WARRENSBURG - Midway through a baseball game against perennial league standout Corinth, Warrensburg Varsity Baseball Coach Rex Reynolds called his team together when they were down by one run in the fifth inning.
"What kind of character does this team have?" he asked his players. "Do we have the character to win this ball game?"
Two innings and a flurry of hits later, Reynolds had his answer, as his team surpassed the challenge and defeated Corinth - which annually fields a baseball team that's among the leaders of the Adirondack League.
Monday's game started out shaky for Warrensburg, as a Corinth run was walked in, but the team rebounded with their own offensive show, scoring two early on, plus two more in the third inning.
The team faltered however in the fourth inning, giving up three unearned runs to allow a Corinth comeback which tied the game at 4-4.
Corinth then pulled ahead with a sacrifice fly.
Warrensburg's starting pitcher John Joseph, who had found his rhythm but had run his course, was then relieved by Mike Perrone.
When the Burghers were up in the sixth inning, Jason Power led off, took two balls then slammed a home run, tying the score at 5-5.
In the top of the seventh, the Burgher infield, combined with Perrone's pitching, kept Corinth at bay.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, Warrensburg pulled off one of their 11th-hour game-saving offensive rallies.
Nick Monroe lead off with an infield single, and Donovan Santisteban was sent to first as a pinch runner.
Brendan Frye blasted the ball through the infield for a single, advancing Santisteban one base.
Mike Curtis Followed with another infield single, advancing the Burghers on base without an out tallied.
Then Mike Perrone ripped a fast shot, and Santisteban scored, to end the game at 6-5.
Among the standouts in the game were Perrone, who not only performed well in his relief pitching, but by scoring twice and hitting a triple in the first inning and slugging the game-winning RBI.
After the game, Perrone was credited his teammates.
"Our team made some really great plays behind me that saved the game," he said. "All our players really love baseball and the team really came out to play today."
Coach Reynolds gathered the players together for a debriefing.
"That was a nice 'gut-check' win," he said, noting that four of the team's five games in 2010 had been decided in the last inning.
Jason Power stepped away from the huddle to say a few words about his first Varsity home run.
"I hit it on the perfect spot on the bat," he said. "As soon as I hit the ball, I knew it was going somewhere."
Warrensburg's team may also be 'going somewhere' this year, as they've won against three formidable opponents - Corinth, Hartford and Bolton - and nearly beat Hudson Falls, a far larger school. They're now 2-0 in the Adirondack League, and are facing a promising future in league play.
Watching his players leave the field Monday, Coach Reynolds looked at their smiling faces.
"They're the working man's ball players," he said, noting he had a balanced team representing varied skills. "At any time, any one of them can step up and be the hero."
As of Monday, they had a busy week ahead, facing Whitehall, Hadley-Luzerne and Salem - on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday respectively. These games are followed by North Warren on Monday, Fort Edward on Wednesday, and Lake George on Friday April 30.