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Eagles claim Class D title, return to FWR

OBSERVER Photo by Scott Kindberg North Collins pitcher Derek Ebersole, right, and catcher Vincent Montaldi celebrate after the Eagles’ 4-1 win over Franklinville in the Section VI Class D championship baseball game at Diethrick Park in Jamestown on Saturday.

JAMESTOWN — Derek Ebersole toed the rubber early Saturday afternoon, looked in for the sign, began his windup and then fired to the plate.

Strike three.

With that, Ebersole let out a yell, tossed his cap and glove toward the heavens and raced toward catcher Vincent Montaldi where they wrapped each other in a bear hug. With Montaldi still clutching the baseball in his right hand during the embrace, the battery mates were soon joined by the rest of the North Collins team.

The Eagles sure had plenty to celebrate and, fittingly, Ebersole was in the middle of it all.

The senior right-hander allowed five hits, struck out 10, helped his own cause with a double and single, and he scored twice to lead top-seeded North Collins to a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Franklinville in the Section VI Class D championship baseball game at Diethrick Park.

OBSERVER Photo by Scott Kindberg North Collins third baseman Walter Ebersole chases Franklinville’s Isaac Towne back to second base during a rundown during Saturday’s Section VI Class D championship baseball game at Diethrick Park in Jamestown.

“I’m so proud of these kids,” Eagles coach Scott Gill said. “We laid the foundation last year after the championship game. We put in a lot of work in the offseason, and went down to Florida. All those things that we did helped us pave the way for today.”

The win advances the defending champion Eagles (15-3) into the Far West Regional at 4 p.m. next Friday against Arkport-Canaseraga of Section VI at Salamanca High School.

It’s a safe bet that Ebersole will make his presence felt there, too.

Because, well, that’s been part of his DNA since he first became a varsity athlete at NCCS. Whether it’s on the basketball court, the soccer pitch or the diamond, Ebersole has usually found a way to leave his mark.

“He is just a grinder,” Gill said. ” He stays even-keeled, he’s just so fun to watch, he hits his spots and he works fast. I love the kid. He’s fantastic.”

OBSERVER Photo by Scott Kindberg North Collins shortstop Matthew Warsaw reaches for a throw to second base during Saturday’s Section VI Class D championship baseball game at Diethrick Park in Jamestown.

Saturday was just another example, as Ebersole, who will attend Houghton University in the fall, doubled in the first, singled in the third and came around to score both times. By the end of the third inning, the Eagles led 4-0, which was more than enough to post their second straight sectional crown.

“Houghton is getting a good one,” Gill said of Ebersole, who will play baseball for the Highlanders, along with North Collins’ teammate Matthew Warsaw, next season. “He and Matty are going to go together. It’s going to be fun to watch them play at the next level.”

But, first thing’s first.

Like the Far West Regional.

“Since the beginning of last year we had our eye on the prize,” said Warsaw, who collected two hits, including a double. “We’re going at it. We’re putting on the gas all week.”

OBSERVER Photo by Scott Kindberg North Collins pitcher Derek Ebersole delivers to the plate during Saturday’s Section VI Class D championship baseball game at Diethrick Park in Jamestown.

NOTES: Franklinville’s lone run came in the fourth when losing pitcher Matthew Spittler singled with one out and scored on Collin Mooney’s triple. … Spittler and Bretton Blecha combined on a five-hitter for Franklinville (8-10), which was seeking its first sectional title since 1975.

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