Winning the 2021 Overall Section 10 Baseball Championship was a formidable challenge to say the least.
It required the eventual champion to beat three Section 10 Class Champions and play the semi-finals and finals on back to back days.
Class A Massena Central made it look easy capturing the first overall title game staged since 1985 with an 11-1 win over Section 10 Class B and NAC Central Division Champion Gouverneur (15-2) on Thursday at Canton Central. The Raiders followed a foolproof formula of dominant pitching and relentless contact hitting up and down the lineup.
The 15-2 Raiders bested Class C Champion Lisbon 8-1 on Wednesday and started their postseason march with a 7-0 win over Malone in the Class A title game.
Senior righthander David Dubray followed up a shutout over Malone by striking out 11 and walking two in a three-hitter while limiting Gouverneur to one unearned run. Dubray went into cruise control on the mound after Chris Paige lead off the bottom of the first inning with a triple and scored for the second straight game and then singled in a seven-run second inning against Gouverneur starter Kyle Gaumes.
Paige went 3-4 on the day with a triple and two singles and also ripped a line drive which was snared by Holden Stowell at firstbase.
“We made a few mistakes and they jumped out early and you just can’t fall behind like that. Massena is a great team and David Dubray is fantastic. He sets up his fastball with his curveball and you are just not going to score many runs against him,” said Gouverneur Coach John Free.
“But I am so proud of my guys. It had been 17 years since Gouverneur won a baseball championship and we won the NAC Central Division, which is the toughest to win, and the Class B title our first year together.”
Many of the Raiders had played together for years led by Paige as a five-year varsity player and Dubray who played three years on the varsity.
“Chris Paige has just been on a terror and he had six straight hits in the last two games before lining out and David Dubray did a great job pitching and working quickly,” said Massena Coach Greg Paquin.
“We teach our pitchers to get in a flow which really helps keeps the defense involved and sharp. This championship was won by every member of our team from the starters to the guys who don’t get to play a lot. My father (longtime Massena Coach Darrell Paquin) would have loved to see this and I have been thinking a lot about him lately.”
Asked how he would pitch Paige, Dubray smiled and said “he would see a lot of curveballs and he wouldn’t get anything pretty.”
The seven run second inning was a thing of beauty for the Raiders and started with Brennin Snyder drawing a leadoff walk which was followed by singles by Ethan Firnstein,
Paige, Thomas McGregor, Zach Monacelli and a double by Snyder sandwiched between two Gouverneur errors.
Sidewinding Gouverneur reliever Holden Stowell pitched three scoreless innings but the Wildcats were unable to make any inroads against Dubray. Their only run came in the third inning when Stowell led off with a single and scored on a two-out error.
Massena invoked the 10-run rule scoring three times in the top of the sixth inning where Paige and Snyder singled.
“Winning this championship with my teammates means so much to me because we lost last season because of the pandemic. I am just so happy that we were able to play this year,” said Dubray.
“We have been on a hitting tear in the postseason and it started late in the regular season.”
Stowell, Connor Wood and Kyle Gaumes singled for the lone Gouverneur hits.
NOTE: The Coach Jim Pinkerton Memorial Award was presented by the Massena Board of the High School Baseball Umpires Assocation. The award honors the Outstanding Baseball Player in Section 10 on an off the field. Canton catcher Scotty Ahlfeld received the award and Chris Paige of Massena was a finalist.