Wilton Youth Baseball introduces baseball to Uganda children
A manager with the Wilton Rebel Youth Baseball program, Cirenza also found a new friend in Moses Afayo, a young boy who came to the United States as part of the The Chosen, a children’s touring group and Cirenza kept his part of the bargain.
“I made a promise to one boy in particular, Moses, that I would arrange a baseball game for him to play,” Cirenza said. “Most of the kids in the group were girls, so we decided on a softball game, a little safer and more fun.
“I invited a group of kids from Wilton who play here with Wilton youth baseball, and set up a friendly and fun game, a chance for the Ugandans to get to play some baseball and softball, something they have never had the chance to do,” Cirenza said. “It was also an opportunity for our children to meet children from another country and understand how big this world is.”
Cirenza teamed up with the AIDS Orphanage Education Trust, AOET, to make the trip to Bugembe, donate his medical skills and knowledge and then become a regional contact for the organization when the group made its way to the United States.
For the seven children touring with The Chosen, donning a safety helmet and carrying an aluminum bat was totally different than their time playing soccer in groups with anything that could be constructed to resemble a soccer ball in their village in Uganda.
But anything is possible with a little help from a friend.
Cirenza solicited the help of members of the Northern Intensity 16U girls travel softball team to help the visitors play defense while Cirenza and his parental volunteers helped out at the plate.
“I helped them get into a ready position and show them where to throw the ball,” Northern Intensity’s Emma Duerr said. “I threw with them and taught them how to throw and catch, how to play their position at second base.”
While the game was new, the spirit of competition was alive from The Chosen players.
“This one girl asked ‘If I catch it, is it a goal?’” Duerr said. “I told here no, but if you hit the ball and then run around the bases and get back to home it was kind of a goal.”
The two-inning contest on the Art Johnson T-ball field gave the visitors a chance to learn about America’s pastime, interact with other local children and of course, dig into some pizza.
The group of smiling children enjoyed their time on the local diamond with group comments including: “It was fun, it was good,” and “It was fun, nothing was hard.”
According to Cirenza the good will trip started with an innocent email and has grown quickly into a passion.
“I had made the trip with my daughter Allison, we were just looking for an opportunity to do something extra special that would enrich us together,” Cirenza said. “We send a group over every February and we go over there and help them out in their village. It is a tremendously uplifting experience and one that anybody who goes has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about it, including myself.”
Allison Cirenza wasn’t the lone teen to make the trip to Uganda in February, joined by classmate Meg Roberts and junior Laurel Green who had the experience of a lifetime together.
“The plane ride was long and once we got into the village you go through and you see all the kids and they are pounding on the van door, they are saying ‘Mzungu’ which means ‘white person’ and that is what they said the whole trip and it was so fun,” Lauren Green said.
It wasn’t a vacation for the teen trio while in Africa.
“We helped out in the primary and secondary schools,” Meg Roberts said. “We went into some classes and answered questions, we interviewed potential sponsors and we put in their information so if anyone was interested in sponsoring a child over here in the U.S. they could read about their history and their family.
“We went on mobile clinics where we would pile into one van and the doctors would come along and go to smaller, more rural villages and perform AIDs testing and physicals too,” Roberts said.
When the Saratoga Springs students returned, their work wasn’t done.
“When I came back I really wanted to do everything I could to spread the word about it and help out,” Allison Cirenza said. “We organized a charity 5K run and raised $3,000.
“We went over there and that went towards a birthing clinic and a medical clinic,” Allison Cirenza said. “That was nice to help out over there in any way we could.”
Allison Cirenza, her father and Lauren Green plan on returning in February, with Meg Roberts committed to another trip at a future date with AOET which has grown from the interest of one individual into the multi-national humanitarian effort.
“My husband (Sam Tushabe) started the organization,” Nancy Tushabe said on Saturday. “He started by sponsoring one child and then two children and more children and then he realized he had too many that he could do on his own, he started an organization which we called AOET so he was able to put up a web-site and then he was able to invite people over to Uganda to see what we were doing. That’s how it started, just supporting one child at a time.”
Sam Tushabe founded AOET in 1995 and grew to add AOET-USA into the organization through the help of U.S. Executive Director Ginger Damron who met Tushabe in Uganda in 2006. She helped create the child sponsorship program, supporting the program, organizing trips and more in the United States where it currently supports more than 1,000 children.
Nancy Tushabe recently moved to the Capital District and will spend the next three years preparing for her return to Uganda to continue to make a difference, attending Adirondack Community College, pursuing a degree in nursing.
Like the children who are visiting, she had to adjust to changes in the Northeast United States.
“It was OK when we came, the weather was almost the same that we have at home, but right now at night it is getting very chilly,” Nancy Tushabe said. “I can just imagine what it would be like for the children as it starts snowing and getting more and more cold. I don’t think the children would like that.”
The members of The Chosen will continue their tour through early December and return to their native country, Nancy Tushabe looks forward to her return.
“I miss the culture, I miss the people, the relationships and I miss the children the most,” Tushabe said.
She said AOET makes a difference to the village each day and support is always needed.
“Before we went there, there were so many children just roaming the streets,” Nancy Tushabe said. “We started the school and in just one day we had 100 children come to registration and right now.
“We need a school is because they need to have school, they have people supporting them through AOET and the children are changing the community,” Tushabe said. “The organization is changing the community because it is empowering the people who have not been to school yet and the caretakers of the children.”
July 19 – Wilton wins with crazy finish against North Colonie in Cal Ripken 11s ENY opener
NISKAYUNA — One of the many rules taught to baseball players at a young age is that the ball is always in play and players are reminded to play “heads up baseball.”
That may be coming to the back of a Wilton Rebel fan T-shirt soon as the 11-year-old Cal Ripken squad finished off North Colonie, 3-2, Thursday night after a dramatic and exciting unofficial triple play.
Holding on to a precious 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth against the Bison, Ben Mason was on in relief for Wilton and was in trouble.
North Colonie’s Andrew Bennett ended up on third base after a groundout and stealing third while Jaelin Rubin, who hit a mammoth home run in the fourth, on first and was staring down E.J. Birch at the plate.
Mason was able to get Birch to chase a knuckleball, but catcher Jake Hart was unable to handle it and everyone started in motion.
“I told him (Ben Mason) to throw a fastball, but he shook me off and said to throw a knuckleball,” Wilton catcher Jake Hart said. “I can’t really catch the knuckleball and he threw it and I missed it. I think it hit the side of my glove.”
With Bennett on the move, Hart flipped the ball to Mason, who dove towards home plate and tagged out Bennett.
