Shen baseball falls to Baldwinsville, 4-0, in regional quarterfinal
Courtesy MICHAEL CIGNOLI email@example.com Twitter.com/MCSaratogian
ROME — The chief accomplishment of this year’s Shenendehowa baseball team will not be lost on its school anytime soon. After enduring years of heartbreaking losses in the Section II tournament, this group of Plainsmen hoisted the school’s first sectional title in more than 16 years — a lifetime for some of them — and brought the title of Section II’s best Class AA team in tow to the state quarterfinals here Tuesday night.
Baldwinsville did not care for that, or any of the superlatives that came with it.
At DeLutis Field, the same diamond upon which they captured the Section III championship last week, the Bees found a way to victimize two pitchers who had not lost this season. Perhaps more impressively, their own pair of aces held the potent Plainsmen offense, which had scored 185 runs through 23 games, completely off the scoreboard while handing Shenendehowa a season-ending 4-0 defeat.
“You have to give them credit,” Plainsmen coach Greg Christodulu said. “They made the plays and got the pitching done and kept us off of third base. We didn’t have a third base runner the whole night. We didn’t put as much pressure on them as we’ve done to other teams in the past.”
The offense that largely led the Plainsmen to this point scattered three harmless hits against the Bees’ 1-2 punch of fireballers, Pat Merryweather and Scott Blewett, who combined to strike out nine of them. The Plainsmen stranded eight runners, and went 0-for-8 with them in scoring position.
Shenendehowa was held to a trio of singles: One from outfielder Chris Miller in the second inning, another from catcher Nick Giunta in the third and designated hitter John Novenche’s knock in the sixth.
The Bees got three hits in a three-run fifth inning that turned a 1-0 lead into the 4-0 final score.
“It is frustrating, but that’s baseball,” Giunta said. “Especially in a format like this where you play one game and not a series. Sometimes, that’s what happens. It’s just the luck of the draw.”
Greg Geisel, the senior rock of the Shenendehowa rotation, allowed two runs through 4-1/3 innings. He was pulled one batter after conceding a towering home run to Jacob Norton, a drive that cleared the 324-foot fence in left field by 15 or 20 feet and put Baldwinsville ahead 2-0.
Geisel’s other run scored on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the fourth, which could have been a double-play ball if fielded cleanly. He suffered his first loss of the season, falling to 7-1.
His replacement, sophomore southpaw Bryan Warzek, fared little better in the fifth.
The Plainsmen threw away the would-be second out on a routine grounder to short, putting runners on second and third with one down. A walk loaded the bases for Zach Leo, who hit a 2-RBI single off the mound.
“We left a lot of guys on base,” Christodulu lamented. “Missed opportunities offensively, one or two defensive things that took place in that fifth inning that really separated them.”
The Plainsmen separated themselves from other teams in the program’s recent history by even making it to the state quarterfinals, something that Christodulu said will not soon be forgotten.
Led by their seniors, the Plainsmen went 13-3 in the Suburban Council and finished 20-4 overall.
“That senior group, they reset the standard for Shenendehowa baseball,” Christodulu said.
“We’re proud of all their efforts and all their commitment. … The sad part is that it ends and the guys are going to be graduating here pretty soon, but they have nothing to be ashamed of. They’re a standard that we’re going to hold the next few teams to in the coming years.”
Baldwinsville (20-4) will face Ward Melville in the semifinals Saturday in Binghamton.
“It stings now. I wish we won this game,” Giunta said. “But looking down the road, we did something that hasn’t been done in 16 years. We’re proud of what we did and we had no regrets.”
CLASS AA BASEBALL QUARTERFINALS
Baldwinsville 4, Shenendehowa 0
Shenendehowa 000 000 0 – 0 3 1
Baldwinsville 000 130 x – 4 8 1
Greg Geisel, Bryan Warzek 5, Taylor Vaveurick 6 and Nick Giunta; Pat Merryweather, Scott Blewett 5 and Gabe Levanti.
Records: Shenendehowa 20-4, Baldwinsville 20-4.
Shen baseball wins first Section II title in 17 years, 3-2 win over Shaker
TROY — It’s been more than 16 years in the making, but the Shenendehowa varsity baseball team can once again call itself a Section II champion.
The Plainsmen took advantage of two errors by Shaker to take a 3-2 Class AA victory at Joe Bruno Stadium Friday night in front of a capacity crowd.
A throwing error in the first inning by Shaker’s first baseman allowed Nick Guinta to score, and two wild pitches by Shaker starter Nick Gavin gave Shenendehowa its second run in the second inning, allowing Tyler Vyce to score after his two-out double and Guinta scored the game-winner on Matt Buckley’s RBI single to right field.
It’s been a rough road for the Plainsmen, losing three times in the Section II final in recent years— all in extra innings.
The last appearance for Shenendehowa was in 2012, a 3-2 loss to Columbia in nine innings; a 2-1 loss to Colonie in nine innings occurred in 2006 and a heartbreaking 8-7 loss to LaSalle occurred in 2005.
Shenendehowa took advantage of another Shaker miscue when Nick Guinta’s fly ball to left field was dropped and he snuck into second base on the throw over. He came around to score on Matt Buckley’s blooper to right field that was just out of reach of a diving Garrett Klahr, putting the Plainsmen up 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
The Plainsmen were aggressive, getting three straight hits in the bottom of the fourth, started by senior Chris Miller who raced around from second attempting to score on DH John Novenche’s single to left field. He was thrown out at the plate after a collision with Shaker catcher Brendan Killian. Shenendehowa coach Greg Christodulu argued the call vehemently, but the decision stood.
Shenendehowa bounced back from its early deficit when Vyce hit a two-out single into the left-centerfield gap and would move around the base paths on wild pitches by Shaker starter Nick Gavin to knot the score at two apiece in the bottom of the second.
Shaker answered the Plainsmen’s opening run with one swing— a solo home run by Sean Egan to open the second inning, which knotted the game at one apiece.
Tyler Oppelt later lifted a single to left field and advanced into scoring position after stealing second and the catcher’s throw sailed into centerfield. He scored easily on Garrett Klahr’s RBI single to right for the 2-1 lead.
Shenendehowa got the scoring going early when Giunta reached on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the first inning. He advanced to third when the first baseman attempted to start a double play with a throw to second that went awry, scoring on Matt Buckley’s groundout for the early 1-0 lead.
This is Christodulu’s first Section II championship as skipper of the Plainsmen, taking over the program after long-time manager Jim Carrese announced his resignation last year.
The Plainsmen will travel to face Baldwinsville 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Delutis Field in Rome.
Mechanicville falls to Voorheesville, 3-0 in Class C quarterfinal
Courtesy DAVID M. JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter.com/davidmichael10
VOORHEESVILLE — Mechanicville’s baseball team was able to put a runner on base in each inning of its Class C quarterfinal playoff game against Vorheesville Monday.
What the Red Raiders failed to do, however, is bring any of those baserunners home.
Pitcher Nick Chiseri stymied Mechanicville hitters inning after inning in a three-hit shutout as Voorheesville pulled out a 3-0 win.
Chiseri, a freshman left-hander, allowed no earned runs on three hits, two walks and struck out six in his first playoff start.
“You’ve got to go and pitch confident,” Chiseri said. “You’ve just got to locate and mix up the pitches. But my defense played great defense behind me.”
Mechanicville pitcher Nate Popiel’s compete game five-hitter might have been enough on another day.
“Nate pitched well,” said Mechanicville Coach Tom McBride of the junior who threw on three days rest. “He’s a gamer. He kept us in it. We just didn’t get the hits we needed.”
Popiel struck out six, walked four and made few mistakes outside of his first pitch to start the fifth inning. Voorheesville leadoff hitter Nico Church, the recipient of that pitch, took advantage with a solo home run to left field to give the No. 10 seeded Blackbirds a 3-0 lead.
Mechanicville’s best scoring opportunity turned out to be the top of the first inning. Adam Dunn drew a leadoff walk for the visitors then stole second base. The senior advanced to third on Nico Dumas’ groundout but Chiseri struck out Zach Perras to end the inning.
