SOUTH GLENS FALLS — As I was watching the game Tuesday, I said it to myself. When I interviewed Pearl River coach Chris Woolgar after the team’s 5-2 loss, he pretty much said everything out loud: Pearl River’s road to states was extremely difficult.
I don’t follow any of the other sections, so I don’t know what the level of competition is like, but I do follow Section 1 and I became pretty familiar with what the competition level was like here. Looking at Class A alone, you had Brewster — an undefeated team — against Pearl River, which had only lost twice this year (to Class AA finalists Clarkstown South, which joined the Pirates in South Glens Falls, and North Rockland, which probably could’ve made it to states if it beat South) in the final. Around the bracket you had Yorktown, an 11-seed, in the semifinals, as well as Lakeland, a remarkably talented and young squad. There’s also the likes of John Jay, Nanuet, Hen Hud, etc. floating around.
I said at the media table, “That’s amazing – North Rockland (Class AA runner-up), Brewster (Class A runner-up), Valhalla (Class B runner-up) and Haldane (Class C runner-up) all didn’t make it out of the section, but I could probably see three of them making it to states.”
Then I thought of Pearl River’s postseason road — a walk-off win against Goshen, which made me think that Goshen could’ve possibly been here; a walk-off win against Maine-Endwell, which made me think that Maine-Endwell could’ve possibly been here. There’s no denying that Pearl River took the side roads to get to Glens Falls, and hit every traffic light imaginable on the way here.
The magical postseason luck ran out Saturday at Moreau Recreational Park, although not before the Pirates gave one last push in the sixth inning — scoring two runs off a dropped routine fly ball to left field with the bases loaded. The Pirates will return most of their starting lineup (seven of 10 players) and some players now have the experience of playing in back-to-back state final fours.
Perhaps more importantly, some players now have the experience of losing in back-to-back state final fours, which could possibly fuel the fire.