Rhinebeck baseball falls short in MHAL semi-final

Pine Plains recently learned something about Rhinebeck baseball that a slew of teams have already learned this year: nothing can be done about pitcher Kory Hutchins. On May 13, Hutchins — who has already collected two no-hitters in 2014 — pitched a 17 strikeout gem against the Bombers and helped his team to a 5-4 win that ended in dramatic fashion.

Hutchins’ freaky senior year has been well documented, and Rhinebeck head coach Bill Carney didn’t withhold his praise when he spoke to the Observer after the game.

“Kory’s done this all year. He got a little bit flustered early, but he came out of it. I mean, the kid threw 17 strikeouts. Just an outstanding job. He’s the dominant pitcher in the MHAL, and he’s got to come out and show it, and that’s what he does. We get a little bit complacent behind him, actually. We get behind his strikeouts and we get sloppy,” he said.

As Carney said, Hutchins’ day didn’t start smoothly. Over the first two innings, the Hawks gave up three runs and scored only one of their own. In the third inning, though, Hutchins hit his stride and struck out three batters in a row. Rhinebeck tied the game in the bottom of the third at 3-3 in a side that saw five Rhinebeck batters reach base.

Rhinebeck’s Luke Matthews would come home in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly to put the Hawks up 4-3, but the Bombers had some pop left deep in the game. After fanning the first two Pine Plains hitters in the top of the seventh, Hutchins allowed a hit; the runner eventually made it to third and, on a botched pickoff play at third, made it home. Another Pine Plains runner would get to third before Hutchins closed out the inning tied 4-4.

Carney’s team was much in the clutch, though. Purple’s Nick Hoynes dropped a blooper single into centerfield and was pushed to second by Hutchins, who reach ed first. After a passed ball allowed Hoynes to advance to third base, Rhinebeck’s Spencer Hutchins beamed a deep shot to left field to bring Hoynes home in walkoff fashion.

“We need to have a game like this,” Carney said after the game. “We have to have a game where we stick in it, where we come from behind. Should we be happy with the way we played? No. I take nothing away from Pine Plains. They came here with nine kids, and they play really tough. We played sloppy today, though. We’ve got a chance to lock up the division next game, but it started here. Big team effort today, very pleased.”

But Hutchins can’t shoulder every load: against Spackenkill on May 17, in the Mid-Hudson Athletic League semifinal, Rhinebeck’s ace allowed four runs before being relieved by Chris Cassens in a 5-0 loss.

Hutchins pitched well through four innings before getting caught up in the first of two serious jams in the top of the fifth inning. With bases loaded and two out, Hutchins walked two batters in a row to allow the first two runs, and followed that by allowing a Spackenkill hit to left field that brought in one run and would have brought in another, if not for a spectacular play halfway between third and home from Rhinebeck catcher Spencer Hutchins.
The scoring run left a mark on Hutchins.

“Kory told me that he let it get to him a little bit when he had those walks,” said Carney.

Through the entire game, Rhinebeck had its own struggles with Spack pitcher Billy Winnis, who retired the side in order multiple times and shut Rhinebeck out completely. Purple was set to mount a comeback in the bottom of the sixth, with both Luke Matthews and Ryan Euell making it to base, but Winnis cooled the rally. Rhinebeck’s Nick Hoynes almost spiked his batting helmet on the first base bag upon realizing he was the final out of the inning.

Cassens allowed one run in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly.

“What gave us the most trouble with Spackenkill was the quality of championship play that they play with. They don’t give us anything. They play tight defense, they get good at-bats – we have a great pitcher like Kory on the mound, and they didn’t give him anything at all. They worked their walks out,” said Carney. “They’re as good a team as we’ve played. They were great last year, they were better this year.”

Rhinebeck, which also lost to 8-3 to Spackenkill on May 14, fell to 6-8 with the loss, but will compete in sectional play.

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