It turned out to be the last inning a Mechanicville runner advanced past second.
Neither pitcher allowed a hit until the third inning. Ryan Losavio’s hustle beat a throw to first for an infield single to end Chiseri’s no-hit bid in the top of the inning and Leadoff hitter Tom Gallager hit a leadoff single for the Blackbirds in the bottom half.
Gallager eventually scored the game-winning run.
Mike Young hit a bases loaded double to left that brought Gallager home from third to make it 1-0 and should have scored Mike Hennessy from second base as well. However, the umpire ruled Hennessy did not touch third base and was called out. That negated an impressive play at the plate in which Hennessy vaulted over Red Raiders catcher John McCadden and touched home without being tagged.
Popiel limited the damage to one run by getting the next batter, Kristian Singh to pop up for the third out.
One run was all Chiseri needed though. Mechanicville cleanup hitter Zach Perras was hit by a pitch twice and the visitors got singles from Dunn and Noah Harpe but never consecutively or even in the same inning.
Hennessy made up for his baserunning error with an RBI single in the fourth inning that doubled the hosts’ lead and Chase’s solo homer completed the scoring.
When the Class C brackets came out a week ago, few would have given Mechanicville much chance to even make the quarterfinal round. The No. 15 seeded Red Raiders rode the pitching of Popiel and Losavio’s seventh-inning home run in a 5-4 upset of No. 2 Rensselaer.
“It kind of helped make the season because we were up and down, up and down all year,” McBride said. “That game against Rennsselaer was a statement as to what these kids were made of because that pitcher (Will) Brooking was unbelievable.”
The end of Mechanicville’s playoff run also meant the end of the athletic careers of seven seniors on the squad. Dunn, a three-year varsity player, was the first batter of the game and made the last out — something that happens more often than not for special players according to McBride.
“It happens all the time when the kid who’s the heart and soul of the team, when the season ends that kid makes the last out,” McBride said. “It’s just something symbolic about it.”
VOORHEESVILLE 3, MECHANICVILLE 0
Mechanicville 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
Voorheesville 001 110 x — 3 5 2
Nate Popiel (L) and John McCadden; Nick Chiseri (W) and Jared Daigo.
2B – Mike Young (V).
Records – Mechanicville 9-13; Voorheesville 15-7.
MAY 28 – Shen starter Greg Geisel is golden against LaSalle in 10-0 playoff win.
TROY — With an early six run lead, Shenendehowa starter Greg Geisel was able to cruise against LaSalle Tuesday night at Joe Bruno Stadium as the Plainsmen will face Shaker Friday night in the Section II Class A final, earning the 10-0 shutout win.
Geisel was golden in the semifinal, allowing just two hits in 5-1/3 innings. He walked three batters and struck out six on the night.
“It really helps, right off the bat that I had run support,” Geisel said. “That’s what really set the tone for the game and takes off a lot of pressure.
Geisel was efficient on the mound, giving up only one extra base hit, a double to Jake Bernardo who led off the second inning for LaSalle.
“Everything was equally effective throughout the game,” he said. “My curveball changed as I went through the game and I didn’t throw many change-ups late in the game. I relied on my curveball a lot later in the fourth and fifth inning.”
Heading into Tuesday’s contest, Geisel was able to rest a lot.
“Greg has gotten stronger every start,” Shenendehowa skipper Greg Christodulu said. “He’s been throwing the ball well. The team played relaxed and Greg threw relaxed and I thought he worked well with Nick Giunta behind the plate.”
LaSalle starter Chris Carmel went three innings, giving up eight runs on five hits and saw his defense struggle behind him, committing two errors in the first three innings. Carmel would only be charged with two earned runs on the night after a frightful second inning by the Cadets.
LaSalle gave up five runs on just two hits, courtesy of two errors and also saw Carmel commit a throwing error on a pick-off move and allow a run to score on a wild pitch.
Shenendehowa’s Matt Drum reached on a fielding error by the shortstop before John Novenche singled and Tyler Vyce walked to load the bases.
A second fielding error at short on Brennan McCormack’s grounder allowed Drum to score for the 2-0 and keep the bases full. Kyle McAlonie worked Carmel for an RBI walk, forcing in Novenche for the 3-0 lead. Justin Yurchak delivered and RBI sacrifice fly to right field to score Vyce, giving the Plainsmen a 4-0 lead.
With two outs, Carmel appeared ready to get out of the inning without further damage, but Matt Buckley delivered an RBI single to centerfield, scoring McCormack for a 5-0 lead.
A double steal by Shenendehowa put Buckley and McAlonie in scoring position with McAlonie scoring on Carmel’s wild pitch, giving the Plainsmen the commanding 6-0 lead.
Carmel appeared to bounce back in the third, sending down the first two batters, but gave up a single to McCormack and then hit two consecutive Plainsmen batters. A walk to Justin Yurchak forced in McCormack to give Shenendehowa a 7-0 lead.
“They (LaSalle) kicked it around a little bit,” Christodulu said. “They had an emotional win yesterday, beating Bethlehem in the last inning and that takes a lot out of a ball club.
“They may have started with some excitement, but it’s very difficult to maintain that throughout a seven inning ballgame. You add to that a Shenendehowa team that is long in the line-up with a pitcher that is throwing strikes, keeping them off balance and you could see them take a step back emotionally.”
Shenendehowa pinch-hitter Matt Bloise struck for a lead-off home run in the top of the fifth off Justin Sportman over the left field fence to push the Plainsmen lead to 10-0.
Shenendehowa returns to Joe Bruno Stadium 7 p.m. Friday for the rubber match with Shaker, who the Plainsmen beat at the Troy location handily, but were shutout by the Bison on their own home field this year.
“We have a lot of respect for Shaker, they have come out of that top bracket,” Christodulu said. “We feel good about where we are, how we’re playing offensively and defensively… We feel good about who is going to be on the mound for us and it comes down to who is going to relax and let things happen and take advantage of some opportunities.”
SHENENDEHOWA 10, LASALLE 0
Shenendehowa 151 210 0 — 10 10 0
LaSalle 000 000 0 — 0 2 4
WP: Greg Geisel. LP: Chris Carmel.
2B: (S) Matt Drum. (L) Jake Bernardo. HR: (S) Matt Bloise.
Burnt Hills holds off Saratoga, 8-5
Courtesy MICHAEL CIGNOLI email@example.com Twitter.com/MCSaratogian
MAY 7 – BURNT HILLS — The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Spartans entered the 2012 baseball postseason as a No. 9 seed, which left players with mixed emotions. Though happy their season was not over, they lamented that they might have gotten a better first-round match-up if they had won more regular-season games.
With a playoff spot already locked up this year, the Spartans are not taking their feet off the accelerator. They raced out to a commanding 6-0 lead in the second inning on Tuesday afternoon and weathered a late rally to defeat the Saratoga Blue Streaks 8-5, a result that heavily influences the playoff fortunes of both Suburban Council schools.
“Coach is always talking about getting ahead and putting a team away early,” said first baseman Dan Maynard, one of three Spartans with two-RBI performances at the plate. “We got their starting pitcher out … that inning. He was throwing pretty good. It was really key that we got him out early and put a lot of runs on the board.”
One of the main reasons for that is because Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, a Class A school, qualifies for the Section II playoffs based on a point system.
They amassed enough points to clinch a postseason berth last week, but earned two additional points for beating Saratoga, a AA school. They now have 12, and more points means a better seed.
“If we want to be talked about as one of the better teams in the Suburban Council, we have to continue to play well and win,” Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake coach Rob Duell said.
The win pushed the Spartans’ record to 10-5, and their Suburban Council mark to 7-5. By doing that, they matched their league win total from 2012, when they went 7-9, and did it in four fewer games.
“We thought we did a good job (last season). We were about .500,” Spartans pitcher Dan Nuzzi said. “Obviously, we have to do better if we want a better seed. We don’t want to be put on the bubble. We want to get the best seed that we can so we can get easier teams to play against in the playoffs. Every game is important.”
