Spartans foiled in state title bid

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    FLORIDA-Smarty Jones couldn't do it. Neither could the Seward Spartans. Last Saturday America's favorite horse failed in his bid for the Triple Crown. That same day Florida's favorite baseball team lost in the final game for the New York State Class D Championship. In the morning the Spartans topped Hartford, l3-6, in the semi-finals on the campus of SUNY Binghamton. In the late afternoon, on the same field, the Spartan dream of a state championship slipped away on a rash of untimely errors. Rochester-area's Northstar walked away with the crown by virtue of its l0-7 win. It was a perplexing loss of Florida. The Spartans jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the third inning, paced by Rich Paras' two-run double and Jon Harter's two-run single. The Spartans gave that lead away but still led 6-3 until Northstar tied it up in the fourth inning. Harter's RBI double in the fifth inning inched Florida back in front, 7-6, but that seventh run would be it for the Spartan offense. The 19-7 Spartans surrendered two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth and were unable to climb back on top. For seniors like James McAteer, Rob Gillespie, Jon and Jack Harter it was the end of very successful scholastic careers. Gillespie and McAteer played on teams that won ten straight Section 9 Class D titles in baseball, soccer and basketball and made several trips to the state Final-Four. For Jonathan Harter it was a bittersweet final season. That last baseball game was the "bitter." His 53 stolen bases in 53 attempts was the "sweet." The fleet center fielder set a new state single-season record for steals. For baseball coach Bill Steele who also coaches varsity soccer there's always next year. The Spartans had several freshmen and sophomores in the lineup this year. Their experience under pressure should be a help when they return. Unlike Smarty Jones they'll get another chance.