray pitch behind a runner early after a steal to right field. The ball was thrown away from the first baseman and out of play, allowing Jack Sullivan to score from second and put Febo in scoring position for Demme.
But even after falling behind, the Tigers continued to threaten. John Myers had a brace on the right before Demme blocked him to finish the sixth. Then, in the seventh, with Sullivan the team ace looming, Hauser hit the second with two outs when Sullivan’s throw of the third was wild. That ground ball came out of shortstop Kevin Dall, who moved to the mound for a pitch after Demme hit his pitch count. Hackert quickly inserted Sullivan, whose first pitch was an adventurous pitch to end the match first.
âThe approach there was Dall for a batter,â Hackert said. “I was doing everything I could to keep (Sullivan) from throwing nothing away. He has a bright future. I’m not going to be the reason this went off the rails.”
White Plains starter was senior Mark Kent, who pitched all six innings after needing just 95 pitches to beat Fox Lane 1-0 in nine innings on Saturday. The Tigers then upset Mamaroneck 1-0 behind full-game first-year Derek Diaz, and Kent gave his side a chance to rally after Carmel took a 3-0 lead early on.
“We knew when we got there that if we could put a few points on the board and take the lead, we were playing with home money,” White Plains coach Marcel Galligani said. âWe weren’t even supposed to be here. The pressure was on them and once we got that lead you could see it. Things calmed down in this canoe. But unfortunately we made a few mistakes that resulted in leaked out, but that’s high school baseball at the end of the day. It’s going to happen at some point and unfortunately it happened to us when it happened. “
Sullivan, a UConn commit, who along with Febo played in college in his first year, will almost undoubtedly face Ketcham ace Xavier Kolhosser in the final on Saturday. The two met on opening day, a game Ketcham won in Kolhosser’s double innings after both pitchers left.
But Demme said Carmel is not heading north in search of revenge.
âWe don’t care who we’re playing against,â he said. “Coach Hack preaches every day that it’s Carmel vs. Carmel. The other team is here to make us better. It doesn’t matter who we play. We’ll be ready.”
Matt Demme, Carmel. Although he allowed five points, only two were earned. Demme dispersed seven hits and struck out six. It also went 2 for 3, including what turned out to be the winning RBI single.
By the numbers
Carmel (18-3) – Jon McIntyre and Sullivan each had three hits and one RBI and Dall and Febo both had RBI singles.
White plains (14-7) – Myers went 3 for 4 and scored two points and Houser had a two-point brace to highlight the fifth from three points.
Carmel will play in Ketcham at 2 p.m. Saturday for the Class AA Championship.