A few weeks ago, Northern Yankees manager Brian Polaha said something that seems to grow more accurate by the day.
He said that one of the few things that both the Tri-County League and the Blue Mountain League could agree on is that Adam Sandt is the best player in local amateur baseball.
More proof of that came on Saturday night when Sandt's two-run single in the bottom of the 10th inning at Scherersville gave the Yankees a 3-2 win over Boyertown in a memorable Game 1 of the Tri-Co Championship Series.
The best-of-five series resumes at 5 p.m. Sunday at Boyertown.
Sandt, an Allen High and Stevens Tech graduate, was a Triple Crown winner for the Orioles in the BML this season, collecting seven home runs and 31 RBIs to go with a .452 batting average (42 hits in 93 at-bats). He also scored 27 runs and had nine doubles, two triples and 19 walks.
When the BML's Most Valuable Player Award is revealed at the league banquet next month it would be an absolute shock if Sandt didn't win it for the third consecutive year.
Although the BML was his first priority, the stellar shortstop also made an impact in the Tri-Co and is the reason why the Yankees are now just two wins away from their second consecutive title.
"Adam was quiet today until the 10th inning, but he's a clutch player," Polaha said Saturday night.
He was not the only hero for the Yankees, who are now 4-0 in this postseason with three wins coming by one run.
"It's the way we've been doing it all year. … different guys step up," Polaha said. "I haven't kept a running tally, but my guess is that we're now in the double figures with one-run wins."
Saturday's series opener was a classic with Yankees' pitcher Caleb Calarco working all 10 innings and giving up just five hits to go with 10 strikeouts.
Calarco was especially effective in the 10th after giving up a lead-off home run to Boyertown's Joe Soupik.
The Metz went on to put runners on first and third and none out and threatened to break it open, but Calarco worked out of it with a popup, strikeout and flyball.
"That was huge," Polaha said.
In the bottom of the 10th after a strikeout started the inning, Nick Rabasco singled and Jacen Nalesnik reached on a mishandled fielder's choice. Rabasco and Nalesnik pulled off a double steal to set the stage for Sandt, who singled up the middle for the tying and game-winning runs.
"It was just a great game," Polaha said. "It was a huge one for us to get because they used their two best pitchers [Anthony] Clemens and [Chuck] Nicholas. I can't think of a better way to start off a championship series than with a game like that. The pitching was excellent. We had a lot of chances to score, but couldn't break through until the last inning."
BEST OF THE BML
One game beat the rain, but another didn't on Saturday in the Blue Mountain League semifinals.
Easton defeated Martins Creek 4-3 at Pacchioli Field to take a two games to one lead in that best-of-five, while Limeport and Hellertown got washed out at Dimmick Park in the fourth inning with the Dodgers leading 2-0.
Limeport trails the three-time defending champion Royals two games to none, but will get another home game Sunday. League president Bob Varju has switched sites Sunday with the Dodgers getting to host the replay of Game 3 at 1:30 p.m.