Nuzzi illustrated that when he stepped to the mound and delivered five dominant innings, retiring 15 of 17 Saratoga batters after he allowed the first two to reach base.
“Hitting the spots, that was important,” he said. “(Catcher Tom Moore) called a great game. Changing up speeds, that was important.”
The Spartans sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning, highlighted by two-RBI hits from Maynard (single) and Robbie Knightes (double). Cody Mooney and Josh Quesada also drove in runs.
They tacked on two more in the fifth inning, when Nuzzi tripled and Ryan McDonnell brought him home. McDonnell later scored on a Mooney double.
Nuzzi did not encounter trouble until the sixth inning, when his pitch count climbed and Saratoga coach Dean Bailey made wholesale line-up substitutions.
The coach removed from the game five players who had gone a combined 0-for-8 with two walks in their 10 plate appearances and sent out five pinch hitters.
Seven of the 10 Blue Streaks safely reached base in that inning, and Jack Herman, Alex Chandler and Kris Muller all scored when Jordan Prehoda wound up at third after an error on a would-be single.
Joey Butler came on in relief and the Blue Streaks stranded the tying run at the plate in both the sixth and seventh innings.
It was the fifth straight loss for Saratoga, which fell to 6-10 overall and 3-9 in the Suburban Council with four games remaining.
With no point system in AA and the other benchmark for an automatic playoff berth, a .500 league record, out of the question, they now must appeal to the playoff organizers to secure a postseason berth.
Asked if he was planning to make such a petition after the season, Bailey said he was not thinking that far in advance.
“The only thing that we’re going to focus on is Thursday at Shenendehowa,” he said. “We can’t worry about anything else in terms of what may happen or what will happen in the future. We have to control our destiny in terms of how we play the last four games.”
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE 8, SARATOGA 5
Saratoga 000 004 1 — 5 8 0
BH-BL 060 020 x — 8 8 2
Sean Major L, Jake Taylor 2 and Marshall Kiesow and Greg Talamo 6; Dan Nuzzi W, Joey Butler S-6 and Tom Moore.
2B: Alex Chandler (S); Robbie Knightes, Cody Mooney (B)
3B: Dan Nuzzi (B).
Records: Saratoga 6-10, 3-9. Burnt Hills 10-5, 7-5.
APRIL 19 – Shen pitcher Greg Geisel throws a gem vs. Bethlehem, 12-2
CLIFTON PARK — The Shenendehowa varsity baseball team expected to have its hands full with Bethlehem Central Friday afternoon, but it was the Plainsmen who gave the Eagles fits in a 12-2 Suburban Council victory.
Entering the contest with only one loss, Bethlehem was the favorite at Plainsmen Park, but a four-run first inning, started by Justin Yurchak’s double to left field gave starter Greg Geisel more than enough support, scattering five hits on his way to the victory.
Yurchak stung a double to left field off Bethlehem starter Pat Rorick and came around immediately on Matt Buckley’s RBI single to centerfield. After Chris Miller walked, John Novenche ripped a two-run single through the left side of the infield and came around immediately after on Matt Drum’s RBI single for the four-run first inning.
That was more than enough for Geisel.
“Greg (Geisel) has worked hard, he has bought into everything coach (Keith) Lansley has been preaching to our pitching staff and he throws well off our mound,” Shenendehowa varsity coach Greg Christodulu said. “He’s done a nice job and we’re pleased for him and being a senior this is a good win for him as well.”
The Eagles (4-2 Suburban Council, 6-2 overall) were aggressive at the plate, swinging freely against Geisel, but were unable to rough up the Plainsmen starter.
“I was just thinking they are a good team and I had to bring it today,” Geisel said. “We knew they were really good, I play with a couple of those kids over the summer, Eric Mueller who got a shot off me, and I was worried about him.
“Everything was working today. I was just throwing it to the spot, letting them hit the ball. I knew I had a great defense behind me.”
Mueller had a long double to centerfield in the first inning and then two long drives to right field all fell into Chris Miller’s glove.
Shenendehowa chased Bethlehem starter Pat Rorick after one inning and were kept at bay by Sam Wollner for two innings, before putting up four runs against the left-hander in the fourth.
Brennan McCormack led off with a double over the centerfielder’s head and was bunted over by Kyle McAlonie before Nick Guinta walked to load the bases.
Yurchak then cleared the bases with his three RBI double to centerfield, giving Shenendehowa an 8-0 lead, ending the stint for Wollner.
“The first at-bat it was a pitch that I could drive, the second at-bat it was the same thing and I jumped on it and did what I could,” Yurchak said. “I’m just trying to follow the plan, hit the ball hard every at bat and when I’m ahead, swing at my pitch when I’m way ahead and battle when I’m down in the count.”
The offensive explosion didn’t surprise his coach.
“Steady, steady, Justin,” Christodulu said. “He has been steady defensively he’s been very steady offensively.
“He’s very selective at the plate, he’s seeing his pitch selection, he’s seeing the ball well and we’re hoping that it continues the rest of the season.”
The damage wasn’t done as Miller walked and he scored along with Yurchak on pinch-hitter Matt Bloise’s two RBI double to right field for a 10-0 lead. Matt Drum then drilled the ball to right field where the Eagles right fielder lost the ball, fell and the ball landed safely in play allowing him to motor to third base. Tyler Vyce knocked in Drum with an RBI single for the 11-0 lead.
Bethlehem scratched a run across in the top of the fifth inning after Nick DiNapoli led off with a double down the left field line, advanced on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Graves.
The Plainsmen continued to spread the wealth as Christodulu emptied his bench which saw Mike Bucca lead off with a single to centerfield and then after avoiding one pickoff move by Bethlehem reliever Jon Ostroff, took advantage of his throwing error and motored around to third.
Chris Miller’s lone hit of the day was an RBI double to right field, combined with his three walks on the day, gave Shenendehowa the 12-1 lead.
The Eagles continued their free swinging ways as DiNapoli scored in the top of the seventh inning off Plainsmen reliever Kevin Rochford, advancing around the bases and scoring on a passed ball for the 12-2 final.
“I think the guys were interested in getting back into a rhythm, back into their way of playing baseball after a very disappointing loss down at Colonie, 6-5, the other day,” Christodulu said.
SHENENDEHOWA 12, BETHLEHEM 2
Bethlehem 000 010 1 — 2 6 2
Shenendehowa 400 710 X — 12 14 1
2B: (B) Nick DiNapoli, Eric Mueller. (S) Justin Yurchak 2, Brennan McCormack, Matt Bloise, Chris Miller. 3B: (S) Matt Drum. Records: Bethlehem (6-2), Shenendehowa (6-1).
WP: Greg Geisel. LP: Pat Rorick.
APRIL 15 – Burnt Hills senior Robbie Knightes powers past Saratoga, 2-1
The Saratoga Springs varsity baseball squad just needed a break. A bloop single at the right time, a ground ball with eyes, a fluke — anything that might have put a badly needed ‘W’ in the league win column for the Blue Streaks.
Monday afternoon looked promising as Saratoga responded to a first-inning run put up by visiting Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, but an RBI triple by senior Robbie Knightes pushed across Ryan Gurdy for the game-winning run and starting pitcher Dan Nuzzi made it stand, as the Spartans edged the Blue Streaks,| 2-1 at East Side Rec.
“We have four games this week and we went in telling him (Nuzzi) that we need him to go deep into this game and he threw 27 pitches in the first inning,” Burnt Hills coach Rob Duell said. “He rebounded from that, he really started to pound the strike zone with a couple different pitches and Joey Butler came in the end and did a good job as well.”
Knightes scored the contest’s opening run off Saratoga starter Eric Beer, stroking a one-out single to right field, moving to third on Danny Maynard’s double down the left field line and scoring on Nuzzi’s own sacrifice fly to centerfield.
The Blue Streaks weren’t far behind after Alex Chandler opened the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff double to left, advancing on Jack Herman’s groundout an scoring on Kevin O’Sullivan’s infield single to knot the contest at one run apiece.