“I was just like ‘Oh Jake, Oh Jake,’” Mason said. “I came running in as fast as I could and I get the ball and I’m thinking I don’t want to play this extra half inning.
“I throw everything out there and put the tag down. The blood is rushing to my head and I’m thinking ‘I think I have him.’”
The confusion and excitement continued simultaneously with Birch’s strikeout.
Birch had the option of running down to first base on the dropped ball on the strikeout, but was unaware that he was eligible to run because Rubin was in motion, heading to second base on the play. First base was open, and due to the dropped pitch, he was not out and needed to tagged out or a thrown out at first since the bag was no longer occupied. Birch never attempted to advance meaning the ball was still live.
Mason recognized the situation and fired to second baseman to Max Jackson who had to jump to catch the high throw before applying the tag on Rubin.
“I heard the coach say ‘The games not over, keep playing,’” Mason said. “I saw the guy (Rubin) just standing around towards third, so I threw it to Max.
“I thought it was a little high and I was like ‘Oh No!,” Mason said. “Max then jumps way up and I’m like ‘Oh ya!’ and then Max tagged him and I was like ‘Oh ya! again.’”
The smallest player on the Rebels once again came up big.
“(Rubin) stole and I wasn’t sure if the dropped third strike rule would count, so I was covering second just in case,” Jackson said. “Ben threw it and it looked a little over my head and jumped as high I could and got it. (Rubin) didn’t know what was going on because his coach told him the dropped third strike counted.”
The Rebels were on the ropes earlier in the contest, down one-run in the third before Matt Myers roped a RBI double to left field driving in Kyle Hennessey who led off with a single. Myers came home on Terel Tillman’s RBI single for the 2-1 lead.
North Colonie knotted the contest at two apiece on Jaelin Rubin’s solo home run over the left field fence in the top of the fourth.
Wilton regained its precious lead when Rece McClements led off with a single to right, stole second and reached third on Lee Gnau’s sacrifice bunt. Kyle Hennessey got one of the first breaks for the Rebels when his grounder down the first base line hit the base, good enough for a base hit and an RBI driving in McClements.
“I think everything evened out,” Wilton Rebel manager Joe McClements said. “All of those bloop singles that just fell in front of our outfielders in the third inning, they got those breaks. Then in the end, we got some too.”
The Rebels continue pool play today, facing Poughkeepsie at 1 p.m. Wilton will play a doubleheader Saturday, taking on Poughkeepsie at 8:45 a.m. and Rome at 12:45 p.m. They finish out pool play Sunday, taking on the Clifton Park Bulldogs at 3 p.m.
WILTON 3, NORTH COLONIE2
North Colonie 001 100 — 2 7 2
Wilton 002 10X — 3 4 1
2B: (NC) Cameron Martinez. (W) Matt Myers. HR: (NC) Jaelin Rubin. Records: North Colonie (0-1), Wilton (1-0).
WP: Terell Tillman (1-0). LP: Jaelin Rubin (0-1).
July 17 – Spring Renegades win 12-year-old Cal Ripken Eastern NY State title
The rested Renegades rebounded and kept Dick’s Sporting Goods in business as five different players launched home runs over the 8-foot wall on Field 14 at the Clifton Common, more than 210 feet away on their way to their second state title in two weeks with a 9-5 win.
“We just ran out of gas,” North Colonie manager Jim Decker said. “It’s hot out here, we played two games today, 12 innings. We got some kids some innings pitching-wise.
“We know Spring, they hit the ball a ton,” Decker said. “To beat them we needed 10, 12 runs, I told them before the game. When we came out with five runs I said we have a shot and we just came up short.”
The Bison chased Spring starter Anthony Germinerio in the first inning as Tyrell Robinson and Maki Medici were each forced in on RBI walks to Will Zajesky and Derek Becker.
Trent Rogers welcomed reliever Tyler Struffolino with an RBI single to left field, driving in Brandon Dicostanzo. Becker came around to score after stealing third and surviving a pickle in a rundown between third and home. Rogers came home when Kevin Sweeney’s grounder to short was thrown high giving North Colonie five precious runs to open the contest.
“I knew that they were just coming off their victory over Rome but I knew they really wanted to beat us and be the state champions,” Spring manager Dave Judge said. “I think it took us a half-inning to get loose. I think we were a little tight and the kids overcame it and little by little we chipped away.”
Joey Casale led off with the first of five Spring round-trippers in the leadoff spot, sparking the Renegade bench.
“I got some strikes on me, I worked him a few pitches and he gave me one and I put it over,” Casale said. “I was just looking to get something in play with two strikes. It was kind of outside and just made it over.”
With two outs in the first, Ian Beauregard then launched the second home run of the inning for Spring, cutting the lead, 5-2, and energizing the Renegades faithful.
“I jumped on the first pitch and I was just looking for something to be able to get on base,” Beauregard said. “I was happy it went over.”
Struffolino delivered a 1-2-3 inning in the second, returning Spring back to the dugout for another crack at the lead.
A walk issued to David Judge before Renegade big man Savarino Yamin drilled tape measure two-run blast over the left field fence and midway up the trees beyond the wall, cutting the lead, 5-4.
Struffolino allowed a single in the third inning, facing just four batters and was rewarded himself at the plate.
With two outs, including a drive by Beauregard to the warning track, Struffolino knotted the game at five apiece with his own solo blast over the centerfield fence.
“I was happy because we got the lead back and I went back out on the mound and shut them down,” Struffolino said.
Judge followed with a single and stole second, moving over on Germinerio’s grounder that was mis-played to load the bases. Zach Ziter took an RBI walk to drive in Judge and take the lead for good.
Struffolino continued to cruise and still got help from his bench.
Isaiah Peace delivered a solo home run in the fourth over the left field fence and Judge ripped his own round-tripper in the fifth, giving the Renegades their fifth home run from five different players.
“We do have a dangerous line-up, (batters) one through nine are dangerous,” Dave Judge said.
Tuesday was the second state title in as many weeks for the Renegades, capturing the AABC Pee Wee Reese state title last week.
“I told the kids before the start of the game that we could make Spring history, it’s never been done before in Spring,” Judge said. “They stepped up and delivered.”
North Colonie’s season isn’t over as they will join Spring beginning July 26 at the Middle Atlantic Regional tournament hosted by Spring. Spring will enter as the Eastern New York State champion and North Colonie will take Spring’s position in the brackets as the host team in the tournament.
