Senior Jonathan Vega’s walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning sent Oneonta High’s baseball team into the Section Four Class B semifinals Thursday.
With the bases full and two outs in the seventh, Vega sent a drive that short-hopped the fence in left to score Conor Tavarone as the third-seeded Yellowjackets beat visiting Dryden, 7-6.
The Yellowjackets (13-6), winners of the 2012 Class B state championship, will travel to second-seeded Chenango Forks on Tuesday in the semifinals. OHS lost twice to the Blue Devils this season.
Forks (11-5) advanced with a 14-0 win over seventh-seeded Newark Valley on Thursday.
Oneonta watched a 6-2 lead slip away as sixth-seeded Dryden scored twice in each of the fifth and sixth innings to tie the score.
In the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Tavarone walked to lead off. Classmate Josh Garufi then dropped a single in shallow left that sent Tavarone to second. Collin Neer, another sophomore, then walked to load the bases.
After a strikeout and a popout, Vega delivered the winning hit.
“Not bad for a bunch of sophomores,” said OHS coach Joe Hughes, who graduated all but one starter off of last season’s team and has six sophomores contributing heavily to this year’s squad.
After Dryden scored a run in the top of the first, senior Chris Pindar’s fourth home run of the season — a two-run shot to left — gave the Yellowjackets a 2-1 lead.
Matt Bitzer extended Oneonta’s lead to 3-1 with a bases-loaded walk in the third inning.
The Lions (12-7) scored once in the top of the fourth, but Oneonta answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Sophomore Noah Sheehan hit an RBI single, Bitzer drew another bases-loaded walk and the third run scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-2.