The contest evolved into a pitcher’s duel after Nuzzi settled down and Beer continued to have solid support from his defense until the top of the fifth.
Gurdy reached on a fielder’s choice, beating out the throw to first on a double play attempt by Saratoga before Knightes’ well-timed triple to center that fell inches in front of a diving Devin Coffey.
“There was a guy on second, I was just looking for a good pitch, stay up the middle, look for a base hit,” Knightes said. “I was lucky enough to get a good swing on it and get a base hit… it was good.”
The person least surprised by his heroics was Duell.
“I almost expect him to come through at this point, he’s been great about that for the past three years,” Duell said. “He picked us up again today.”
The second run proved to be just enough to get past Beer and the Blue Streaks.
“Give their kid a ton of credit,” Duell said. “He kept us off balance; he did enough to stay in the game a long
time and we couldn’t get anything going.”
The junior right-hander hoped the one run would lead to a first league win for him and his teammates, but it wasn’t in the cards.
“I can’t blame anyone else,” Beer said. “I gave up the run and our defense played well. Another timely hit here or there and I feel like we could have come out with that one.”
Beer maintained his composure, getting Ryan McDonnell to fly out to centerfield after walking the two batters after Knightes.
“I’m just trying to make a good pitch and try to get myself out of it because I know the defense will get me out of it behind me,” Beer said. “I was mixing in my fastball and my curveball.”
Nuzzi went five innings before turning the ball over to Butler to close out the contest.
“I was having trouble finding the release points, so I was focusing on finding that and eventually I found it,” Nuzzi said. “More in the second, I had the support of my defense today. That helped a lot.”
Both squads have four games scheduled this week, with the Blue Streaks looking to turn the corner on the season.
“We’re struggling through our adversities right now, but I think we have the mindset to move forward and make progress,” Saratoga Springs coach Dean Bailey said. “I think the mindset is where it needs to be and I like the makeup of the team. I think we’ll break through and we’ll get our opportunities.”
BURNT HILLS 2, SARATOGA 1
Burnt Hills 100 010 0 — 2 5 1
Saratoga 100 000 0 — 1 3 0
2B: (BH) Danny Maynard. (S) Alex Chandler.
3B: (BH) Robbie Knightes.
WP: Danny Nuzzi. LP: Eric Beer.
April 13 – Late doubles power Shenendehowa past North Rockland, 9-8
Shenendehowa senior Jon Novenche swung a hot bat Saturday afternoon, finishing 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored and leading the Plainsmen past visiting North Rockland 9-8.
With the score knotted at seven runs apiece in the bottom of the fifth inning, senior Christopher Miller led off with a single to center field and advanced to second on Matt Buckley’s groundout to short. He would race to third on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Vyce, setting the table for Novenche.
The senior right-hander ripped a double to right field, driving in Miller for an 8-7 lead and had little time to rest.
“I think we needed that run, they are a great hitting team and one through nine, they all hit our pitching,” Novenche said. “On deck I was focusing on getting a fastball… I got three first-pitch fastballs the entire game. I went 0-1 with a curve ball and then got a fastball inside that I tried to drive the other way.”
Matt Bloise was sent up to the plate by Shenendehowa skipper Greg Christodulu to pinch hit and delivered a first-pitch double to center field, scoring Novenche in the key run of the contest.
“Sitting on the bench you always know that you have to be ready to play, you have to go up there and swing,” Bloise said. “When I went up there I knew I had to see my pitch, see a fastball right away and I did. I applied everything I learned in practice and good things come, I guess.”
North Rockland had earlier tied the contest at seven runs in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk putting the Shenendehowa back on its heels before the Plainsmen responded in their half of the inning.
The Red Raiders weren’t ready to give up, however.
Brian Rotella led off with a double to left field off Shenendehowa reliever Corey Hommel followed by Ricardo Taverez reaching on a walk. Both players then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by Hommel, bringing the crowd to the edge of their seats.
With two outs and the Plainsmen an out away from victory, Hommel put another pitch in the dirt in front of catcher Nick Guinta, fleeting the backstop and allowing Rotella to score, cutting the deficit to 9-8.
North Rockland’s Danny Demetrops grounded sharply to short where Justin Yurchak gobbled up the ball and fired successfully over to Vyce for the last out.
The rally by the Red Raiders came as a surprise after Shenendehowa jumped out to a first inning 5-0 lead courtesy of Giunta’s two-run home run to drive in Kyle McLonie, who stroked a single through the left side of the infield for a 2-0 lead. Yurchak singled and Matt Drum reached on an error. Then, Matt Buckley doubled to center, driving in Yurchak before Novenche delivered a two-out two RBI single to center for the 5-0 lead.
The non-league victory could pay dividends down the road for the Plainsmen and first-year varsity head coach Christodulu.
“We just kind of broke down a little with our pitching, but then we steadied ourselves and Corey Hommel came in and did a good job, getting his first varsity win,” Christodulu said. “It’ll help him with his confidence. I’m proud of the fact that we had some adversity against a very good team and hung on and sealed the victory.”
SHENENDEHOWA 9, |NORTH ROCKLAND 8
North Rockland 002 230 1 — 8 9 3
Shenendehowa 511 020 X — 9 14 1
2B: (NR) Rotella 2, Demetrops, Hylas. (S) Matt Buckley 2, Matt Bloise, John Novenche. HR: (S) Nick Giunta.
WP: Corey Hommel. LP: Joe Anselmi.
April 11 – Shen’s Aaron Kalish survives 4-run first by Ballston Spa in 11-4 win
Courtesy MICHAEL CIGNOLI firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter.com/MCSaratogian
CLIFTON PARK — Years from now, when Shenendehowa pitcher Aaron Kalish looks back on his first start in a varsity uniform, he will remember the final three outs. He will remember striking out three of Ballston Spa’s best hitters — two of them looking — after they had made him look silly in the first inning.
Kalish struggled mightily early in his debut, pitching his team into a 4-0 first-inning deficit by allowing the first seven Scotties he saw to reach base. But he went on to retire 21 of
the next 24, including the masterful performance in the final inning, and the Plainsmen rallied around that to earn an 11-4 victory Thursday.
“We probably didn’t help him very much defensively in that first inning, but he worked his way through it,” Plainsmen coach Greg Christodulu said of Kalish, a 6-foot-2 junior. “Our hats are off to him. He figured out how to be competitive and figured out a way to throw strikes and be successful today.”
The starting pitcher in Shenendehowa’s home-opener, Kalish said he was nervous as he allowed back-to-back singles to Aaron Greth and Eddie Canty to open the game. His defense allowed Frank Tessier to reach base on an error, creating a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation for clean-up hitter Jesse Bush.
Kalish walked him, and the next batter, Dan Crozier, smacked a two-RBI single to right-center as the Scotties took a 3-0 lead. They stretched it to 4-0 when designated hitter Grant Touhey knocked a single between the shortstop and third baseman, allowing Bush to score from third. There was still nobody out.
“I was a little excited and a little anxious and I wasn’t throwing very well,” Kalish conceded.
But after that — and an aptly timed mound visit from Christodulu — he retired three straight hitters and 13 of the next 14. He had thrown 53 pitches through two innings, but finished the game with 109. Sixty-nine were strikes.
“I told him to take a deep breath and relax and be competitive,” Christodulu said. “It’s time to play the big boy’s game, varsity baseball. We couldn’t have been more pleased. We didn’t think he’d finish, but he ended up getting the complete game. That’s pretty impressive for a guy that threw JV baseball last year.”
Shenendehowa’s offense was just as impressive in its balance, as eight of its nine hitters scored one run.
The Plainsmen twice scored five runs in an inning, capitalizing on six walks and three errors from Ballston Spa.
“We didn’t throw strikes, we didn’t play defense and we walked too many guys,” Ballston Spa (1-1 overall, 1-1 league) coach Kevin Sheremeta said. “You can’t win baseball games when you walk and make errors.”