SPRING 9, NORTH COLONIE 5
North Colonie Spring
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Robinsn 2 1 2 0 Casale 4 1 1 1
Mahoney 1 0 0 0 Young 4 0 0 0
Medici 2 1 1 0 Peace 3 1 1 1
Dicnstnzo 3 1 1 0 Beargrd 3 1 1 1
Zajesky 2 0 0 1 Strufflino 3 1 1 1
Ferrarese 1 0 0 0 Judge 2 3 2 1
D Becker 2 1 0 1 Yamin 2 1 2 1
Rogers 3 1 1 1 Grminrio 3 0 0 0
Iveson 3 0 1 0 Ziter 1 0 1 1
Sweeney 3 0 0 0 Guzman 0 1 0 0
A Becker 3 0 0 0
Totals 25 5 6 3 Totals 25 9 9 7
NORTH COLONIE 500 000 — 5 6 3
SPRING 222 12X — 9 9 1
OB — NORTH COLONIE 5, SPRING 4. SB — ROBINSON, MEDICI, ZAJESKY, D. BECKER, JUDGE 2, YAMIN, GERMINERIO. SAC — MAHONEY. HR — CASALE, BEAUREGARD, YAMIN, STRUFFOLINO, PEACE, JUDGE.
NO. COLONIE IP H R ER BB SO
Will Zajesky 1.1 4 4 4 1 1
Dino Ferrarese 1 2 2 2 1 0
Kevin Sweeney 2.2 3 3 2 0 1
Anthony Grminrio 0 2 4 3 3 0
Tyler Struffolino 6 4 1 0 1 5
July 16 – Spring takes two, eliminates Clifton Park from 12s Cal Ripken Eastern NY State tournament
He threw two aces down against East Fishkill and Clifton Park in Saverio Yamin and Connor Sicko and that was more than enough to advance to the title game.
Both pitchers went the six-inning maximum allowed, both securing victories, Yamin a 10-3 win over East Fishkill and Sicko, a 5-0 shutout over rival Clifton Park in the nightcap.
“He (Judge) wanted me to go two or three innings, but I kept on telling him that I’m fine, I want to pitch, I want the ball,” Yamin said. “I had confidence through the whole game.”
For an updated schedule and standings click here.Yamin gave up two runs early to East Fishkill, but his offense responded with five runs in the bottom half of the same inning.
“I knew we were going to come back because we are a good hitting team,” Yamin said.
In the nightcap, Sicko was masterful, scattering three hits over his six innings in a pressure-packed contest on the Clifton Common Baseball Complex.
“I think it was huge because we needed this win,” Sicko said. “At the beginning I wasn’t nervous, but when it came to the sixth inning I started to get a little nervous but I overcame it.”
Sicko walked three batters, struck out five and relied on his defense to help strand eight Clifton Park runners.
“My catcher, I.P. (Isaiah Peace) made a lot of stops, my second baseman Brett Young made a lot of plays and Ian Beauregard, my right fielder, made a great shoot from right field (to gun down Cole Charrette) in the fifth) and David Judge at first base, they are all great players,” Sicko said.
The Renegades failed to hit a home run against Clifton Park Monday night, a rarity for a squad that scored 39 runs in four pool play contests, but Judge had the small ball card also tucked up his sleeve.
“We’ve been holding back all year the small ball,” Judge said. “We have tremendous hitting power, but little by little we’ve been working on small ball and protecting against it defensively. We’re capable of doing it all.”
Judge will be credited as a genius with his two pitching selections, two wins, six innings each and the rest of his staff rested for the championship game.
“Our plan with Sevie (Yamin) was two, maybe three innings, but his pitch count was so low, he just stepped it up for us today,” Judge said. “For Sicko tonight, he only gave up three hits and he was on.
“He faced them last week for the AABC state championship and Sicko pitched phenomenal against them,” Judge said. “He’s very confident against Clifton Park and they had a hard time hitting him.”
In the opener, Spring picked up where they left off in pool play, powering its way to a 10-3 victory over East Fishkill in the quarterfinals of the Cal Ripken Baseball 12-year-old Eastern New York State tournament hosted by Clifton Park Baseball Monday afternoon.
In Monday’s quarterfinal opener, the Renegades delivered their 10 runs on 11 hits, eliminating East Fishkill, 10-3.
The downstate squad challenged the Troy team in the second inning, who took a temporary 2-1 lead, but that was short lived.
Spring batted around in the second inning, putting up five runs on four hits, taking a 6-2 lead.
David Judge led off with a walk and stole second. Anthony Germinero reached on an infield single and stole second before Saverio Yamin ripped a two-run double. He went to third on the throw back into the infield and was quick to come home on Zach Ziter’s sacrifice fly.
Bret Young reached on a two-out single and Isaiah Peace reached on a walk, setting the table for Ian Beauregard’s two-run double, putting the Renegades ahead, 6-2.
Spring wasn’t done with its yard work as Judge led off the third inning with a solo home run down the left field line. Yamin hit a one-out single to center and Ziter followed with an infield single before Joe Casale roped an RBI single to left field. Brett Young’s groundout allowed Ziter to score for the 9-2 lead.
East Fishkill scored a lone run in the fourth inning, but couldn’t get around on Spring starter Yamin.
He went six innings, allowed three runs on four hits. He walked one batter and struck out two in the win. “I just think it was a lot of unforced errors that kept us unbalanced,” East Fishkill manager Jim Filingeri said. “We just didn’t have that same fight today. It happens.”
The East Fishkill All-Stars were prepared for the Spring power plan.
“We had never seen Spring before,” Filingeri said. “The scouting report that we got on them was that they hit a lot of home runs and we tried to move the ball around a lot and throw a lot of off-speed stuff, mix it up a bit. The boys did a great job as far as that is concerned, they kept the ball in the park.”
The season isn’t over for the East Fishkill All-Stars.
“We have a summer schedule we play with New York Elite Baseball, we’re going to finish that out and in August 18th we are in the Cooperstown tournament,” Filingeri said.
Spring will face the winner of North Colonie/Rome at 6 p.m. tonight at the Clifton Park Baseball Complex. The winner will represent Eastern New York State in the Middle Atlantic Regional in Spring beginning July 26. Spring had an automatic berth as the host team, with North Colonie and Rome battling for a berth and the championship game determining seeding.
SPRING 5, CLIFTON PARK 0
Spring Clifton Park
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Casale 4 0 0 0 Sgmbllne 1 0 0 0
Young 3 1 1 0 Charrette 1 0 0 0
Guzman 0 1 0 0 Debrino 3 0 2 0
Peace 2 1 0 0 Wallner 3 0 0 0
Beaurgrd 2 1 2 0 Bishop 3 0 0 0
Strufflino 3 1 2 3 Smith 2 0 0 0
Judge 1 0 0 0 Douglas 3 0 0 0
Grminrio 1 0 0 0 Caroll 2 0 1 0
Yamin 1 0 1 0 Nelson 0 0 0 0
Sicko 2 0 0 1 Shields 2 0 0 0
Ziter 3 0 1 0 Goldberg 1 0 0 0
Roberts 1 0 0 0
Totals 23 5 7 4 Totals 22 0 3 0
SPRING 210 000 — 6 0 1
CLIFTON PARK 000 000 — 0 7 1
LOB — SPRING 7, CLIFTON PARK 8. HBP — CASALE, YOUNG, BEAUREGARD, NELSON. SB — CASALE, GUZMAN, JUDGE, GERMINERIO, STRUFFOLINO, ZITER 2. SAC — SICKO. 2B — STRUFFOLINO.
