It wasn't Zach Carlson's best performance of the season, but he came up big when he needed to.
The senior pitcher worked his way out of several jams to help the Saratoga Central Catholic baseball team beat Hudson 3-2 in Friday's Section II, Class B championship game at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy.
I had my worst stuff in years, definitely, said Carlson.
"He didn't have his best stuff, but he's gutty," said Saratoga Catholic coach Phonsey Lambert. "I don't know how he did it, but he has so much guts."
Hudson threatened to take the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Brett Williams tripled home Chad Mortefolio with the tying run, but Carlson induced a one-out grounder and threw home to get Williams and keep the score tied at 2.
The Bluehawks had another opportunity in the top of the fifth. Hudson put runners on second and third with one out, but Carl-son struck out Mortefolio and " following an intentional walk to Williams " got Dave Ellis to pop out to end the inning.
The top-seeded Saints took advantage of two Hudson errors to grab a 3-2 lead. With two outs, Vince Farfaglia reached on an error and moved to third on Neil Callahan's single. Shane Matthews followed with a fly ball that was dropped in left field, which allowed Farfaglia to score.
"We feel we create our own breaks," said Lambert. "We knew it was going to be tight, so I told the guys it was going to be a one-inning game, and we needed to win each inning."
Carlson settled down after Saratoga Catholic took the lead. He retired Hudson in order in the sixth and allowed only a one-out single in the seventh to seal the victory.
It was the Saints' first Section II title since 2000 and moved them into Wednesday's regional against Section VII champion Plattsburgh. The winner plays Section X champ Ogdensburg Thursday. ""