Shen’s first outburst came in the bottom of the second inning, as the Plainsmen peppered Ballston Spa starter Nick Van Liew to take a 5-4 lead. The second came in the home half of the sixth against reliever Touhey, as they stretched what was then a 6-4 advantage into the 11-4 lead that became the final score.
Chris Miller, Kyle McAlonie, Justin Yurchak and Matt Buckley all had two-RBI days at the plate for the Plainsmen, while Tyler Vyce, John Novenche and Brennan McCormack all drove in one. Yurchak had a spectacular defensive play, showing off his range at shortstop to prevent a hard-hit ball from Touhey from reaching the outfield. He then fired a bullet to first to end the fifth inning, stranding two Scotties on base.
Christodulu called the stop a “game-changer.”
It killed Ballston Spa’s momentum, and Kalish did not allow another baserunner in the final two innings.
“He didn’t have much going to start, and then he ended up figuring out some things. … Aaron’s a big kid. He’s going to get stronger,” Christodulu said. “Once he gets confidence, he’ll be even more competitive.”
The Plainsmen improved to 3-0 overall, and 2-0 in the Suburban Council.
“We got complacent,” Sheremeta said. “We kind of thought the game would just roll on by itself. We didn’t hammer it in when we should have. We had bases loaded, no outs and we didn’t score (another) run in that first inning. … That hurts.”
SHENENDEHOWA 11, BALLSTON SPA 4
Ballston Spa 400 000 0 — 4 5 3
Shenendehowa 050 015 0 — 11 11 1
Aaron Kalish (W) and Nick Giunta; Nick Van Liew (L), Grant Touhey 5 and Jesse Bush.
APRIL 5 – Shen turns back Saratoga rally in 6-3 win
SARATOGA SPRINGS — With the Shenendehowa pitcher that had frustrated them through four innings on the bench, the tide began to turn toward the Saratoga Blue Streaks. They mounted a fifth-inning rally against a reliever who struggled with his control, and loaded the bases with their No. 6 hitter at the bat.
In a matter of seconds, the rally was over.
The Blue Streaks committed a base running error on a pitch that hit the dirt, quelling their hopes of a comeback as the Plainsmen took a 6-3 Suburban Council victory Friday afternoon at East Side Rec.
It was the first career varsity coaching win for Plainsmen skipper Greg Christodulu, a three-year assistant on the squad who took over the reins from 22-year head coach Jim Carrese, who retired in the offseason.
“Any time you play Saratoga, it’s a big game — whether it’s chess, checkers (or) baseball,” Christodulu said. “To come up here in the first game of the season after basically coming out of the gymnasiums and get a victory is a nice job well done by our pitching staff, our offensive players and our defense.”
The quality of the Shenendehowa (1-0) pitching staff was a big question mark before the season — none of its players had earned a varsity win prior to Friday — but senior Will Hewett was solid in his debut. He allowed three hits and one run through four innings and fanned five as Shenendehowa built a 6-1 lead.
But the Plainsmen’s inexperience showed in the fifth inning, as reliever Corey Hommel walked three of the seven batters he faced and threw a wild pitch that allowed the Blue Streaks to cut the deficit to three.
That came with catcher Kevin O’Sullivan at the plate, and Hommel later walked O’Sullivan to re-load the bases. He threw a similar pitch to the next batter he faced — Jack Herman — and catcher Nick Giunta got just enough of it to slow it down, but it still trickled past him and gave the runners a chance to advance.
O’Sullivan took off toward second base, but the other runners held at second and third. He had dashed nearly all the way to second base before he realized there was nowhere for him to go but a 90 feet retreat back to first, and Giunta then threw the ball to first-baseman Tyler Vyce for the out that retired the side.
Taylor Vaveruick came on in the sixth and retired five of Saratoga’s final six batters to pick up the save.
“That’s kids just trying to make plays for us,” said Blue Streaks Dean Bailey, whose team fell to 1-1 overall. “With that possibility, you can’t get upset with a kid that’s hustling, working hard for you. It’s one of those situations where you can’t really imitate it too much in practice. It just kind of happens at times. I know that in the future, those guys will make the right decisions in terms of what they do.”
While it didn’t work out for Saratoga, aggressiveness on the base paths paid dividends for the Plainsmen.
They stole four bases — all in the third and fourth innings — and three of the runners came around to score. Giunta, who had a leadoff walk to start the third, stole second and was driven home by an aggressive double from Justin Yurchak that made it 3-1. Chris Miller brought him home with a RBI single before stealing second and later scoring on an error by second-baseman Jordan Prehoda to go up 5-1.
In the fourth, Kyle McAlonie hit a leadoff double before stealing third and scoring on a Giunta sacrifice fly.
Saratoga starter Sean Major faced one more Plainsman batter before he was pulled, going 3.1 innings. The bullpen combination of Ryan Cummings and Jake Taylor allowed two hits in a combined 3.2 innings.
Shen’s other offense came in the form of a two-RBI single from designated hitter John Novenche in the second inning, which erased the 1-0 lead that Saratoga built on two Plainsmen errors in the bottom of the first.
“They’re a good team and that’s why they are a good team,” Bailey said. “When you give them opportunities, they’re certainly going to take advantage of them and they did early on.”
SHENENDEHOWA 6, SARATOGA SPRINGS 3
Shenendehowa 023 100 0 6-8-2
Saratoga Springs 100 020 0 3-6-3
Will Hewett (W), Corey Hommel 5, Taylor Vaveruick 6 and Nick Giunta. Sean Major (L), Ryan Cummings 4, Jake Taylor 7 and Kevin O’Sullivan.
2B: (Sh) Yurchak, McAlonie, Giunta; (SS) O’Sullivan.
Records: Shenendehowa 1-0, 1-0; Saratoga Springs 1-1, 0-1.
April 2 – Local baseball squads ready to swing away
Coach: Kevin Sheremeta
2012 Records: 11-11 overall, 8-8 Suburban Council
Key Departures: LHP Franklin Miller
Key Returners: 2B Ed Canty, RHP Nick Van Liew, SS Frank Tessier
Key New Faces: OF Aaron Greth, C Dan Crozier, RHP Alex Hartman
Season Outlook: Ballston Spa did not lose many players from last season’s team, which hit the .500 mark and qualified for sectionals for the first time in recent memory. The Scotties were hit hardest on the mound, losing southpaw Miller to graduation, and are somewhat inexperienced there. “We’re going into it with a couple of quality starters,” Sheremeta said. “We’re looking for a third quality starter to step up.” The team’s strength should be its defense, particularly with Canty and Tessier returning up the middle. However, there’s a question whether Tessier, who is battling a wrist injury, will be ready to start the season.
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE
Coach: Rob Duell
2012 Records: N/A overall, 7-9 Suburban Council
Key Departures: 1B Drew Haughey (injured), P Rory Little, CF Jay Sullivan
Key Returners: SS Robbie Knightes, 3B/C Danny Maynard, OF/P/1B Ryan McDonnell
Key New Faces: OF Ryan Foti, OF/P Steve Perone
Season Outlook: With Haughey sidelined for the season, the Spartans will be looking for big contributions P/1B Dan Nuzzi. But his absence is a big blow to a line-up that features eight newcomers, who are largely going to have to learn on the fly. That’s not easy in any league, let alone the ultra-competitive Suburban Council. “You can’t take an inning off — you can’t even take a pitch off — in this league,” Duell said. “That’s just how it works. These guys have seen it.” Knightes, one of nine returning players, is one of the more electrifying talents in Section II, and has already committed to play Division-I baseball with St. John’s next year. He will shift from third base to shortstop, with Maynard poised to see time at the hot corner and behind the plate.