SPRING IP H R ER BB SO
Connor Sicko 6 3 0 0 4 5
Nick DeBrino 2 2 2 2 1 0
Griffin Wallner 4 5 3 3 0 3
SPRING 10, EAST FISHKILL 3
East Fishkill Spring
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Mackezie 3 0 1 0 Casael 4 1 2 1
Garay 2 0 0 0 Brett 4 1 2 1
Kupetz 3 1 1 0 Peace 1 1 0 0
Abdo 2 1 0 0 Sicko 0 0 0 0
B Arceri 2 0 0 1 Beargard 3 0 1 2
Lent 2 1 1 0 Bellini 1 0 0 0
J Arceri 2 0 0 0 Stuffolino 3 1 1 0
Filingeri 2 0 0 0 Judge 2 2 1 1
Dinardo 2 0 1 0 Germinro 3 1 1 1
Diedrich 1 0 0 0 Yamin 3 2 2 2
Ziter 2 1 1 1
Totals 21 3 4 1 Totals 26 10 11 9
EAST FISHKILL 020 100 — 3 4 2
SPRING 153 100 — 10 11 2
LOB — EAST FISHKILL 2, SPRING 6. SB — CASALE 2, YOUNG, PEACE, JUDGE, GERMINERTO, YAMIN. 2B — LENT, BEAUREGARD, YAMIN. HR — JUDGE.
EAST FISHKILL IP H R ER BB SO
Brian Arceri 3 9 9 8 2 2
Dan Diedrich 1.2 2 1 0 1 2
Marco Dinardo .1 0 0 0 1 0
Saverio Yamin 6 4 3 1 1 2
July 15 – Wilton falls to Niskayuna, 8-2 in Eastern NY State tournament
To the winner goes the spoils and an 8-2 win by Niskayuna advanced their squad to the playoffs while Wilton finished out its pool play and looked forward to next year’s opportunities on a bigger stage.
The Rebels (0-4 pool play) appeared ready to capture their first-ever Eastern NY State victory when Kique Holquin drilled the third pitch of the contest over the left centerfield fence, clearing the 8-foot tall boundary with ease 210-feet away.
“My friend (Cam Adams) said I could try his new (Nike) bat,” Holquin said. “I wasn’t aiming for a home run. My dad kept on telling me to keep my shoulder up, not to bring it down and aim up.
“It sounded funny, but I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it,” Holquin said. “I knew it was going and I was like ‘Oh, Ya!’”
The Rebels continued to strike the cover off the ball, but couldn’t find a hole in or get a break from the Niskayuna defense.
“We hit the ball well, we just hit it at people and that is a very good hitting team,” Wilton manager Mike Herman said. “We hit the ball at them and they didn’t make any errors.”
Niskayuna was in a must-win situation to secure a spot in today’s single-elimination playoff bracket and relied on starting pitcher Tyler Senecal to deliver the win.
He did, in spades.
Christopher Ryan reached on a one-out single to right and lefty Alec Ritzenthaler followed with a double to right. A groundout by Kyle Cox scored Ryan and a passed ball allowed Ritzenthaler to break the tie, going up 2-1.
Benjamin Funyak hit a two-out single and proceeded to steal two bases before Senecal drilled a Wilton offering deep over the centerfield fence and into the trees for a 4-1 lead.
After adding another run in the second inning, the Niskayuna pitchers continued to help their cause.
Cox reached on an infield single and Funyak delivered a two-run home run over the left field fence for the 7-1 lead.
Niskyuna’s Jack Evans scored with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, reaching on a single, stealing second and scoring on a throwing error by the third baseman.
For a full tournament schedule and standings click here.
Wilton continued to fight, scoring in the top of the sixth after Robbie Rpykema led off with a single, moved over on Peter Herman’s single and scored on an error by the Niskayuna third baseman.
The Rebels went down fighting, not offering Niskayuna any guarantees of advancing.
“One inning they hit a ball that my centerfielder almost let it go over his head and then they hit a shot to short in the same inning, two hard, hard hit balls,” Niskayuna coach Paul Ryan said. “They swung the bat really well, they fielded the ball well, the second baseman (Holquin) was amazing.”
The smallest player on the Rebels made a huge impact, challenging Clifton Park in the district tournament, hitting his second home run this year in the game and recording six outs in the game.
“I usually play short, but coach moved me to second,” Holquin said. “I had pitched before and my arm was kind of hurting, so it was good to be closer to first base. I just tried to field the position the best I could.”
Niskayuna’s pitching tandem of Senecal and Funyak limited Wilton to two runs on four hits, without issuing walk and striking out three.
“I actually pitched two really good pitchers today because we wanted to win and go in that way and build their confidence a little bit,” Ryan said. “(Benjamin Funyak) he got hit pretty hard yesterday and I put him in a really good spot today, he was going up against 7-8-9. I wanted to build some confidence for the next day.”
The third loss of the tournament for Wilton didn’t destroy the Rebels squad as they had to wait out the afternoon before they faced another three-loss team in Beekman.
“I think they’re O.K.,” Herman said. “They’re back there by the batting cages playing a bunting game, so they’re O.K.”
Beekman would record its first-ever victory in the Eastern NY State tournament, a 5-2 win in five innings. Called due to rain and agreed by both squads Sunday afternoon.
Niskayuna have to wait to see if they play Queensbury or North Colonie at 3:45 p.m. today. The final pool play game was suspended after the second inning due to rain with Queensbury leading 3-2.
NISKAYUNA 8, WILTON 2
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Holquin 3 1 1 1 Antkwski 4 1 1 0
Rypkma 3 1 1 0 Ryan 3 1 2 1
Herman 3 0 0 0 Ritznthlr 3 1 2 0
Willson 3 0 0 0 Cox 3 1 1 1
Lazar 3 0 1 0 Funyak 3 2 2 2
Adams 3 0 0 0 Senecal 3 1 2 2
Dailey 2 0 0 0 Evans 3 1 1 0
King 1 0 0 0 Barber 2 0 0 0
Campbll 1 0 1 0 Cesare 1 0 0 0
Lee 1 0 0 0 Sheely 2 0 0 0
Irons 1 0 0 0
Totals 24 2 4 1 Totals 27 8 11 6
WILTON 100 001 — 2 4 1
NISKAYUNA 412 01X — 8 11 1
LOB — WILTON 4, NISKAYUNA 5. SB — HERMAN, WILLSON, LEE 2, ANTONIKOWSKI, FUNYAK 2, EVANS, BARBER. 2B — KING, RITZENTHALER, SENECAL. HR — SENECAL.
