SAUGERTIES – We may have found an answer to a question that has long been asked by people watching Brendan Hines.
The CV is known. He is an honor roll student who has played in three sports, won multiple championships, enlisted in Ithaca College, etc. can not he does?
“Uh …” the senior from Rhinebeck High School stopped. “We’ll have to see how it goes.”
Despite the exceptional footwork he displayed on the basketball court and a goalie as nimble as he was, there was uncertainty about his coordination on the floor of a ballroom.
But if Hines has two left feet, it is hoped his girlfriend, Ainsley Dutton, pardoned him on Saturday. Because the effectiveness of his right arm more than compensated for a few hours before the ball.
Hines was masterful on the mound, pitching a full game to lead Rhinebeck over Tri-Valley, 4-1, in the Class C Section 9 baseball final. The second-seeded Hawks celebrated their first championship since 2013.
“I promised in my freshman year that I would win a sectional title for baseball,” said Strachan Doran, a senior who got 3 for 4 with an RBI. “I didn’t want this season to go by without it being done.”
Rhinebeck had 15 base runners and put constant pressure on Bears ace Jacob Yager. Meanwhile, Hines sailed, allowing just two hits and two walks with 13 strikeouts.
“He’s been phenomenal for us all season and he continued today,” said Hawks coach George Nikolatos. “He was overwhelming and just dominated.”
Hines worked in the Tri-Valley lineup with an 89mph fastball complemented by a curve and shift. Yager’s home run in the sixth round was the only flaw.
“We know each other well and I always have full confidence in him,” said receiver Alex Ulrich. “It makes my job easier.
Ulrich returned the favor in the first inning when the Bears had two runners. Sean Feliciano, who had walked, tried to steal third place with one out and Ulrich hit a pitch that beat him by two steps. Hines followed with a strikeout and that streak, his teammates said, gave them confidence and momentum.
Ben Fajardo started second with a single and Aidan Aierstok walked on before Lucas Dentico’s cavity pushed the runners forward. Hines was moved intentionally to charge the goals, then Doran’s single to the left put Rhinebeck on the board.
“We knew they were a great team with a great pitcher,” said Doran of Yager, at the start of St. Bonaventure, who led seeded Tri-Valley to a second straight appearance in the game. the final of the section. “However, we have faced some great players before. We believe in who we are and we treat them like another player. “
The Hawks had 10 hits and walked five in six innings against Yager and, had his work not escaped two base-laden jams, the score might have been off balance. The right-hander also had 12 strikeouts.
Hines said he ‘found my mechanics’ and got into a rhythm mid-innings and offense apparently followed suit.
Doran led the fifth with a double lined up on the center wall – narrowly missing a home run – and Ulrich hammered a left triple that passed the diving outfielder. Richard Dentico’s single bloop then took the score to 3-0. After Fajardo hit a single and Aierstok walked, Ryan Martin got a point on choosing a defensive player.
“It took a lot of work from talented and dedicated kids,” Nikolatos said of Rhinebeck’s resurgence. “Even on days when there was no training, they had the keys to get in and they would go to work on their own. “
Doran missed the previous two weeks after being hit in the eye by a pitch at a college league show and was cleared to return on Friday, just one day before the final.
“I had to come back to the team and contribute,” he said. “There was no way I would have intentionally missed this. Bringing this title to Rhinebeck is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life so far. Nothing better than that.
Ulrich and Hines agreed with this view, although they are among the multisport athletes on this team who also play for the men’s soccer team, which has won four consecutive Section 9 titles and won a state championship in 2019. .
“I’m a huge soccer fan, but baseball is the sport I’ve played my whole life,” said Hines, who got a shutout as a goaltender in the state soccer final. . “It’s disappointing that we couldn’t go further in this tournament and aim for a state title, but our team was playing in the last game of the season and we won.”
Rhinebeck failed in the quarter-finals in 2018 and then in the semi-finals the following year. Having the ball three hours after that triumph, Ulrich said, was “a perfect way” to cap off a season in which the team took two steps forward.
Coincidentally, a two-step could be the perfect fit for anyone uncomfortable on the dance floor.
Stephen Haynes: [email protected], 845-437-4826, Twitter: @ StephenHaynes4