COLONIE Niskayuna's Tommy Favata will remember his 16th birthday.
Favata pitched three shutout innings and drove in the go-ahead run to lead Niskayuna to a 16-6 victory over Colonie in Monday's 15-year-old division Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional final at Cook Park.
"I just knew what I had to do to keep the (South Colonie) off the scoreboard," said Favata, whose team led 7-6 when he entered the game. "That first inning was tough knowing the score was so close. My fastball was working and my curveball was good, so I just settled in and threw the best I could."
Niskayuna completed an undefeated run through the regional and advanced to the Babe Ruth World Series Aug. 18-25 in Arkansas, while Colonie finished with a 5-1 record as the host team.
"To advance this far was our goal since the first day of practice at the end of May," said Niskayuna coach Chris Bianchi.
"This is a tough loss to swallow," said South Colonie coach Quentin Jensen. "The biggest thing that hurt us today was our walks. We had a good chance to win. We are a good hitting team and we took the lead early, but we didn't play good defense and we couldn't throw strikes. I wouldn't do a thing different, though."
Colonie built a 5-1 lead with a big second inning. Drew Patentreger lofted a sacrifice fly to drive one run in, and Nick Donato added a grand slam to put Colonie on top.
"I was very patient at the plate, and it paid off," Donato said. "I hit a curve ball that was hanging up and away. I just wanted it to go over the rightfielder's head, but I think the wind got caught of it and before I knew it, I was watching it clear the fence."