The Oneonta High baseball team will be running a little late Tuesday.
Section Four Class B champion OHS will play its first night game of the season _ at 7 p.m. Tuesday _ when the Yellowjackets (21-2) meet Section Three winner Syracuse Westhill (20-4) in a state quarterfinal.
The Class B clash will be the second part of a state-quarterfinal doubleheader at DeLutis Field on the Rome Air Force Base as Interscholastic Athletic Conference champion Lansing (23-0) of Section Four will play South Lewis (20-2) of the host section in a Class C game at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"Lansing got the 4:30 p.m. game because they have to travel farther than we do _ by 19 miles," said OHS coach Joe Hughes, whose team beat defending Class B state champion Chenango Valley, 11-10, in the Section Four final Thursday at Conlon Field in Binghamton. "It's not that much farther, but I guess it was to somebody in Lansing."
Hughes said unbeaten senior right-hander Ben Moxley will get the start for the Jackets, who followed their second straight Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship with their first sectional title since 2002.
"The last two days of practice, we're just trying to get better," said Hughes, whose program made its first and only appearance in a state-championship game in 2002 _ a season that ended with a 10-3 loss to W.T. Clarke in the Class B state final. "You don't know what situation may come up, so we want to be prepared for anything that may develop."
Moxley (6-0) hasn't been on the mound since last Tuesday, when he four-hit Waverly on 80 pitches in a 6-1 sectional semifinal victory at home. Hughes said senior lefty Mike Calkins (2-2) and senior righty Mark Giallanzo (7-0), who both pitched against CV on Thursday, will be available as well. OHS also has senior right-handers Sean Getman (3-0) and Conor Youngs (3-0), if needed.
Westhill got a one-hitter from senior lefty Alex Godzak at DeLutis Field on Saturday, when it beat Cazenovia, 8-1, in the Section Three Class B title game.
"They're a fundamental team, very disciplined at the plate and they don't seem to hurt themselves," said Hughes, who scouted Saturday's game. "They're a good baseball team and have a couple of quality players for sure.
"You win 20 games because you have good pitching, good hitting and good defense," he continued. "At this level, everyone has a good, quality team. It's just good baseball."
Westhill won back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010.
Conlon Field will host the Class B state semifinals and championship game Saturday. The Oneonta-Westhill winner will play in the 1 p.m. state semifinal Saturday, which will be followed by the state final at 4 p.m.
"It's pretty clear what the stakes are and what the ultimate goal is," said Hughes, whose team has won 13 in a row. "To get there, we have to keep it simple and play good baseball."
Oneonta's losses this season came against Class AA programs as the Jackets fell to Union-Endicott (2-1) and Niskayuna (4-1) in April. Calkins was Oneonta's pitcher of record in both setbacks.
The latest New York State Sports Writers Association poll (May 27) ranks OHS first and Westhill sixth in Class B.
Section Four will host a Class D state quarterfinal at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday as Hancock (20-3) will play Section Three winner Oriskany (17-5) at Broome Community College.
Top-ranked Hancock won its third straight Section Four crown Thursday at Damaschke Field in Oneonta, where the Wildcats beat Richfield Springs, 7-0. RS defeated Milford, 5-3, in a semifinal at Damaschke Field the same day to advance to the sectional title game.
Oriskany earned the Section Three title Saturday with an 8-2 victory over Brookfield at DeLutis Field. Oriskany is ranked 16th in the state.
Hancock fell, 3-2, to Brookfield in a Class D state quarterfinal last season.
Tuesday's winner will advance to a state semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday back at BCC, which will host the state final at 4 p.m. the same day.
Dean Russin can be reached at email@example.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.