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July 23, 2016
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Diamond facets and emerald greens

Sullivan West senior Karl Knecht fires away against Tri-Valley. Knecht recorded two wins in one week as the Bulldogs beat the Bears 8-2 and then got a 5-1 league win over Liberty.
Photos by Richard A. Ross

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood/ And sorry I could not travel both/ And be one traveler,” mused Robert Frost in his immortal poem “The Road Not Taken.” Each day of the glorious spring, this writer encounters crossroads that lead to a variety of sports and schools. Though these choices are far less consequential than Frost’s opting to become a poet by “taking the path less traveled by,” they are difficult choices nonetheless, for I love all of the spring sports.

Opting to partake of a baseball game invariably means passing up a golf match, a softball game or a track meet that day. Fortunately, by spring’s end my sojourns will have taken me down all of the various roads to bear witness in words and images to the most glorious sports season of the school year.

On April 9, the road led to a non-league game at Tri-Valley as the visiting Class B Bulldogs of Sullivan West got set to test their skills against the reigning Section Nine Class C champion Bears. Taking the mound for Sullivan West was senior Karl Knecht. His adversary was T-V sophomore Justin Swarthout. Winning baseball games comes down to capitalizing on opportunities, something Tri-Valley failed to do in the first two innings with runners in scoring position. By comparison, the Westies made the most of their chances principally behind the bat of junior Patrick Pierce, who drove in five of the eventual eight runs scored by the Dawgs in their 8-2 victory.

Pierce also came on in relief of Knecht to pitch the final three innings. Knecht and Pierce would team up again on April 16 in the team’s first league game of the year for a 5-1 win over Liberty as Knecht got the mound victory and southpaw Pierce wielded the big stick to drive in a run with a booming double as the Bulldogs improved to 4-1 (1-0 OCIAA). Liberty fell to 0-2 (0-1 OCIAA).

The three-game series continued as the week progressed. The Bears dropped to 0-3 (0-1 OCIAA) behind a tough 9-8 league opening loss to Tuxedo. Monticello battled Cornwall to a 2-2 tie in the tenth inning on April 15 before the game was halted. It will be continued on April 18, before they play the final game of their three game series. It’s been many years since the Panthers have beaten Cornwall. Ben Kapito pitched for the Monties.

In girls golf the Fallsburg Lady Comets embarked on their goal to secure a fourth straight Division IV title by edging Sullivan West 98-100 in the season opener at the Villa Roma. Fallsburg senior Brooke Rappaport and Sullivan West junior Erin Finn each shot 31 over the six-hole abbreviated match on a chilly April 11. Sullivan West sophomore Daphne Muzuruk shot a 32. Fallsburg junior Danielle Stratton shot a 33, while sophomore rising star Madison Levine posted a 34. All of Fallsburg’s golfers, including senior Melissa Melko, made sectionals last year. Stratton played at her second state tourney. Muzuruk was also a Section IX qualifier.

In boys golf, Sullivan West began its quest for an uncanny tenth straight Division IV crown by edging Tri-Valley 252-255 and handily beating Fallsburg 252-293 to go to 2-0 in the OCIAA. They lost their non-league opener to Warwick. Drew Billard led the way with a four-over-par 39 on the front nine at the Villa Roma. Tri-Valley’s leading golfer was Kyle Rogers (44), while Fallsburg’s leader was Sundar Pratt (48).

This week features one of the season’s most prestigious local track meets, as the Tri-Valley Invitational gets underway on April 20 at 10 a.m.

Visit for photos from the Sullivan West-Tri-Valley baseball game and the aforementioned girls and boys golf matches, as well as ongoing events throughout the spring.