Monument Wins the Wahconah Tournament
The Spartans upset their division rivals in the championship game
May 5, 2016
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After a dismal start to the Spartans season, going 0-4, they picked a glorious time to erupt. During the Wahconah baseball tournament, they put together fourteen runs in two games against Hoosac Valley and the host team of the tournament, the Wahconah Warriors.
On Saturday, April 23, the Spartans put up four runs in a 4-3 win against Hoosac that went into extra innings. Spartans first baseman Joe Aberdale hit a three run home run in the fourth inning to put them ahead 3-2. The Spartans’ pitchers shut down Hoosac bats until the top of the seventh. A walk and a double tied the game as they threatened to take the lead. With two outs and two strikes, the Hurricane’s batter popped a pitch up down to foul territory. Third baseman Zach Tinker settled under it and caught the ball sending the Spartans to the plate.
Pitcher Matt Koperniak silenced the Spartans bats through the seventh and came out again in the bottom of the eighth inning. Koperniak walked the bases loaded which brought up sophomore Tyler Wade. Wade worked the count to three balls and one strike. Koperniak fired a pitch toward home and it was high and outside. The winning run scored on the walk and the Spartans won their first game of the tournament.
Sunday was the day of the championship game between Monument and Wahconah. A coin flip determined who was home and who was away. Monument won the flip and they choose home. Wahconah was to hit first and hit they did! The Warriors put up two runs to start off the scoring with a couple of loud doubles hit in the gaps. After the side was retired Monument came up in the home half of the first. They fired back with a couple runs of their own. The starting pitcher for Wahconah walked four straight batters and then gave up two more runs before the bottom of the first inning came to a close. Monument came out with an early 3-1 lead.
The Warriors bounced back to tie it in the top of the second, but the tie did not last for long. The Spartans came back to the plate with runners on second and third. In the bottom half of the second, Saturday’s hero came back to the plate. With a 2-2 count, Aberdale turned on a high fastball and launched it deep towards left field. The ball kept carrying further and further until eventually the Warriors left fielder ran out of room. Another three-run home run for Aberdale put the Spartans on top 6-3. After that momentus swing, Monument never was behind in the game again.
Wahconah threatened by putting up three more before the Spartans went to the bullpen. First in to pitch was Jared Henry from center field. Henry went two innings shutting down the Warriors while posting 3 strikeouts of scoreless relief. For the final two innings Nate Cormier came in and put them down in order. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Cormier got Warriors first baseman Ben Schmitt to hit a pop fly towards Henry in center field. The young outfielder settled under the towering fly as the white sphere plopped into his mitt.
The Spartans celebrated their win on the mound with high fives, fist bumps, and a couple of iconic handshakes. They were gifted the tall trophy that read “Wahconah Tournament Champions” which they had worked hard for all weekend long. With their relentless effort paying off in the end, they boarded the bus with wide eyes and large grins on their faces. Laughter would fill the bus as they pulled out of the Wahconah High School parking lot and all the way home… a triumphant tournament for a young and deserving team!