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Blue Bison come within inches of baseball crown

When the ball left Jeff Hoffman's bat, it looked like the Shaker baseball team was going to win its first state title.

Victor outfielder Josh Ludwig had other ideas, though.

Ludwig made a running grab on Hoffman's bases-loaded drive in the bottom of the seventh inning to preserve Victor's 5-4 victory in Sunday's conclusion of the Class AA state final in Binghamton.

When it was first hit, I thought it was going to be a hit, but it hung up long enough for the kid [Ludwig] to get there, said Shaker coach Steve Frank.

The Class AA final was suspended by rain Saturday with Victor (Section V) leading 4-3 in the fourth inning. The Blue Devils tacked on a run in the top of the sixth when the game resumed Sunday morning on Josh Maves' RBI single.

"That was a bloop that landed behind second base," said Frank. "It was one of those hits where the second baseman, the shortstop and the center fielder all converged, but they couldn't get to it before it fell in. That allowed the run to score from second base."

Bryan Egan singled home fellow senior Hoffman in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull Shaker within a run. The Blue Bison then loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter in the bottom of the seventh before Ludwig tracked down Hoffman's fly ball to end the game.

Things started well for Shaker against Victor. The Blue Bison scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning and added another in the third to build a 3-1 advantage.

The momentum swung in Victor's favor in the fourth inning, though. With two on and two out, Cary McDonald hit a three-run homer off senior pitcher Zach Breen to give the Blue Devils a 4-3 lead.

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