HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In the Patroon League this season, it’s been Chatham…and then everybody else. To say the Panthers have “dominated” in 2023 would be doing a disservice to the gaudy numbers they’ve posted.
So, here’s the numbers: En route to a 17-0 record, Chatham has outscored its opponents 269-to-13. And no, neither of those numbers are a typo.
The question wasn’t if the Panthers would reach yet another Patroon League championship game this season; it was who would draw the unenviable task of trying to upend this Class C buzz saw.
Despite its’ best effort, Coxsackie-Athens was unable to hold an early lead against Chatham in Friday’s league championship game at Columbia-Greene Community College, and the Panthers’ bats came alive late for a 9-2 win, earning the program’s second straight Patroon League title.
Credit the Riverhawks for putting Chatham on its heels out of the gate by jumping out to a 2-0 lead after the first two innings. But the pitching staff could only keep the Panthers’ offense at bay for so long. After scraping across a run in the bottom of the third, Chatham struck again in the fourth on an RBI single from designated hitter Jameson Balich, tying the game at two.
Chatham benefitted from some defensive miscues from Coxsackie-Athens in the fifth frame. One run came into score on a balk. The Panthers plated another run later in the inning on an error that allowed starting pitcher Matt Thorsen to cross, and the game swung in their favor at 4-2.
Then, the bats erupted in the sixth. Chatham tacked on another five runs, which was more than enough run support for Thorsen, who closed the door in the seventh inning, capping a complete game with his 13th strikeout of the day.
Back-to-back Patroon championships is a significant accomplishment for the program, but Thorsen says the team has its’ sights set on even greater feats. “It’s definitely a stepping stone,” he said. “This has never been our end goal for the season. I would say that we use this as leverage going on into sectionals.”
Head coach Scott Steltz was pleased to see how his team responded to one of the few instances they’ve faced adversity this year. “We love adversity; like, that’s our quote,” he said. “The whole year, ‘we love adversity.'”‘ It was just fun to be a part of, and see them respond the right way. No one lost composure. No one put their head down; there was no bad body language, finger-pointing. We just went out and competed, and did what we were supposed to do.”
Chatham (18-0, 16-0) closes out its regular season with a pair of non-league road tests. Saturday the Panthers travel to Class AA foe Columbia for an 11 a.m. matchup with the Blue Devils. Monday they’ll travel to Class B’s Ichabod Crane. That game is scheduled to get underway at 4 p.m. Coxsackie-Athens (12-6, 7-4) will begin preparations for sectionals, as its regular season comes to an end.