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Hoffman's gem leads Shaker past Colonie

Eight years ago, Ed Dopp accepted the first Section II Class AA baseball championship plaque for Shaker.

Thursday night, Dopp handed the newest Sectional championship plaque to former player Steve Frank after the 1987 Shaker graduate guided the Blue Bison to their second Class AA title.

Jeff Hoffman pitched a complete-game shutout, and Bob Derico drove in three runs to lead Shaker to a 6-0 victory over crosstown rival Colonie in the Class AA final at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy.

\It doesn't get any better than that, said Frank, who was the junior varsity team coach during Shaker's 2003 Sectional championship season. "These guys have put in a lot of time and hard work to get to this point."

The fourth-seeded Blue Bison (17-6) staked Hoffman to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and Hoffman did the rest as he limited No. 2 Colonie (18-3) to three hits and struck out nine batters.

"The emotions of playing in an atmosphere like this with a crowd of this size [more than 2,500] are kind of overwhelming at first," said Hoffman. "But when they got me those three runs, that helped me to breathe a bit."

"He's just overpowering," Colonie coach Kevin Halburian said of Hoffman, who will be pitching for East Carolina next spring. "He throws a very heavy, hard ball that's difficult to hit."

Hoffman helped his own cause in the first inning with a single that drove in right fielder Joey Bilynsky with the game's first run. Two batters later, Derico drove a Matt Snyder pitch to center field that brought Hoffman and first baseman Drew Lasky home to make the score 3-0.

Shaker got to Snyder again in the top of the third inning. Lasky drew a lead-off walk and reached second on a passed ball. Third baseman Derek Gardella then lined a single to drive in Lasky for a 4-0 lead.

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