WILTON IP H R ER BB SO
Peter Herman 5 11 8 7 1 1
Tyler Senecal 3 3 1 1 0 3
Benjamin Funyak 3 2 1 0 0 0
July 14 – Clifton Park Legends win over Nisky puts team in ENY Cal Ripken 12s playoffs
CLIFTON PARK — The Clifton Legends 12-year-old Cal Ripken baseball team is in the driver’s seat at the Eastern New York State tournament hosted by Clifton Park and the Niskayuna all-stars are ready to call “shotgun.”
Clifton Park cemented its place in the Monday’s single-elimination bracket with an 11-5 win over Niskayuna, extending its pool play record to 3-0 with one more contest today, 11:15 a.m. versus East Fishkill. A win by Niskayuna against Wilton at 9 a.m. this morning will put them in Monday’s bracket, but could still advance with a loss based on the tie-breaker format.
Clifton Park continued to be aggressive at the plate, but Niskayuna breaking ball specialist put his own defense through its paces, allowing Legend runners to advance with balls in the dirt time and time again.
When making contact, Niskayuna was plagued by errors, both mental and physical in the field.
“I think we made a lot of errors and gave them a lot of extra runs,” Niskayuna manager Paul Ryan said. “I think it would be a lot closer if we fielded better.”
Clifton Park jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Nick DeBrino’s one-out single up the middle and Griffin Wallner reaching on a dropped third strike. Both came around on a combination of wild pitches and past balls.
In the second, Tim Carroll reached on an error, advancing on a passed ball, scoring on Cole Charrette’s RBI single to centerfield. He advanced on Anthony Sgambellone’s single to centerfield, scoring when the centerfielder overran the ball for the 4-0 lead.
Niskayuna answered with three runs in the third on one swing from Kyle Cox.
With Christopher Ryan and Alec Ritzenthaler on first and second, Cox drilled a three-run home run over the right field wall, cutting the lead, 4-3.
The offensive output fired up Clifton Park as they exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning on five hits and two Niskayuna errors.
Pinch-hitter Jack Nelson started off with a single to left field, advancing on a balk and Zach Goldberg’s sacrifice bunt. Sgambellone was hit by a pitch before DeBrino reached on a fielding error by the first baseman, allowing both to score.
Matt Bishop hit a two-out single to right field and Devin Smith’s hard grounder to second was mis-handled, allowing DeBrino to score setting the stage for Kyle Douglas.
The Clifton Park left fielder hit a three-run home run, giving the Legends a 10-3 lead. Pinch-hitter Brandon Roberts reached on a single, advanced on a balk and came around to score on Nelson’s second hit of the day, an RBI single.
Nelson started the inning being the first batter to face Niskayuna reliever Benjamin Funyak, earlier preparing to face starter Alec Ritzenthaler.
“You have to keep a good eye on the pitcher, their off-speed, their curveballs and stuff so you know what’s coming,” Nelson said about his time on the bench. “If it’s close, I’m going to hit it. If its’ close you have to hit it, that’s how you win.”
Niskayuna didn’t go quietly, manufacturing two runs in its final at-bats before Clifton Park manager Gary Shields went to his closer, DeBrino for the second time on Saturday.
“The only reason I made the change was that Griffin (Wallner) was tired,” Shields said. “Griffin gave us everything he had, he was outstanding, he gave us three solid innings and he was tired and it was time to take him out and we had to bring in Nick.”
To come on in relief for the second time in Saturday’s heat was challenging.
“It was pretty hard, I was sweating,” DeBrino said. “I didn’t get enough time in the AC (air conditioned comfort). Just coming out here and playing, is a lot of fun, especially to pitch.”
The right-handed fireballer is used to getting his arm up to speed quickly.
“I only usually get a couple of minutes to warm up because we bat nine, so we get around the line-up pretty quick,” DeBrino said. “I wasn’t expecting to come in.”
DeBrino recorded two strikeouts to end the game and advance Clifton Park to Monday’s playoffs, but still with a date against East Fishkill 11:15 a.m. Sunday to close out pool play.
“I think its important to win tomorrow,” Shields said. “If we can win that fourth game and put us in the semifinal. that’s huge.
“Tomorrow’s game we won’t save anybody, hopefully we can hold our pitchers that we want to pitch on Monday,” Shields said. “If we can, great, if we can’t we can’t.”
For complete tournament schedule and standings click here.
CLIFTON PARK 11, NISKAYUNA 5
Niskayuna Clifton Park
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Antnwski 3 0 1 0 Sgmblln 3 1 1 0
Ryan 3 1 1 0 DeBrino 4 2 1 0
Ritzenthlr 2 1 0 0 Wallner 4 1 1 0
Cox 2 2 2 3 Bishop 2 1 1 0
Funyak 3 1 0 0 Smith 3 1 0 0
Senecal 3 0 1 2 Douglas 3 1 1 3
Evans 2 0 0 0 Caroll 2 1 0 0
Barber 3 0 0 0 Roberts 1 1 1 0
Sheely 3 0 1 0 Shields 1 0 0 0
Nelson 2 1 2 1
Charrette 1 1 1 1
Goldberg 0 0 0 0
Totals 24 5 6 5 Totals 26 11 9 5
NISKAYUNA 003 002 — 5 6 4
CLIFTON PARK 220 70X — 11 9 1
LOB — NISKAYUNA 4, CLIFTON PARK 5. HBP — SGAMBELLONE. SB — COX, FUNYAK, SENECAL, EVANS, WALLNER, SMITH. CS — ANTONIKOWSKI. SAC — GOLDBERG. HR — DOUGLAS.
NISKAYUNA IP H R ER BB SO
Alec Ritzenthaler 3 3 4 0 2 2
Benjamin Funyak 2 6 7 0 0 1
Tim Carroll 3 4 3 3 2 2
Griffin Wallner 2.1 2 2 1 0 2
Nicholas DeBrino .2 0 0 0 0 2
July 14 – Clifton Park Legends drop Wilton, 13-7 in Eastern NY State tournament
CLIFTON PARK — The Clifton Park Legends didn’t just have home field advantage in hosting the Cal Ripken 12-year-old Eastern New York State tournament, they had the measurements of Field 11 down cold, hitting five home runs against Wilton Saturday morning on their way to a 13-7 win.
