Montgomery County’s biggest sports stories and moments of 2022


As the year ends, it’s time to look back at some of the biggest sports happenings around Montgomery County from 2022.

Here’s a selection of the top stories from the area this season, listed in chronological order.

Jan. 19: Amsterdam girls’ basketball coach Eric Duemler won his 300th game, as the Rams topped Scotia-Glenville 73-31. At the time, in his 21st season, Duemler was 300-133. He finished last season as the eighth all-time winningest coach in Section II history.

Feb. 16: Dale Smith was named the new varsity baseball coach at Fort Plain, replacing the legendary Craig Phillips. Phillips won 806 total games, a NYSPHSAA record, and two state championships, 12 Section II titles and 26 league crowns.

Feb. 26: Canajoharie/Fort Plain’s Reed Douglass won the NYSPHSAA Division II 172-pound wrestling title with a dramatic last-second takedown. Trailing 1-0, Douglass took down La Salle’s Ray Hutton to win the title by a 3-1 decision at MVP Arena. He was the combined program’s first state title winner.

March: The OESJ boys’ basketball team won the Section II Class D title on March 5 with a 52-45 victory over Northville. The Wolves advanced to the state final four with a 57-46 regional final win over Seton Catholic, but had their season end at 15-10 with a state semifinal loss to top-ranked Avoca/Prattsburgh, 59-42.

June 10-11: On the first day of the state championships in track and field, Amsterdam senior Garrett McHeard won the Division I boys’ shot put title with a throw of 56 feet, 3.5 inches. The next day, Fonda-Fultonville senior Alessandro Saltsman, on his last throw, won the Federation discus title with a toss of 182-5.

July 18: Amsterdam graduate and Rutgers University pitcher Dale Stanavich was selected by the Miami Marlins in the MLB Draft. The Marlins chose the left-handed pitcher with the 232nd pick in the eighth round. The previous spring at Rutgers, Stanavich struck out 51, walked nine, earned 10 saves, had a 1-2 record and a 2.10 ERA in 34 1-3  innings pitched. He made the ABCA East All-Region First Team.

Aug. 3: The Amsterdam Mohawks won their sixth Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League title by beating Batavia in a best-of-3 series. After winning Game 1 at home, 9-5, the Mohawks traveled to Batavia, where they lost Game 2, 8-1, before rebounding the same night to win the decisive Game 3, 7-2. Keith Griffin was named the league’s coach of the year, infielder Gage Miller was player of the year and Santhosh Gottam was reliever of the year.

August: Mike Mancini followed in his father, Alex’s footsteps, when he took over the Fonda-Fultonville football team. Mike Mancini was a 2002 graduate of the school and threw for 4,766 yards during his time there. The Braves finished this season with a 9-1 record, not losing until the Section II Class C semifinals.

Nov. 12: Fonda-Fultonville senior Bennett Melita followed his Section II Class C victory a week earlier with an individual state championship. At Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, Melita won the 3.1-mile Class C state run in 16:36.6, more than 23 seconds ahead of the runner-up. The Braves finished fifth in the team standings.

November: Amsterdam seniors Jhai Vellon and Ceasar Thompson finished record-breaking football seasons. Vellon, a left-handed quarterback, completed 69.7% of his passes for a school-record 2,295 yards and 22 touchdowns. He added 754 yards and 15 TDs as a runner. Thompson had a school-record 53 catches for 1,032 yards and 8 TDs despite missing a game and a half.

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