YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— The top-seeded North Salem Tigers capped off a spectacular summer season with a 9-1 blowout victory over the Cortlandt Panthers in the 11-and-under Greater Hudson Valley Baseball ‘B’ league championship game on a cloudy Sunday afternoon at Legacy Field in Yorktown.
“We pitched and powered our way to the championship,” North Salem coach Barry Baer said. “They have been consistent the whole year. We had a couple of walk-off wins, and we scratched and clawed our way to the title.”
North Salem, which went 12-2 in the regular season, was again guided by top pitcher Robbie Gilchrist, who tossed five innings of one-run ball. The star pitcher even rocketed a two-run homer that soared about 250 feet during the third inning.
“We were led by [first baseman] Ryan Baer and Robbie Gilchrist this season with five home-runs apiece,” Barry Baer said. “Ryan had a .660 batting average and Robbie hit about .350. Tom Eberhardt and Dylan Schoenberg are some of our other team leaders.”
The Tigers stole early and often on the base paths, taking full advantage of every wild pitch that the Panthers dealt.
“We run the bases hard,” coach Baer said. “We put the pressure on all of the time. We never sit back.”
Schoenberg didn’t miss a beat playing at shortstop after missing two weeks with a thumb injury. He threw out a bunch of batters who hit slow grounders up the middle. Catcher Christian Baryla made a diving catch in foul ground too. The Tigers did not give anything away in the field on this day.
“Dylan has solidified our defense,” Barry Baer said. “He is our leadoff hitter and has set the table for Ryan and Robbie to drive in all of the runs. Tom Eberhardt has also been a big table-setter for us.”
Eberhardt shut the door on the Panthers by giving up zero runs in the final two frames he pitched. He also had an RBI groundout. Andrew Weigle cracked an RBI single in the fifth and Pablo Viebrock impressed by reaching base twice.
The summer season was nothing short of triumphant for Cortlandt, which started out 4-10 and won six straight to reach the finals.
“This was our first year together as a team,” Cortlandt coach Larry Roche said. “We can get better. They just didn’t make as many mistakes (in the field) is the big thing. For their first runs they only had one hit. We’re looking forward to the fall season.”
It has been an even longer journey to success for the hometown team.
“This group has been together for three years,” Barry Baer said. “This is our first one (championship). It’s great for the kids because they could hardly catch and hit when we first started and they worked their butts off and have come a long way. You can see on the field that they have been terrific.”
Zach Major iced the cake by yanking an RBI double over the right fielder’s head in the fourth inning. It was all part of a special day for the Tigers, who drew an abundance of walks to also help their championship quest.
“It’s a tribute to them because they really put the work in this winter,” coach Baer said. “Last year we lost in the championship game to a team from New York City (fall league) and they vowed to come back and win this.”