Clifton Park outfielder Griffin Wallner was robbed Friday night of a home run when his game-ending shot hit the top of the fence on Field 14, bouncing back in for a two-run double and not the glory of a walk-off home run.
He didn’t let the same thing happen again, drilling two Wilton Rebel offerings over the wall during his 3-for-4 day at the plate that included six RBI.
“This field is 10-feet shorter (200 feet out) and it’s eight feet (fence height) over there and this is four-feet,” Wallner said.
The hit parade started out slowly Saturday morning with Clifton Park manufacturing its first run off Anthony Sgambellone’s lead off double to right and coming around on Matt Bishop’s RBI single.
After a 1-2-3 inning for the Rebels, the Wilton bats came to life, taking a 3-1 lead on three hits after Harry Lazar led off with a single to right and quickly stealing second. He came around on Cam Adams RBI single. Brent Campbell reached on a fielder’s choice and worked his way around, followed by Jon Iron, who took a walk. Starting pitcher Kique Holquin helped himself with his two-RBI single, plating the pair.
Wilton appeared ready to upend Clifton Park again, dominating the tournament hosts during the district tournament, adding two more runs in the third courtesy of Brent Cambell’s line-drive home run over the center field fence.
“It was a little outside,” Campbell said. “I was hoping that it would be inside so I could pull it more, but I guess not, it still went over.”
It wasn’t a Ruthian swing, but looked more like a poke that just connected and the ball kept on going, driving in Cam Adams who reached on a fielder’s choice prior, giving Wilton a 5-1 lead.
Wilton is now forced to win both of today’s contests, 9 a.m. against Niskayuna and 2:30 p.m. against Beekman to advance to Monday’s single-elimination round. Clifton Park advanced to the elimination round with an 11-5 win over Niskayuna Saturday night.
For more from this story, go to www.saratogian.com/sports.
Clifton Park got into the swing of things in the fourth, led by Devin Smith’s three-run shot, which drove in Wallner and Matt Bishop. Brandon Roberts followed Smith with an infield single before Tim Carroll delivered his own round-tripper, giving Clifton Park the lead, 7-5.
“It was high and outside and I just had to drive it to right,” Carroll said. “I just got it in the air and it carried out.”
The Legends’ offensive outbursts have been contagious up and down the line-up.
“You just have to believe that you are going to get up there and get a hit,” Carroll said. “Once it happens it’s a great feeling.”
Pinch-hitter Kyle Douglas reached on a one-out single to right before Nicholas DeBrino took a two-out walk, setting the stage for Wallner’s first home run of the day, giving Clifton Park a 9-5 lead.
Wilton didn’t go quietly, answering with two of its own runs in the bottom of the fourth. Max Lee walked and Holquin followed with a bloop single to right, both scoring on Peter Herman’s two-out RBI single to centerfield, cutting the Legends lead to 9-7.
Douglas led off the sixth inning with an infield single and DeBrino reached on a fielding error, allowing Wallner to drill his second home run of the day, notching his sixth RBI of the morning.
Bishop quickly followed with a solo home run, putting the game out of reach with the 13-7 lead.
“There is not pressure,” Bishop said concerning his home run. “I’m just thinking ‘get a hit,’ not thinking about hitting one out.”
Bishop helped his own cause, coming in for relief of starter Brandon Roberts in the second inning. He gave up four runs on four hits, including Campbell’s three-run shot.
“I threw one curveball down the middle and he (Brent Campbell) hit it out, so I tried not to put it there any more,” Bishop said. “They were swinging on the outside pitches, they were taking them and I tried to hit the outside corner.”
Wilton catcher Peter Herman had the best seat in the house for the Clifton Park batting clinic, frustrated at times and attempting to control the situation for his squad with his own trips to the mound during the inning.
“I get frustrated a lot when our fielder’s make errors and when the pitchers leave the ball up and aren’t hitting their spots,” Herman said. (On trips) I’m telling them to relax, to throw strikes, don’t try to overthrow, throw low.”
Wilton is now forced to win both of today’s contests, 9 a.m. against Niskayuna and 2:30 p.m. against Beekman to advance to Monday’s single-elimination round. Clifton Park advanced to the elimination round with an 11-5 win over Niskayuna Saturday night.
To see full tournament schedule and standings click here.
CLIFTON PARK 13, WILTON 7
Clifton Park Wilton Rebels
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Sgmbllne 2 1 1 0 Holquin 3 1 1 2
Charretta 2 0 0 0 Rypekma 4 0 2 0
DeBrino 3 2 0 0 Herman 4 0 3 2
Wallner 4 3 3 6 Lazar 3 1 1 0
Bishop 4 2 3 2 Adams 2 1 1 1
Smith 4 1 1 3 Campbll 3 2 1 2
Roberts 4 1 2 0 Dailey 3 0 0 0
Carroll 4 1 4 2 Irons 0 1 0 0
Nelson 1 0 0 0 Willson 2 0 0 0
Shields 3 0 0 0 King 0 1 0 0
Goldberg 1 0 0 0 Lee 1 0 0 0
Douglas 2 2 2 0
Totals 34131613Totals 25 7 9 7
CLIFTON PARK 100 804 — 13 16 0
WILTON 032 200 — 7 9 1
LOB — CLIFTON PARK 4, WILTON 6. HBP — ADAMS. SB — DEBRINO, ROBERTS, CAROLL, HOLQUIN, HERMAN, LAZAR, ADAMS. CS — CARROLL. 2B — SGAMBELLONE. HR — WALLNER 2, BISHOP, SMITH, CARROLL, CAMPBELL.
CLIFTON PARK IP H R ER BB SO
Brandon Roberts 1.2 4 3 3 2 0
Matt Bishop 2.1 4 4 4 1 2
Nichls DeBrino 2 0 0 0 0 3
Kiquie Holquin 3 8 6 6 0 2
Ben Willson 3 8 7 5 1 2
July 13 – Clifton Park Legends mercy-rule Beekman in 12s Cal Ripken ENY opener
The right fielder went 4-for-4 at the plate against Beekman in the opening pool play contest for the Legends, hit two doubles, scored three runs, drove in four and knocked in the game-ending two runs with a blast to center field onto the extended wall of the 210-foot mark of the fence…and then saw it bounce back into play instead of bouncing into the trees for a home run.
“I thought it was gone at first,” Wallner said. “I was watching it.”
In or out of the park, it was enough to end the game after four innings for Clifton Park under the 10-run mercy rule during pool play, giving the Legends a 15-5 win over Beekman.
