BINGHAMTON - One mistake was all it took to end Pine Valley's wildly successful baseball season on Saturday at Broome Community College.
Zach Fancher threw a wild pitch to the backstop that plated Oriskany's only run of the game in the fourth inning, but it was more than the Panthers could overcome as they fell, 1-0, in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D semifinals.
Fancher held the Section 3 team hitless before giving up a first-pitch double to open the fourth. A groundout moved the runner to third before the ill-timed pitch sailed over the head of catcher Joey Gierszewski.
The senior right-hander settled down to toss shutout ball the rest of the way. He allowed just four hits, issued a trio of walks and struck out eight.
"When Zach's on the mound, everybody on the field, everybody in the ballpark is a better person," Pine Valley coach Chris Buczek said. "They play harder, they cheer harder. They know that when the ball's in his hands, we're going to win a game."
With Fancher pitching a gem, the Panthers' offense was unable to get anything going against Oriskany pitcher Nate Keating.
Lucas Trombley had Pine Valley's only two hits of the game with singles in the first and fourth innings.
"I think our biggest problem was (the umpire) had a very high strike zone and we couldn't adjust to it," Buczek continued. "The key hit that we got the last two games didn't shine through today."
The first inning started off well for the Panthers when Winfred Nelson drew a leadoff walk. Unfortunately for Pine Valley, a double play ended the early threat.
Trombley reached second base with one out in the fourth, but Keating was able to pitch his way out of trouble.
The only other baserunner the Panthers mustered was with two outs in the top of the seventh when Fancher worked a nine-pitch walk. Desperate for some sort of spark, Buczek had Fancher steal, but he was thrown out to end the game.