Eli Holton’s solo home run on an 0-1 pitch in the top of the eighth inning was the difference as Hancock defeated New York Mills 3-2 in Tuesday’s Class D state regional baseball game at DeLutis Field.
The home run was Holton’s sixth of the year and puts the Wildcats in the state semifinals for the first time after four previous losses in the state regionals.
Hancock will play Smithtown Christian at 10 a.m. at Conlon Field after Smithtown Christian beat defending state champions Coleman Catholic, 11-8, after trailing 8-2 in the fourth inning.
After Hancock took the lead, Ryan Smith came in to pitch in relief of starter Tyler Phillips. Phillips induced a ground ball to short, but the throw to first was in the dirt and allowed the New York Mills’ runner to advance to second.
A passed ball moved the potential tying run to third with two outs, but Smith struck out the final batter of the game with a 2-2 fastball.
Phillips allowed two runs, striking out 13 batters and walking four.
New York Mills took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Kiffin Baur hit an RBI single.
Hancock answered in the top of the third inning when Ryan Flatcher led off with a single. Phillips grounded out to move him to second, and Smith’s double put runners on second and third. Kevin Consulazio then drove a two-RBI back up the middle to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
New York Mills came back to tie it at 2 in the bottom of the inning after a leadoff triple by Ryan Lupia, and a J.T. Ross sacrifice fly to score him.