FISHKILL, N.Y. — Throughout Harrison's run to the Section 1 Class A baseball title, the Huskies demonstrated their superiority and outstanding pitching. But Tuesday, Harrison was on the receiving end of what it had been doing to its opposition all season.
Cornwall left-hander R.J. Berger shut down Harrison, tossing a one-hitter as the Section 9 titlist posted a 5-0 win in a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A Baseball regional final at Dutchess Stadium.
Cornwall advances to the state final four on Saturday at Union-Endicott High School. Harrison concludes the season with a 20-5 record.
Matt Baker had Harrison's lone hit, a single up the middle, with two outs in the fifth inning. The Huskies worked out four walks, but only twice did they have runners in scoring position.
Berger used a dancing curve ball and an array of off-speed pitches that befuddled the usually potent Harrison offense.
"He kept us off balance the whole game," Harrison catcher Alex Beckett said. "We're used to left-handers, but we were not waiting back. We were hitting off of our front foot."
Berger, who earlier this season threw a no-hitter, learned he would be starting on the bus ride to the stadium. He and his teammates knew nothing about Harrison, so Berger went with what has worked for him all season.
"I saw my curve ball had a lot of movement, and I was able to locate it," said Berger, who will play baseball at Clarkson next year. "I wanted to throw strikes, because I knew they were going to hit it. The defense did a great job."
Cornwall scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings against Max Bruckner. Steve Octave's infield single scored Casey Kerdesky, who led off the second with a double. In the third, Jimmy Patterson singled in Connor Kwalwasser for a 2-0 Cornwall lead.
Even though Berger was ringing up outs, Beckett and his teammates felt it was a matter of time before they got to Cornwall's pitcher.
"I thought we were going to have that one inning where we would scored four or five runs, but we just couldn't hit him today," Beckett said.
Tyler Hart walked with two outs in the third, swiped second and moved to third on a throwing error. However, Berger got Austin Pollack on a grounder to deep third. In the fifth, Jake Zuckman walked and moved to second on Baker's two-out single, but Hart hit a fly ball to end the inning.
"I give credit to Cornwall and their pitcher," Harrison coach Marco DiRuocco said. "He got it done. He was keeping our guys off balance, and they, as a team, played better ball."