Take Me Out To The Ball Game! Byram Hills Bobcats Bring Home State Baseball Title
Byram Hills wins Class A State Championship 3-2 over Queensbury, the second state championship title for any sport in the school's history.
Photo courtesy of Byram Hills High School
Not many people can say they’ve won a state title in a varsity sport. Even fewer can say they were part of the first state-championship team of their sport in their high school’s history. The twenty-one players from 2014-2015 Byram Hills High School baseball team will have those bragging rights for the rest of their lives.
The team walked off of the field at Maine-Endwell High School in Endwell, New York, on June 13 after defeating Warren County’s Queensbury High School in a 3-2 victory. Having never played Queensbury before, “it was a nail-biter all the way through…it was an intense day,” said Head Coach Scott Saunders. Saunders has been the head of the Bobcats baseball program for eight years, and has also been at the helm of the Bobcats football program for the last two.
Although this is the highest title the team has ever received, the baseball program at Byram Hills has been on the upswing over the last few years. (The school's other state-wide win was in boys' soccer in 2007). Saunders credits part of this to the hiring of new assistant coaching staff including Ted Huffman from Dobbs Ferry in 2009, and his son, Mike Huffman, in 2011. Overall, Saunders notes that this change came about mainly because of “a renewed work ethic from the team. The boys started to change the culture and worked really hard in the offseason starting from September all the way up through the season. They set the bar higher and higher every year.” This past winter, the throwing and hitting workouts organized by coaching staff saw higher attendance numbers than ever.
Of the team’s eight graduating seniors, four will be moving on to play baseball at the college level: Kellen Hatheway to Williams College, Jake Stuckelman to Ithaca College, Thomas Gagliardi to Union College, and Michael Aberman to SUNY Cortland.
What will Saunders’ next move be to keep the winning streak alive? “We’re going to follow the same offseason workouts and invite more players to attend. I think now that the bar has been set high, the returning players will step up in leadership. They understand what the process is, and what it takes to be on top,” he said.
In typical small-town fashion, the Bobcats were welcomed home with a parade; students, alumni, staff, and residents young and old lined the streets to cheer their winning team on as they waved to fans from the back of a truck driving along Main Street in downtown Armonk. Congratulations, Bobcats!