Vikings Defeat Broome, 10-2, To Advance To Region III Championship Game

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Saturday, May 12, 2001

Hudson Valley One Win Away From World Series

Utica, May 12 – Hudson Valley Community College's Chris Cooper (Shenendehowa) planted both feet in the batter's box and thought, "Man, a grand slam would be nice here." It was the bottom of the sixth inning in Hudson Valley's NJCAA Division III Region III playoff game with Broome Community College at Utica's Murnane Field, and the Vikings were leading 6-1. With the bases loaded, Cooper had a chance to put the game out of reach and advance Hudson Valley to the tournament's championship game.

Broome quickly got two strikes on Cooper; the 180-pound infielder hadn't connected for a grand slam since Little League; and he hadn't gotten a hit in roughly his last 10 at-bats. Suddenly he was thinking, "Just make contact, get the bat on the ball." Any visions of heroics vanished with the two-strike count.

But Broome's pitcher then delivered a fastball that Cooper was able to turn on. His teammates gather at the edge of the dugout, yelling at the ball to get out of the park as it screamed down the third-base line, threatening to hook foul.

"I was just thinking, ‘Stay fair, stay fair,'" Cooper said.

The ball did stay fair, giving Cooper huge bragging rights as it sailed over the Dunkin' Donuts sign in left field. Cooper had his first collegiate grand slam, and Hudson Valley had a 10-1 lead, which they would not relinquish. The Vikings went on to score a 10-2 victory in seven innings (the game was shortened due to an eight-run mercy rule).

"That was awesome," Cooper said. "I don't care if I don't get any more hits this year. I don't mind; that was totally worth it."

No. 3 seed Hudson Valley (31-8) will now play again at 3 p.m. Sunday, facing the winner of a noon matchup between No. 4 seed Broome (21-20) and No. 2 seed Columbia-Greene Community College (29-11), who eliminated Erie Community College (29-12) from the double-elimination tourney with a 13-4 shellacking today.

Because Hudson Valley has not lost in the tourney yet, the Vikings have two chances to win the event and advance to the NJCAA Division III World Series (May 19-25 in Buffalo). If Hudson Valley should lose to the winner of Sunday's Broome-Columbia-Greene game, a second championship game would be played Monday.

While Cooper provided the offensive excitement today, Second Team All-Region III pitcher Nick Borgia (Scotia-Glenville) was all guts in a complete-game, six-hit, earning his fifth win of the season. Borgia gave up just one earned run in seven innings, striking out seven batters. He also, however, issued nine walks and had to pitch himself out of trouble several times.

"I was a little to fired up," said a still-energetic Borgia after the game. "My blood was going crazy, but I made the pitches I had to. I just focused on hitting the spot the catcher was holding up. I knew if I did that I'd be OK."

Twice Borgia escaped damage by picking up a strikeout with runners in scoring position, including a bases-loaded situation in the top of the fifth inning. He used a wicked curveball to douse Broome's hopes.

"We're playing way above what our expectation were in the beginning of the season," Borgia said. "This team is like a family and showing on the field."

First Team All-Region III infielder Silvestre Castro (Norman Thomas) contributed a triple, two stolen bases and three runs. Justin Beach (Columbia) had a double. Ryan McGinniss (Catholic Central) had two singles.

"Everybody counted us out in the beginning of the season," Cooper said. "Everybody thought we'd be at the bottom of Region III. But the chemistry we're playing with is unbelievable. Everybody gets along. Nobody puts anybody down. We're just playing pitch-by-pitch to get to the next level. We want to show everybody what we can do."

Hudson Valley 10, Broome 2

              1     2     3     4     5     6     7     R     H     E
Broome 1     0      0     0     0     0     1     2     6     1
HV        2     0     1      1     1     5     X    10   8     0
Young, Cohen (6) and Zelesniker; Borgia and McGinniss.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions; Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.