Coach: Peter Sorbera
2012 Records: 10-10 overall, N/A Adirondack League
Key Departures: LF Cory Cummings
Key Returners: 3B Nate Woodcock, SS Cassidy White, 2B/RHP Zack Shippee, 1B/RHP Blake Basmajian, C/RHP Greg Kelley
Key New Faces: RF Kevan Regales, OF Anthony Villano
Season Outlook: The Tomahawks are returning nearly every starter from a young team that finished .500 one year ago, and only have to fill two outfield spots. They do not have a true rookie on their roster. Kelley headlines the group, having recorded a 2.35 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 44.2 innings last season. He also batted .500 with 21 runs batted in. But even with a year of experience under their belt, the Tomahawks’ starters will have their work cut out for them in a tough Adirondack League that includes Lake George and perennial power Fort Ann. “They’ve persevered and turned themselves into pretty good players,” Sorbera said of his club. “Hopefully they’re a scrappy team.”
Coach: Toby Youngblood
2012 Records: 9-7 overall, N/A WAC
Key Departures: 2B/P Kyle Collins, C Shane Marshall, P Cody Marshall
Key Returners: LF Josh Bailey, LHP/CF Frank Schwab, RHP/1B Evan Ceroalo
Key New Faces: SS/RHP Zachary Hartman, 2B/RHP Taylor Hartman, INF/OF Sam Uline
Season Outlook: After fielding an experienced team in 2012, Galway now has a roster comprised mainly of sophomores. However, the youngest on the team may just be the most exciting. Uline, an eighth-grader who is built like a sophomore, has the kind of raw talent that Youngblood said he has not seen in years. He will hit from the three hole, and will have to help replace fill the void left by the graduation of 2012 WAC MVP Kyle Collins, who broke the school record for batting average. Youngblood said he will be happy with getting into the middle of the pack in the WAC, but that may require his players to play above their years.
Coach: Duke Beck
2012 Records: 17-6 overall, 10-4 Wasaren League
Key Departures: C Tony Giroux, RHP Jason Flynn, 2B Joe Estramante
Key Returners: C Greg Scott, RHP/MI John Barnes, LHP/1B Cori Winch, SS John Stewart
Key New Faces: RHP/1B/2B Jake Jennings, RHP/3B/RF Pete Telesco, OF Nate Passino
Season Outlook: The Witches were hit hardest down the middle, losing a veteran catcher, center fielder and Estramante, a second baseman who hit .379 and was on base 50 percent of the time. But they have enough pitching depth to allow Scott, a former fireballer, to move to the other half of the battery, where he spent his sophomore season after Giroux got injured. They will platoon Barnes and Jennings at second base, depending on whose turn it is in the formidable Barnes-Winch rotation, and Colin Oswald will shift to center after spending last season in right. “I think we’ll be real competitive,” Beck said. “We swing the bats real well. We also have good team speed. If we field the ball, I think we are going to be pretty tough.”
Coach: Tom McBride
2012 Records: 4-17 overall, 4-10 Colonial Council
Key Departures: LHP/CF Sam DeCelle, RHP/1B James Corcoran, C Brandon Jones
Key Returners: 2B/RHP Adam Dunn, SS Ryan Losavio, CF Nico Dumas, RHP/1B Zach Perras
Key New Faces: RHP/3B Nate Popiel, RHP/UTIL Noah Harpe
Season Outlook: The Red Raiders are coming off a season in which their offense underachieved, and that did not do them any favors against a Colonial Council with perennial contenders like Schalmont and Lansingburgh. They also lost star pitcher DeCelle to graduation, and he’s now pitching at Albany. “We have to hit better than we did last year,” McBride said. To foster that offense, the coach is switching last year’s clean-up hitter, Dunn, to the leadoff spot. Losavio, Dumas, Perras and Popiel, a promising transfer from Little Falls, will follow him. “If we are going to have any success this season, those five guys are going to have to hit,” McBride added.
Coach: Darrin Renner
2012 Records: 9-11 overall, 6-8 Wasaren League
Key Departures: C Ryan Mulligan, LHP Ray Rodriguez, CF Austin Anderson, 1B Pat Castle
Key Returners: RHP Sefth Berry, 3B/LF Mike Mastroianni, C/RHP Jake Petralia, SS Matt Saddlemire
Key New Faces: OF Ed Mahay, 1B Nick Richard, RHP Joe Braim, RHP Codie Brown, UTIL Clayton Patrick
Season Outlook: Veteran coach Bruce Brown has retired and handed the reigns to Renner, who has helped coach the program for the past decade. He inherits a “very, very young team” with just four seniors, one of whom is new to the program. “We’re really relying on a lot of underclassmen to step into big roles,” the coach said. Perhaps some of the biggest question marks surround the team’s pitching staff, as five of Renner’s top six throwers are sophomores or younger. But they’ll all be thrust into leadership roles, as will players like Petralia, who moves back to his natural position of catcher, and Saddlemire, who committed just one error playing at second base last year. “It’s going to be a year for us to grow,” Renner said.
Coach: Greg Christodulu
2012 Records: 16-6 overall, 12-4 Suburban Council
Key Departures: CF Colin Grande, C Mike Cuttita, RHP Miles Kelly
Key Returners: SS Justin Yurchak, RF Chris Miller, 3B/RHP Matt Buckley, 2B Nick Giunta
Key New Faces: OF Kyle McAlonie, OF Brennan McCormack, OF Matt Bloise
Season Outlook: The Plainsmen return many of the bats from last season’s 160-run line-up that lost to Columbia in extra innings in the Section II final, but the mound is a whole different story. With ace Miles Kelly now pitching at SUNY Oswego, the Plainsmen don’t have any pitcher with a single varsity victory. “We are very young from a pitching staff standpoint,” Christodulu said. “But we think offensively we’ll be able to score some runs.” They hope that run production — and strong defense — can carry the team until the young pitchers develop midway through the season.
SOUTH GLENS FALLS
Coach: Al Vasak
2012 Records: 11-10 overall, 7-7 Foothills Council
Key Departures: SS Anthony Ciuffetelli, CF Christian Dorsey
Key Returners: RHP Josh Hay, LF Mitch Fearis, 3B Travis Kirk, RHP Matt Garcia
Key New Faces: RHP/OF Robert Olsen, C Travis Brown
Season Outlook: The Bulldogs enter the season with a 17-man roster, the largest they’ve had in school history. The star of the group is Hay, a 6-foot-5 senior who has been a mainstay pitcher since 10th grade. He had a 3.37 ERA last year with 46 strikeouts and tied for the team lead with 21 RBI. Should he falter, the Bulldogs have seven capable relievers. “We’ve got strong pitching,” Vasak said. “Finally, we’ve got a bullpen. … Hopefully we can give them some run support.”
Coach: Ian Godfrey
2012 Records: 4-13 overall, 2-12 Wasaren League
Key Departures: 1B Logan King, UTIL Connor Jones, 2B Derek Rose
Key Returners: SS/RHP Liam Kane, CF/SS/RHP Shawn McNeil, C Jake McCumber
Key New Faces: 1B Zach Baldwin, 2B Mike Ferlazzo, 3B Jim Travis, LHP Jon Brewster.
Season Outlook: There is no shortage of experience on Stillwater’s roster this season, as half of the team’s players are seniors. Two of them — Kane and McNeill — will be relied on heavily, especially now that starting SS/RHP Jake Hill broke his ankle in an AAU basketball game and is expected to miss the season. “We’re going to go as far as our seniors want to take us. … They have to step up their role,” Godfrey said. “They have to bring it up a level. Everybody has to pick up the slack.”
— Compiled by Michael Cignoli
MARCH 28 – Spa Catholic grad Tim Stauffer to start season in AAA-Tuscon
Courtesy PAUL POST email@example.com Twitter.com/PaulVPost
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Tim Stauffer won’t be with the Padres when San Diego visits the Mets to open the 2013 season at Citi Field on Monday.
The former Saratoga Central Catholic High School star is starting the season at Triple-A Tucson.
Stauffer, who turns 31 on June 2, made only one major league start last year before undergoing elbow surgery on Aug. 31 to repair a flexor tendon.
However, he told MLB.com that he’s been pleased with his recovery this spring. Primarily, he’s been brought into games for middle relief, every fifth day, comparable to a starter’s schedule.
“It feels good and feels normal,” Stauffer told MLB.com. “Physically, I’ve been able to bounce back, and stuff-wise, it’s there or on the way back. I feel good about that.”
