Brocton Comes Up Short

Whitehall Tops Bulldogs, 12-1, In Class D Final

Brocton pitcher Jordan Krystofiak delivers to the plate during Saturday’s NYSPHSAA Class D championship game against Whitehall at Union-Endicott High School. Photo by Braden Carmen

BINGHAMTON — Brocton’s baseball team made it to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D title game for the first time in school history this weekend.

Sadly for the Bulldogs, the season ended with a sour taste, after Whitehall defeated them, 12-1 in five innings, in the state final at Union-Endicott High School on Saturday afternoon.

Seniors Ronald “Bubba” Brown, Jordan Krystofiak, Riley Rivera, Derrick Burns and Darien Booker played their final game for the Bulldogs on Saturday.

“What a group of kids. Since I started (at Brocton) five years ago, these young men have done everything I’ve asked,” Brocton coach Rob Fetterick said. “These kids have worked so hard to get to this point, and I feel bad that it just didn’t come out the way they wanted, but they’ve got to hold their heads high.”

Brocton fell behind immediately in the top of the first inning Saturday. After the first batter of the game reached on a walk, he then stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error. An RBI single in the next at-bat put the Railroaders ahead 1-0 just two batters into the contest. The next batter tripled, then a pair of RBI singles later in the frame made the score 3-0 before Brocton got a chance to hit.

Brocton’s Riley Rivera runs the bases during Saturday’s NYSPHSAA Class D championship game against Whitehall at Union-Endicott High School. Photo by Braden Carmen

While the Bulldogs responded with an RBI single by Burns in the bottom of the first inning to score Krystofiak, a pair of Brocton runners were left on base to end the inning.

From that point on, Brocton only had one hit and three walks offensively. All four runners were left stranded on base.

Whitehall scored three runs in the second inning to extend the lead to 6-1, aided by a pair of Brocton errors.

In the next inning, Brocton caught a baserunner in a rundown for the potential third out of the top of the third frame, but the Bulldogs did not make the throw to retire the runner, holding the ball instead as the runner scampered back to third base. Whitehall tacked on two more runs on a two-out single in the next at-bat to make the score 8-1. From that point on, Brocton did not threaten the Whitehall advantage.

“They were a consistent hitting team. All the way through the lineup, those kids hit the ball hard,” Fetterick said of Whitehall.

Brocton’s Derrick Burns takes a swing during Saturday’s NYSPHSAA Class D championship game against Whitehall at Union-Endicott High School. Photo by Braden Carmen

The Railroaders added four runs in the top of the fifth to put the mercy rule in play, then Brocton could not answer and the game was called after five innings of play.

Whitehall finished with 12 runs on 10 hits off Krystofiak, who was tasked with pitching the final game of the season with Brown unavailable due to pitch-count restrictions after Friday’s contest. Krystofiak registered two strikeouts in the fifth inning. Brocton finished with one run on three hits offensively, with five errors in the field.

“We grew, and it even showed today in the dugout when they got together. They held their heads high and they lost with dignity,” Fetterick said. “It’s not all about the wins, it’s how you handle things like this. I can’t be more proud of these kids and the way they took this loss, it only shows that we’re growing and we’re ready to keep succeeding.”

While Brocton’s storybook ending fell one win short of coming true, the journey itself is what stands out in the minds of the Bulldogs, even immediately after the loss.

“It’s been a very monumental trip for everybody,” Krystofiak said. “It just didn’t work out our way, but I think we’ll be back soon.”

Though Krystofiak is one of five seniors to graduate this year, the Brocton community is far from finished with its support of the Bulldogs.

“It’s been amazing. The last two years, the community has been amazingly supportive,” Brown said. “Down games, up games, they’re still cheering no matter what. Even in this championship game, we’re down 12-1 and they’re still cheering if someone gets on base. It’s amazing.”

Fetterick, like Brown, was in awe of the support of the Brocton community throughout the trip.

“I’d like to say thank you to all the parents, the fans, everybody that traveled this trip to come support us,” Fetterick said. “It’s great for the town, the community, the school. I can’t be more thankful to be the coach of this team.”

Brown, a co-captain who will undoubtedly go down as one of the best pitchers to ever play for Brocton, thanked his senior teammates for having his back throughout his career.

“I just want to thank the rest of the seniors, especially the ones not playing baseball after their senior year. It was amazing playing this last game with you, and I want to wish you the best of luck in the future,” said Brown, a Fredonia Blue Devils baseball commit.

Fetterick, who returned as coach this season after spending a year away from the dugout, was emotional when speaking of his feelings of the Brocton senior class, who played its final game for the Bulldogs on Saturday.

“I almost feel like a father to these kids. … I wish them all the best in their endeavors in life,” Fetterick said. “You’ve got to be so proud of these kids.”