BINGHAMTON — Michael DuShane stared down at the batter, went through his windup and fired.
A sinking line drive shot toward right field, but a charging Carson Reeves laid out to make the catch.
Behind a combined no-hitter from DuShane and Bryce Gautreau and clutch hitting down the lineup, Ticonderoga defeated Cooperstown, 7-3, for the NYSPHSAA Class C baseball title Saturday at Binghamton University.
It became the first Section VII team since Lake Placid in 1994 to win a state championship.
The top-ranked Sentinels (19-2) achieved a goal they had been working toward since dropping a heart-breaking, extra-inning loss in the championship game a year ago — Ticonderoga’s first state title.
“We finished business,” Gautreau said.
After Reeves — who was celebrating his 18th birthday — made the catch, DuShane threw his glove high in the air as the team rushed the mound for a raucous celebration and dogpile.
Ticonderoga coach Dan Dorsett said he thought he was going to get emotional after the final out but figured he would save that for later.
Instead, he soaked in the moment.
“I was a kid again for a second,” he said.
DuShane, who was on the mound when Ticonderoga lost a season ago, pitched five gritty innings before running into trouble in the sixth.
DuShane gave way for a key relief appearance from Gautreau and came back in the seventh to close out the win.
“To have this moment right now is unbelievable,” said DuShane, who struck out six, walked six and went 2-for-4 at the plate.
DuShane and Gautreau’s combined no-hit performance was a bit unconventional — along with the free passes, Ticonderoga committed four errors — but the two came through despite a long pitching layoff as workhorse Russell Gallo III carried much of the postseason load.
“Bryce and Michael were outstanding all day,” Dorsett said. “I told them before the game, 'You don’t have to win it by yourself. Win it together, rely on each other,' and that’s exactly what they did. They haven’t pitched live in a game since before Memorial Day weekend.”
Cooperstown gave a scare in the sixth inning when a walk, a balk and an error made it 7-2.
Gautreau came on with runners on the corners and no outs but induced three straight popups — one a sacrifice fly that made it 7-3 — to end the Hawkeyes' most potent threat.
“You don’t get a save for it, but it’s a save because if we don’t get out of that inning limiting the damage, we’re in big-time trouble in the next inning, especially when they had the last ups,” Dorsett said. “That was a huge moment.”
The Hawkeyes had runners on the corners with two outs in the fourth inning, but Jack Grinnell ended the inning on a dart to catch Cooperstown trying to steal second.
Grinnell caught two trying to steal Saturday and threw out all four runners who tried to swipe second over the weekend.
As has been a mantra all season, Ticonderoga struck first, and loudly.
After Gallo — who pitched a complete-game win against Gananda in the semifinals — worked a one-out walk, Nick Robarge-Green launched a shot over the left field fence for an early 2-0 lead.
“He had been in a little bit of a dry spell, but I could tell in batting practice that he was coming back, and it was just a matter of time that he’d get one,” Dorsett said.
“Coach always tells us, ‘Draw first blood, draw first blood,’ and that’s what we did,” said Robarge-Greene, who finished with three hits.
Second-ranked Cooperstown (21-5) cut that deficit in half after taking advantage of a big error in the bottom of the frame, eventually scoring on a ground out.
The Sentinels got that run back on an RBI infield single from DuShane in the third and tacked on three more in the fourth on a sac fly from Reeves, a single from Grinnell and a double by Gallo.
Reeves rounded out the scoring with another sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
Terrence Benedict added two singles, and Monty Benedict doubled and drew an intentional walk for Ticonderoga.
Cooperstown starter Chris Ubner took the loss in three-plus innings of work.
The Sentinels will bid farewell to a core group of seniors in Grinnell, DuShane, Robarge-Greene, Reeves, Gallo and Gautreau.
But they get to go out with some championship hardware.
“I don’t have the words to explain it – it’s the best feeling ever,” Reeves said.
Dorsett said a lot of former players wished him luck prior to the game.
“This is a team program,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time. We have 14, 15 sectional championships. We win regional games, we get to state final fours, and now we’ve won. That’s everybody. These guys finished the job that everybody started.
Ticonderoga 7, Cooperstown 3
Ticonderoga 201 310 0 — 7 10 4
Cooperstown 100 002 0 — 3 0 2
DuShane, Gautreau (6), DuShane (7) and Grinnell. Ubner, Haney (4) and Bonderoff. WP- DuShane. LP- Ubner. 2B- Gallo (TCS), Robarge-Greene (TCS), M. Benedict (TCS). HR- Robarge-Greene (TCS).