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Hoffman's gem leads Shaker past Colonie

A one-out double by catcher Bryan Egan chased Snyder. Halburian brought in Chris Kalica, who pitched six innings in last Saturday's 6-5 semifinal victory over Shenendehowa, and after issuing an intentional walk to Derico, Kalica struck out the next two Blue Bison batters to get out of the third inning with no further damage.

Kalica continued to keep Shaker off the scoreboard over the next three innings, but Colonie never got any runs off Hoffman. The Garnet Raiders came close in the bottom of the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Hoffman struck out Kalica on three pitches to end the threat.

"We had the right people [at the plate], and 90 percent of the time we get those runners in," said Halburian. "But we didn't do that tonight."

Shaker added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Derico and a sacrifice fly by left fielder Eric Egan. Then, Hoffman finished the job by getting three ground outs in the bottom of the seventh.

"I knew Derek [Gardella] was warming up in the bullpen [in the top of the seventh], and I told [pitching coach] Wayne Jones that there was no way I was coming out," said Hoffman.

Shaker advances to Monday's regional game against Section III champion Liverpool in Rome, while Colonie faces the difficult prospect of replacing 13 seniors next year including Kalica, Snyder and catcher Brian O'Keefe.

"Losing to anybody in a final stinks," said Halburian. "These guys worked very hard all year to get to this point, and it hurts when you lose.""

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