“I was just looking for the ball coming down the strike zone so I could drive it anywhere I want,” Wallner said. “I swing at strikes, but I love a ball right down the middle.”
Click here for full tournament schedule and results
Clifton Park came out swinging, scoring 15 runs on 14 hits as eight different players crossed the plate in the contest, including exploding for six runs in the first inning.
The offensive outpouring comes after Clifton Park finished a disappointing 3-3 in district play after finishing in the top 16 at the Cooperstown Dreams Park tournament out of 104 squads earlier this year.
“I think we were sick of losing in districts because we lost our last two games there,” Clifton Park left fielder Kyle Douglas said. “We really wanted to come out with a win and show everyone that we’re here to play, we’re not done. We want to go to regionals. Douglas went 2-for-2 with three RBI and two runs scored, including a sacrifice fly in the shortened contest.
The 12-year-olds approached the tournament like pros with a clear focus on what needed to happen this weekend.
“I think we’ve played enough that we know if put pressure on us we’re not going to win, we’re not going to play our game,” Douglas said. “We just go out there, have fun, make plays, pitch good. It’s our game.”
It was still 12-year-old baseball as the Legends did make things interesting for its coaching staff.
Starter Matthew Bishop didn’t let a solo home run in the first inning phase him, pitching a pair of innings, allowing the lone run on three hits and striking out one. Devin Smith came on for one inning and Beekman showed life, scoring three runs on three hits, including another home run by the visitors. He walked one batter and struck out two.
Wallner then came on in the fourth and delivered a 1-2-3 inning, preserving the Legends pitching for the rest of the tournament.
The runs to Beekman were academic as Clifton Park loaded up the run truck, delivering a payload of four more in the second, three in the third and two in the fourth and final inning.
“I just told them we’re a team, they know we’re a team,” Clifton Park manager Gary Shields said. “We play team baseball, we come here to have fun. The kids were loose, they were ready to go.
“I told them this is what we’ve been waiting for all year and that’s the reality of it and they know that,” Shields said. “They played good team baseball like we always do. They hit the ball they play good defense, they showed up, they were ready to go.”
Clifton Park will face Saratoga County rival Wilton 9:15 a.m. this morning looking to avenge their loss in districts and will take on Niskayuna at 4 p.m. On Sunday the Legends close out pool play against East Fishkill at 12:15 p.m. with quarterfinal and semifinal action scheduled for Monday and the championship set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
CP LEGENDS 15, BEEKMAN 5 (4 INNS)
Beekman CP Legends
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Ross 2 0 0 1 Sgmbllne 3 2 3 2
Light 2 1 1 0 Nelson 1 0 0 0
Meiers 2 2 2 2 DeBrino 3 2 1 1
Russo 2 1 2 2 Wallner 3 3 4 4
Santiago 2 0 0 0 Bishop 1 2 1 1
Diaz 2 0 1 0 Smith 2 2 1 1
Chibbaro 2 0 0 0 Douglas 2 2 2 3
Fortrcngli 2 0 0 0 Carroll 3 1 0 1
Vecchine 1 1 0 0 Shields 2 1 2 1
Charrette 2 0 0 1
Goldberg 1 0 0 0
Totals 17 5 6 5 Totals 23 15 14 15
BEEKMAN 104 0 — 5 6 3
LEGENDS 643 2 — 15 14 0
LOB — BEEKMAN 1, CLIFTON PARK 4. SB — ROSS, VECCHIONE 2, SGAMBELLONE, WALLNER 2, SMITH. CS — DIAZ, SHIELDS. SAC — DOUGLAS. 2B — FORTARCEANGELI, VECCHIONE, DEBRINO, WALLNER 2, SMITH, SHIELDS. HR — MEIERS.
BEEKMAN IP H R ER BB SO
Russo 1 7 9 5 4 0
Santiago 1 6 4 3 0 0
Diaz 2 2 2 2 1 1
CLIFTON PARK LEGENDS
Matthew Bishop 2 3 1 1 0 1
Devin Smith 1 3 2 2 1 2
Griffin Wallner 1 0 0 0 0 1
July 13 – Wilton falls to East Fishkill in 12s Eastern NY tournament opener
The East Fishkill All-Stars opened with a three-run first inning on left-hander Jonah Abdo’s RBI double to drive in Joe McKenzie and Ray Kupetz. After stealing third, he was plated on Brian Arceri’s RBI groundout to third.
“I’m looking for it up and away, but that was up and in I just hit it off to right center,” Abdo said. “It was good we don’t score a lot of runs, it was good to get that today.”
East Fishkill added an insurance run in the third after Abdo reached on a one-out single to right, stole second and scored on J.D. Lent’s RBI infield single, beating out the throw from deep short.
Wilton Rebel Peter Herman took matters into his own hands, cutting the lead in half with one swing4
He sent a Diedrich offering over the extended centerfield fence, 210-feet away and into the trees to cut the lead, 3-2, driving in Rob Rypkema in the third inning.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play, hit it hard,” Herman said. “I had to shorten up with two strikes and hit the ball hard. The pitch was right down the middle and I had a big zone because with two strikes I had to protect.”
The bad luck started in the fourth inning for the Rebels when starter Scott Dailey complained of a sore arm after facing one batter and Rypkema came on to relieve him. Two innings later, the same fate found Rypkema after giving up a leadoff single in the sixth inning. Kique Holquin came on for Wilton to close out the sixth, hampering the Rebels pitching plan.
Click here for full tournament schedule and results
“We already instilled a plan for tomorrow because we are playing a very good team (Clifton Park Legends) and who we are going to pitch,” Wilton manager Mike Herman said. “We’re missing a few guys, one is going to be back tomorrow, so he’s going to pitch. We’ll use him and Kique (Holquin) and if we have to, Peter (Herman).
“I didn’t want to pitch that last guy (Kique Holquin) in that inning because he did very well against (Clifton Park) the last time we faced them,” Herman said.
East Fishkill’s Diedrich also faced one batter in the fifth inning, but his removal came at the hands of the staff.
“We said going into the fifth he had a short leash and this is a long tournament, potentially up to seven games and you have to preserve kids and you have to go deep into your bench,” East Fishkill coach John Arceni said. “That’s what we did.
“Brian (Arceni) is typically one of our best closers and Danny just did a phenomenal job today, he set the tone from right out of the gate,” John Arceni said. “We were able to get out strong with five runs, a few base running blunders, we could have scored more, but we’ll take the win.”
The East Fishkill All-Stars weren’t intimidated by the date on the calendar.
