Baseball Knocks Plattsburgh State Out of Playoffs

Although the Hawks may not have had the season they wanted, third-year catcher and outfielder Matt McGee propelled New Paltz to a series win against Plattsburgh State in the team’s last conference games. (Photo couertesy of Sal Delio)

Although the baseball team lost on senior day Wednesday 5-0 to New Jersey City University, they were able to end their State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) schedule with a series win against Plattsburgh State.

The Hawks came up with a triumphant 16-3 win in game-one against the Cardinals, losing game-two 11-6 while winning the rubber match game-three 8-7. The series win knocked Plattsburgh State out of the playoffs, who only needed one win to reach the postseason. 

“I’m very appreciative of my time here at New Paltz,” said fourth-year pitcher Justin Stybel. “What means the most to me are the friendships that I’ve been lucky enough to form with my teammates. I’m going to cherish these memories forever. I’m just so incredibly thankful for my career as a Hawk.”

Plattsburgh State took the first lead in game-one in the second inning, going up 1-0, but SUNY New Paltz came back firing in the top of the third to put up a crooked number. An RBI single by third-year catcher and outfielder Matthew McGee got the scoring started for the Hawks. Second-year first baseman Dean Stalzer and second-year outfielder David Juechter each added an RBI groundout, while another run scored on a passed ball and another on an error, which gave SUNY New Paltz a commanding 5-1 lead.

The Cardinals stayed in the game with another run in the fourth inning to come behind 5-2. Staying at that score until the eighth inning, SUNY New Paltz broke the game open in the top half. RBI singles by second-year catcher Zachary Warenius and fourth-year shortstop Ryan Frost, along with a fourth-year outfielder Danny Campbell double, a run on a throwing error and two runs on walks with the bases loaded brought the Hawks on top 12-2 with six outs to go.

 A grand slam by fourth-year first baseman Justin Ganca was the last blow SUNY New Paltz needed in the top of the ninth. Plattsburgh State scored once more in the bottom of the inning, but was not enough to come back from the huge deficit. The Hawks won game-one 16-3 and were hungry for more in game two. 

Stalzer hit an RBI double to put SUNY New Paltz up 1-0 in the first inning of game-two. The Cardinals offense finally woke up in the second inning however, racking up four runs to take the lead back 4-1.

The Hawks composed an answer of four runs for themselves in the top of the third, with a two-RBI double by McGee and two RBI singles by Campbell and Ganca propelling SUNY New Paltz back in front 5-4. Plattsburgh State’s bats came right back in the bottom of third inning to break the game open, scoring seven runs on five hits and an error to take the commanding 11-5 lead. 

McGee hit another RBI double in the top of the seventh inning, but it would not be enough to mount a comeback. The Cardinals took game two of the series 11-6.

SUNY New Paltz’s offense came out hot in the top of the first inning of game three, grabbing two runs off a sacrifice fly by McGee and an RBI single by Ganca. The run support continued into the second inning, where second-year infielder John McCarrick scored on an error to put the Hawks up 3-0. 

Plattsburgh State’s bats woke up in the bottom of the fourth, where the Cardinals scored on an RBI single and a walk with the bases loaded to come behind 3-2. Fourth-year pitcher James Magnuson got SUNY New Paltz out of the jam, allowing the Hawks to come back in the top of the fifth inning to extend their lead.

Juechter got the rally started with an RBI double down the left field line to score McGee. A sacrifice fly by McCarrick and a run on a wild pitch gave SUNY New Paltz a strong lead up 6-2.

The Hawks and Plattsburgh State traded runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and the top of the sixth, with the Cardinals scoring on a sacrifice fly and SUNY New Paltz coming back with an RBI single by McGee to keep the lead at four at 7-3. Plattsburgh State made its strongest comeback attempt in the bottom of the sixth however, scoring three down 7-6 to come right back in the game.

An RBI single by third-year catcher Reid Oreste proved to be a much needed insurance run in the top of the seventh inning, putting the Hawks up 8-6. The Cardinals scored once more in the bottom of the eighth down 8-7, but it would not be enough to keep their postseason dreams alive. Fourth-year pitcher Ryan Votpyka earned the save to give SUNY New Paltz the series win.

“We did a nice job throughout game [three] to throw strikes and get ahead in counts,” said Hawks head coach Thomas Seay. “We also played some good defense. Offensively we were able to scrape some runs across in a number of ways.”

The Hawks will be graduating seven seniors in 2019, all of which had a huge impact on the program in their time at SUNY New Paltz. The Hawks will be losing starting shortstop Ryan Frost, starting designated hitter and first baseman Justin Ganca, starting left fielder Danny Campbell, starting pitchers Justin Stybel and Michael Delio, lefty specialist James Magnuson and closer Ryan Votypka after this season.

“Coming into New Paltz as a transfer, I didn’t know what to expect for the coming years,” Ganca said. “I was welcomed with open arms into the family we have here and I couldn’t be happier with the lifelong friends I’ve made. I’ve greatly enjoyed my last three years and hope I’ve made a positive impact on the younger guys and the future of this program.”