After getting released last fall, he agreed to a minor league contract with the Padres in late January and went to spring training trying to earn a spot on the big league roster.
He was notified Wednesday about his assignment to Tucson, where he’s expected to be in the starting rotation.
In 11 1/3 innings he had 11 strikeouts and two walks this spring. In his last outing, March 25 against the Rangers, he recorded two scoreless innings, throwing 22 strikes in 31 pitches.
“Stauff has fought a couple of different injuries, and now, hopefully, the elbow situation is resolved,” Black told MLB.com. “Now he’s just got to pitch.”
He threw 49 pitches in two different spring outings and is working his way back up to 90.
Two years ago, Stauffer was the Padres’ Opening Day starter. It was his most productive season in the majors, as he posted a 9-12 record with a 3.73 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 185.2 innings pitched.
San Diego skipper Bud Black has named Edinson Volquez to start Monday’s season opener against the Mets, followed by southpaws Clayton Richard and Eric Stults, and right-hander Jason Marquis in the rotation.
Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are vying for the fifth spot.
Nov. 20 – Saratoga Catholic Saints help out Ronald McDonald House
Pictured on the left are Jo Ann Lambert past board member, Debbie Ross director of the Ronald McDonald house and members of the Saints baseball team and coaching staff.
Nov. 15 – Valleycats reveal schedule and home opener pre-sale
Courtesy of Tri-City Valleycats
The 2012 Stedler Division Champion Tri-City ValleyCats have officially announced their schedule for the 2013 season this afternoon. The ValleyCats 76-game New York-Penn League schedule consists of 38 home games with ten different opponents coming to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
The ValleyCats will kick off their 12th season at “The Joe” on Monday, June 17 as they host the Vermont Lake Monsters (Athletics) for three games, June 17-19. Opening Day tickets are currently available during a special online ticket pre-sale that will last through Black Friday, November 23.
Following the home opening series, the ’Cats return to “The Joe” to host the Boston Red Sox affiliate, Lowell Spinners from June 26-27 and conclude the month of June with three games against the Connecticut Tigers (Tigers) on June 28-30.
July at “The Joe” begins with a bang on Independence Day as the ‘Cats host Lowell, July 4-6, and then the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Orioles), July 7-9.
The ValleyCats next homestand features a New York-Penn League Semi-Final rematch against the Pinckney Division Champion Auburn Doubledays (Nationals), July 17-19, and a Finals rematch versus the New York-Penn League Champion Hudson Valley Renegades (Rays), July 20-22. The ‘Cats will close out their home July schedule against the Connecticut Tigers on July 28-29.
The ValleyCats open the August slate of home games with a three game series versus the Williamsport Crosscutters (Phillies), August 6-8, and three against the Jamestown Jammers (Pirates) on August 9-11. Following a week on the road, the ‘Cats will return on August 19-20 for two games versus Vermont.
The Staten Island Yankees, affiliate of the New York Yankees, make their annual trip to “The Joe” for a weekend set of games on August 23-25. Vermont comes back to town from August 29-30, and the ValleyCats complete their 2013 regular season at home against the Brooklyn Cyclones, affiliate of the New York Mets, on September 2-4.
ValleyCats weekday and Saturday games at “The Joe” are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday games at 5:00 p.m. Exceptions include two camp days (Tuesday, July 9 and Wednesday, August 7) that will feature a matinee start time of 11:00 a.m.. Thursday, July 4 will begin at 6:30 p.m., Labor Day, Monday, September 2 begins at 5:00 p.m., and Tuesday, September 3 – Wednesday, September 4 both begin at 6:00 p.m. Schedule and times are all subject to change.
6-game mini-plan packages, season tickets and flex plans are all available for purchase now at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium Box Office, by phone at (518) 629-CATS, or online at www.tcvalleycats.com.
JUNE 14: Shenendehowa coach Jim Carrese steps down after 22 years
Almost as rare as a perfect game, Shenendehowa varsity baseball will have a new skipper next year.
Jim Carrese stepped down as the varsity baseball coach effective today after 22 years at the helm of the Plainsmen, the information released to the media via press release.
“My retirement from the baseball program is simply about my desire to focus my attention on the greater priority in my life which is my family and my 10-year-old son’s travel baseball team,” Carrese said in the release. “After 22 seasons I believe the words ‘Shenendehowa Baseball’ have a tremendous significance in NYS and Section Two baseball.”
Since 1991 Carrese has posted a 349-163 (.682) overall record, including a 237-95 (.715) record in the Suburban Council. The Plainsmen captured Section II titles in 1994 and 1996 along with regional titles with the 1996 squad reaching the New York State Public High School Athletic Association finals.
With Carrese at the helm, Shenendehowa won 16 Suburban Council titles, qualified for the Section II playoffs 17 of 22 years (meeting a .500 league record requirement) and competed in five Section II finals.
Off the field, the 2011 Plainsmen squad earned the NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete award as the top performing academic baseball squad.
“I am deeply indebted to all the families, players, athletic directors and coaches that I have had the opportunity to work with these past 34 years as a public high school coach,” Carrese said. “I am especially thankful for the dedication and tireless work ethic of the current Shenendehowa Baseball staff.”
Carrese is the fourth notable varsity coach to announce his retirement this year, following football coach Brent Steuerwald, soccer coach Mike Campisi and girls basketball coach Ken Strube. Steuerwald retired from his athletic director position in the late 1990’s and Strube retired as a math teacher last year and had discussed their retirement plans over the past several years. Campisi continues to teach in the Shenendehowa science department and will remain with the soccer program as an assistant coach to all levels.
The Carrese announcement was a surprise.
“He came to me to express his concerns about being torn between the responsibilities with his son’s team and the amount of effort he felt it took to run the Shen baseball programs,” Shenendehowa athletic director Chris Culnan said. “He decided to step away.
“This one was a surprise to me,” Culnan said. “I think if you know Jimmy (Carrese) you know that if he couldn’t give 100 percent to both, he would have to make a decision. The family won out.”
All three previous retirements led to extensive coaching searches, the football position the only one allowed outside interests and all three were filled by internal, teaching candidates.
“I think again we have a lot of strong internal candidates to fill the position,” Culnan said.
The search will begin immediately, according to Culnan.
Jim_Carrese Press Release announcement from Shenendehowa School District.
Columbia rallies in final at-bat to beat Shen, 8-5
The Columbia baseball team rallied for four runs with two outs in it’s final at-bat Wednesday afternoon on the road at Shenendehowa to earn an 8-5 Suburban Council win on a pinch-hit two-run single by Mike Luther.
Down, 5-4 in the seventh inning the Blue Devils (8-2) Jonas Godell reached after being hit by a pitch from left-handed Plainsmen reliever Colin Grande. The Shen reliever recovered and delivered the second out, covering first base and was one out away from the save.
Ian Castle and Tim Gaule both walked, setting up Columbia skipper Chris Dedrick’s big move, sending up Luther to pinch hit for left-handed batter Tyler Casavant, who then delivered the game-winning two-run single to right, putting the Blue Devils up 6-5.
“I think there is a big advantage having a righty hit on a lefty (pitcher) and Casavant is an excellent batter, but has been struggling his last couple at-bats against lefties,” Dedrick said. “He (Luther) was our starting DH for a while, batting fourth the first couple games. He started to get his timing off a bit, he’s been working on it in practice and has really been hitting the ball well in practice.”
Luther stood in the batter’s box and delivered a memorable swing.
“You get that feeling preparing yourself for that hit, that at-bat,” Luther said. “It was lefty on lefty and he wanted to get a righty up there and a chance to get a hit, just a great feeling.
“The feeling after you get that hit, seeing those runs come across, it erases whatever slump you’ve been in,” Luther said. “It’s one of the greatest feelings in baseball.”
The Plainsmen (7-3 Suburban Council, 7-4 overall) had their won reasons to celebrate after Kyle Buss hit a three-run home run over the left field wall, giving Shenendehowa a 4-2 lead in the fourth.
