TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Hartford-Fort Edward baseball team has made itself right at home in Class D.

In their first season since dropping down from Class C, the Tanaforts claimed the Sec. II, Class D championship, knocking off the top-seed in the tournament, Fort Ann, 5-1 Saturday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

Hartford was backed by a stellar performance on the mound from starting pitcher Drake Stewart. The Tanaforts’ senior ace tossed a complete game, allowing just six hits, while striking out 12.

The majority of Stewart’s run support came in the top of the third inning. After Hartford loaded the bases, designated hitter Braden Whitney drove in the first two runs of the game with a single to center field.

Whitney advanced to second on the throw home, and he and Joe Allen promptly came around to score when the next batter, John Gauthier, reached first safely on a throwing error from short. That allowed Hartford to take a 4-0 lead, and Stewart rolled from there.

He got into one jam in the sixth inning when the Cardinals loaded the bases with zero outs, but managed to get out of the inning with just the one run allowed.

Stewart recorded punchout No. 12 for the final out of the game, metaphorically punching the Tanaforts’ ticket to the state tournament.

Hartford, the two-seed in the Class D bracket, embraced the underdog mentality against an opponent that had recent title game experience.

“We (the coaches) were just telling them the whole way through, “you’re playing with house money,”” said head coach Jeff Durkee. “”They’re (Fort Ann) the one-seed. They beat you earlier in the year. They’ve been here two times in a row in the last two years. Have fun, be free and relax. The pressure’s on them.””

Despite the team being compiled of players from two different schools, Durkee has been impressed all season by the strong bond the team possesses.

“The whole merger thing that we had is one of the better one’s I’ve ever been a part of,” said Durkee. “These kids are just like brothers. It’s really that good.”

Stewart echoed Durkee’s sentiment when asked what he felt the team’s strongest attributes were.

“We’re a family,” said Durkee. “First day of tryouts I thought we were gonna be pretty bad, but we came out, and we won it. Ever since the Argyle game (semifinals), we were ready. We were ready for them.”

Hartford-Fort Edward will head to SUNY Plattsburgh Thursday for the subregional round of the state tournament. The Tanaforts will face off with Sec. VII champion Lake Placid; first pitch is set for 4:00 p.m.