The Post-Journal

Destiny’s Team

The Year Falconer Sent Baseball Coach Off In Grand Style
alconer baseball team members Jason DeStevens, Joe Morris and Brad Peterson
In this June 12, 2000 file photo, from the left, Falconer baseball team members Jason DeStevens, Joe Morris and Brad Peterson are all smiles during a parade through Falconer in celebration of the Golden Falcons’ New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C championship. P-J file photo.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article appeared in The Post-Journal in June 2000 after the Falconer Central School baseball team captured the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C championship. As the 20th anniversary of that title approaches, it was deemed appropriate to run the story again.

Falconer baseball coach Denny Meszaros called it destiny.

Who could argue?

How else can you explain a season that began with losses in four of the Golden Falcons’ first six games, only to end it with Sam Marra’s two-run home run in the ninth inning of the state championship contest?

“It was meant to be,” Meszaros said. “You can’t finish any better than this.”

So when the Golden Falcons (23-7) finally left the field at P&C Stadium in Syracuse last Saturday after outlasting Saratoga Catholic, 5-3, they not only claimed Section VI’s only baseball title this year, but also took with them the first state team championship in school history.

“That’s a Hollywood script,” said Meszaros, who retired with 509 career victories, second-most in Western New York history. “Nobody would believe it.”

Nobody but the Golden Falcons.

Led by the inspired postseason play of Marra, John Moore and Joe Ribaudo, Falconer defeated Pine Valley, John F. Kennedy, Silver Creek, Oakfield-Alabama and Pine Plains to earn a berth in the title game.

And when Marra deposited a pitch from Jeb Towne into the bullpen, the Golden Falcons’ season was nearly complete.

The rest was left to Moore, who capped off his brilliant four-hitter by retiring the Saints in order in the bottom of the ninth.

“I knew exactly what I was going to throw every pitch,” Moore said. “Everything went right today.”

When the game was over, Meszaros and his players were presented with the state championship plaque, a cake was brought onto the field, pictures were taken and media interviews were conducted.

“Finally, it has paid off for us and our coach,” senior Steve Ribbing said. “What a way to send him off.”

Still, there was some unfinished business to attend to.

Long after the on-field postgame celebration, Moore returned to the pitcher’s mound, the site of his greatest career triumph, and scooped up some dirt and placed it in plastic bag for posterity.

“It’s kind of sad,” Moore admitted 20 minutes earlier, “because it’s my last high school game ever. I don’t want it to end. But for Coach, me, Sam, the seniors, this is the best way you could ever go out.”


The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.