“I was just thinking about my last at-bat that I didn’t take advantage of the fastball on a hitter’s count,” Buss said. “I was just thinking, runners on base, in scoring position, thinking fastball on the first pitch and he gave it to me on the inside corner and I just took it.”
Like Luther, he has his own special memories about the contest.
“It’s not about your stats, it’s about running around the bases, putting your team on the board, you’re on your way to victory,” Buss said. “That’s the beauty of it and what every hitter wants.”
The Blue Devils pulled ahead on a two-run shot over the 345-foot mark in center field by Jonas Godell in the fifth, knotting the contest at four apiece before Shenendehowa’s Chris Miller hit a solo shot off Columbia starter Connor Ramon to lead off the sixth.
Dedrick stayed with his starter and Luther’s heroics again made the skipper look like a genius with both decisions.
“We have a certain pitch count with him, with all of our pitchers and he was well under it,” Dedrick said. “I thought he did a good job of getting some quick outs. We were going to go with him, he’s our senior, he’s our ace and he showed it today, no doubt in that last inning.”
The loss will sting the Plainsmen overnight, but their skipper, Jim Carrese, put his squad at ease after the loss.
“We had two batters in a row where we could have put the game away and we didn’t,” Carrese said. “I told my players it’s May 2, not May 22 and learn from the experience.”
His squad and his reliever, Grande continue to live for another day on the diamond.
“I’ve known Colin (Grande) since he was six (years-old) and he never missed a day of camp in the summer,” Carrese said. “He’s a diamond rat and he’s going to comeback tomorrow and he’s going to understand what happened and he’ll go back to work.”
April 30 – Burnt Hills bobbles away opportunities against Shenendehowa
For the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake varsity baseball team it was an ugly loss and for the Shenendehowa Plainsmen, it was an ugly win.
Shenendehowa and starting pitcher Miles Kelly walked away with a 13-3 Suburban Council victory Monday afternoon, taking advantage of Burnt Hills struggling starter Cody Mooney and his defense for the win.
“Ten walks, two hit batters and five errors, that’s 19 or 20 guys we put on base,” Spartan skipper Paul DeLuca said. “They didn’t have many hits, three hits off Mooney, he gutted it out but had no command of his fastball, that was his downfall.
“We put him out there against teams like this because I think he can get guys out and nothing changed today in how I thought he throws the ball, but just not commanding his fastball,” DeLuca said. That was his downfall. If a couple plays are made behind him, it’s a different game.”
Burnt Hills opened the scoring in the top of the first inning, putting pressure on the Plainsmen, but Nick Giunta tied it up with one swing of his bat, leading off for Shenendehowa.
“He threw me two balls and a ball that I thought was outside, Giunta said. “It proved to be beneficial because he threw me a ball that I hit out of the ballpark.”
Shenendehowa tacked on two more runs after Matt Buckley and Justin Yurchak both walked and took advantage of a fielding error by the right fielder on a drive by Kyle Buss and Chris Miller reached on a miscue by the second baseman allowing all Buckley, Yurchak and Buss to score for the 4-1 lead.
After a stronger second inning by Mooney and his defense, bad luck found the Spartans in the third with Kyle Buss reaching on an error, Miller getting hit by a pitch and Tyler Vyce driving in a run with his grounder. Giunta delivered a long RBI single with the bases loaded for a 6-1 lead.
“I got all of it, but the kid was standing so far back that he caught up with it,” Giunta said. “I haven’t had a hit with bases loaded in so long. I’ve been feeling pretty good, so I hit the ball well.”
Burnt Hills showed life when the Plainsmen had their share of defensive miscues in the fifth when Josh Quesada came around after reaching on an error and Jason Sullivan reached on an error as both scored on Jeff Heck’s RBI single.
The floodgates opened for Shenendehowa in a three-run fifth and a four-run sixth for a commanding lead with two additional errors by the Spartans.
“We have five today and had a couple games that haven’t been good defensively,” DeLuca said. “We had a good defensive game the other day and then we throw in a clunker like this defensively. Right now I’m not seeing that progression of defensive play getting better game to game on a consistent basis.”
Senior captain Colin Grande made the Burnt Hills pay after intentionally walking Giunta in the fifth, taking a walk for an RBI and then delivering a two-RBI single in the sixth after Giunta was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
With another outpouring of runs by his teammates, Kelly was able to cruise, despite three errors by his own defense.
“I was feeling really great today,” Kelly said. “I threw a lot of change-ups for strikes and I pitched to contact pretty well.
“The defense didn’t play its best today, not characteristic of us,” Kelly said. “I think we’re doing well for the season and we’ll close out really strong.”
“All season I’ve been seeing the ball really well, it’s been great, I’ve been hitting the ball,” Grande said. “In the last at-bat I saw the fastball out of his hand and they’ve been trying to throw off-speed consistently but I keep looking fast and react appropriately.”
Both coaches spent time with their squads and much of the focus was on their respective defenses.
“I’m happy with the length of our offense, we kept on coming at Burnt Hills and our kids did a great job taking walks and extending the at-bats, some key hits,” Shenendehowa coach Jim Carrese said. “I think the intentional walk (to Nick Giunta) in front of (Colin) Grande and his hit put the game away.
“Our Achilles heel has been our infield defense and we keep on working at it, it’s a work in progress,” Carrese said. “It leaves a little bit of a bad taste in your mouth after a good win.”
April 12 – Rivalries take root at a young age
The roots of who a person roots for in baseball begins at a young age. It could be your father’s favorite team, the city or state you live in or it could be the first baseball hat your put on as a youngster.
Many of those roots were created during the annual Clifton Park Baseball League Meet Your Coach night held at the Shenendehowa High School East cafeteria.
“Tonight is one of the most exciting nights for our players,” Clifton Park Baseball League president Chris Meyers said. “After waiting all winter long to find out what team they are on. They get to come in, meet their coaches, they meet their teammates and most importantly for many of them, find out if they are on the Yankees or the Red Sox.”
Players were graded during the winter and were placed on teams prior to the annual meeting.
“Teams are selected by our division directors,” Meyer said. “We make a serious effort to spread the kids around so they are meeting kids that they don’t know, so that everyone has an opportunity to meet new friends through baseball. Kids that are on five-year-old baseball won’t be on the same team as six-year-olds, they’ll have a whole new set of teammates.”
Parents and players who attend the session are welcomed and then placed at a specific table for their age group. Each table will then be called up from highest number to lower, often signifying what team they will play on with the popular Yankee and Red Sox hats announced towards the end of the call ups. This year the Yankees were seated at table three and the Red Sox at table two.
Coach Daron McNab and his son, Garret, we happy to hear that they would be wearing New York Yankee hats this year in the five-year-old recreation division.
“It’s very exciting and I didn’t expect it,” Daron McNab said. “Usually the No. 1 team gets the Yankees and No. 2 gets the Red Sox.
“I don’t think (team) matters to them, they are so excited either way,” he said. “It’s their first team hat, you have to be excited about that.”
Garret had a different opinion when asked how he would react if he received a Red Sox hat.
“I would be mad,” 5-year-old Garret McNabb said. “I would be very mad and I would throw it on the floor.”
His manager and coach was surprised by his star player’s reaction.
“There goes my theory about them begin excited about their hat,” Daron McNabb said.
For six-year-old Red Sox manager Scott Hanson, being at table No. 2 was a blessing.
“My son and I are die-hard Red Sox fans and a couple of the kids I learned were also Red Sox fans,” Scott Hanson said. “There was a one-in-10 shot that we would be the Yankees, but we got lucky.”
His son, Scott Jr. moved up from a high-numbered table last year, playing for the Mariners to the Red Sox this year. It was also an important call for the six-year-old first baseman.
“If I got a Yankee hat I would not play baseball anymore,” Scott Jr. said.
Meyers put the players at ease regarding playing for their favorite team in the recreation league.
“For many of our players they end up playing baseball with us for five, six, seven, eight years,” Meyers said. “If they aren’t on the team they want to be on when they are five-years-old, there is a pretty good chance that they will by the time they are 12-years-old.”