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Next challenge for Rams – the state semis

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 6 June 2018 at 4:17 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Roy-Hart’s Charlie Brigham, shown here making a tag at second base during last Saturday’s regional win over Midlakes, and his Rams teammates will face Seton Catholic of Binghamton in the state Class B semifinals on Friday.

Having already captured their first sectional and regional baseball titles, the Roy-Hart Rams are now taking aim at an even bigger prize – a state diamond championship.

The Rams begin that quest when they take on Seton Catholic of Binghamton in the Class B state semifinals at 5 p.m. Friday at Maine-Endwell High School near Binghamton.

“We’re excited and ready to compete but we’re approaching this one exactly the same. We’re not changing anything” said Roy-Hart Coach Mike Tarnowski. “Our aim and our focus all season has been to take it one pitch at a time, one at bat at a time and one inning at a time and win them.”

The victor will advance to Saturday’s Class B state title contest against the winner of Friday’s other semifinal between Center Moriches and Albany Academy. The final is scheduled for 1 p.m. at NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton.

Roy-Hart, which brings a 19-2 record into the semis, advanced by defeating Section V champion Midlakes 10-1 in the Far West Regional last Saturday at Frontier Field in Rochester.

Seton Catholic advanced by nipping Adirondack 3-2 in the Central Regional. The Saints, which captured the state Class C title in 2013, also reached the state semis last year dropping a 8-7 decision to Albany Academy in 9 innings.

Roy-Hart featured a balanced 13 hit attack along with some clutch relief pitching by senior Jake Bruning (1 hit, 8 strikeouts in 5 innings) in the win over Midlakes. In the previous outing, the 12-9 Section VI Class B title win over Olean, eight Rams contributed to a 14 hit attack.

The Rams lineup includes senior pitcher/centerfielder Jake Bruning who is hitting .442 with 20 RBIs, junior first baseman/pitcher Charlie Bruning (.436, 16 RBI), senior shortstop Al Xapsos (.431, 20 RBI). eighth grader outfielder Gavyn Boyle (.429, 24 RBI). senior third baseman/pitcher Ben Schwab (.419, 28 RBI), junior third baseman/pitcher Walker Samanka (.368, 14 RBI), junior second baseman Charlie Brigham (.324, 18 RBI), freshman catcher Noah Hardy, sophomore outfielder Mike Huntington, senior designated hitter Andrew Srock and junior designated hitter Karson Grover.