“My mom brought that up a lot today,” Jonah Abdo said. “She said ‘You did good because it was Friday the 13th,’ and I was like ‘whatever,’”
Wilton will face district rival Clifton Park 9:15 a.m. today and Clifton Park will play its second game at 4 p.m. versus Niskayuna. East Fishkill also has a doubleheader on tap, taking on Niskayuna at 11:30 a.m. and then Beekman immediately after at 1:45 p.m.
Pool play continues through Sunday afternoon with the top six teams in the two divisions advancing to quarterfinal and semifinal contests. The championship game is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
East Fishkill Wilton
ab r h bi ab r h bi
McKnzie 3 1 0 0 Holquin 2 0 1 0
Kupetz 3 2 1 0 Rypkema 3 1 1 0
Abdo 2 2 2 2 Herman 3 1 1 2
B. Arceri 3 0 0 1 Dailey 2 0 0 0
Lent 3 0 2 1 Adams 3 0 0 0
Garay 3 0 0 0 Lazar 2 0 2 0
J. Arceri 2 0 0 1 King 3 0 0 0
Diedrich 1 0 0 0 Campbll 2 0 0 0
Filingeri 2 0 1 0 Irons 1 0 0 0
DiNardo 1 0 0 0 Lee 2 0 0 0
Totals 23 5 6 5 Totals 23 2 5 2
EAST FISHKILL 301 010 — 5 6 0
WILTON 002 000 — 2 5 1
LOB — EAST FISHKILL 6, WILTON 6. SB — MCKENZIE, ABDO, LENT, J. ARCERI, DIEDRICH, HOLQUIN, LAZAR 2, KING. CS — J. ARCERI, FILINGERI, LAZAR. 2B — ABDO, LAZAR. HR — HERMAN.
EAST FISHKILL IP H R ER BB SO
Danny Diedrich 4 4 2 2 3 5
Brian Arceri 2 1 0 0 1 2
Scott Dailey 3 5 4 4 2 5
Rob Rypkema 2 1 1 1 2 2
Kique Holquin 1 0 0 0 0 2
Clifton Park Legends host 12-yr-old Cal Ripken Eastern NY State tournament
CLIFTON PARK — The Clifton Park Legends 12-year-old Cal Ripken squad will host the top teams in Eastern New York beginning Friday, July 13, at the Clifton Common baseball complex with a big set of shoes to fill and a bid to the Middle Atlantic Regional on the line.
The Legends are challenged to follow the Clifton Park Knights, the phenomenal 12-year-squad from last year that played their way to a berth in the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, Maryland.
“They don’t talk about them, but they know about them,” Clifton Park Legends manager Gary Shields said. “They respect the Knights and enjoyed the success they had last year and would like to match it.
“It’s a challenge for this year’s team to live up to the success the Knights; they were certainly a special group.”
Shields was tapped as this year’s skipper of the Legends in October, moving up with his son to the squad, joining a group of nine seasoned veterans who have won two consecutive Eastern New York State titles.
“We had an extremely successful travel season with the culmination in trip to Cooperstown,” Shields said. “We had a very successful week, finishing in the top 16 out of 104 teams and had a ton of momentum coming out of there.
“The day we got back, we had to start districts, the team kind of tired and had to play 14 games in eight days,” Shields said. “It’s quite unnatural for baseball and we didn’t play our best in districts.”
The Legends finished second overall with a 3-3 record, continuing on to the Eastern New York State tournament as the event hosts.
The Legends will open the tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday against Beekman before playing a double-header on Saturday. The hosts will face Saratoga County rival Wilton at 9:15 a.m. and face Niskayuna at 4 p.m. On Sunday the Legends will face East Fishkill at 12:15 p.m. with a winning record placing them in Monday’s elimination quarter and semifinals. The final is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s not an easy bracket, I think it’s going to be really competitive,” Shields said. “Rome, Spring, North Colonie, Niskayuna, all have good teams. It’s going to be a highly competitive tournament.”
The Legends will bring a balanced line-up that is deep in pitching arms and power at the plate.
“We have 12 players that contribute pitching, defense and hitting,” Shields said. “We have 12 players that really do contribute to the success of the team. We’re not dominated by any one player.
“Early on in the season, our pitching was extraordinarily strong, phenomenal with seven or eight kids contributing,” Shields said. “Our team speed overall is exceptional and our power has ramped up since Cooperstown. Now we’re starting to hit home runs in bunches, in any moment they can knock it out.”
July 10 – LITTLE LEAGUE: Saratoga Nationals win District 11 title with third must-win victory
SARATOGA SPRINGS — For the third game in a row, with their backs against the wall, the Saratoga National Little League All-Stars played loose and let their bats fly, dropping rival Saratoga American, 10-3 to capture the District 11 title Tuesday night at West Side Rec.
Saratoga American owned its cross-town rivals in their first meeting, winning 2-1, but a rout by the Nationals Monday night, 19-6, forced the final possible elimination contest and both squads put their best arms on the hill.
Saratoga American’s Matt Triola wasn’t touched up until the third inning after walking Brian Hart and allowed an RBI double to Justin West, who advanced to third on the throw. He put the Nationals up, 2-0, when he later scored scored on a wild pitch.
Video interviews with Noah McFarland and manager Brian Babcock Click Here.
The home team pounded out five runs in the top of the fourth, giving starter Noah McFarland more than enough runs for the win.
“There was some stress coming into this, but once you got on the mound you just had to take a deep breath and it was pretty much all gone,” McFarland said. “In the early innings I had to keep stretching it out and when I started to get a little short (follow through) and was throwing it up in the zone.
“They caught on to my fastball a little bit later in the game. They couldn’t catch up with it early, but they hung in there with it. Later it was the knuckleball.”
Matt Chmiel led off with a triple and scored easily on Cam Flemming’s RBI double. After stealing third, he scored on a Ryan Jones RBI single. Monday’s hero Garrett Camoin drove in Jones with an RBI single, coming around to score on Zac Cronk’s RBI single. McFarland helped his own cause, driving in Cronk with an RBI single and returned to the mound with a 7-0 lead.
Danny Sleight broke up McFarland’s no-hit bid in the fourth with a single and the Nationals hurler only gave up another single to David Romano and a double to Kiernan Wurl before leaving the contest after reaching the maximum pitch count allowed in Little League, 85 pitches.
“It was tough,” McFarland said. “I didn’t want to come out at all, but once I knew Jon (Stewart) was coming in I was OK I knew we had it.
“I just went with it, got the big applause and was proud of myself.”
Jon Stewart came on in relief, inheriting Jack Cairns and Wurl in scoring position. He gave up an RBI single to Danny Sleight and a groundout RBI to Ben Scammell before recording the last out and the championship.
“We would have loved to have won last Friday night and get into the playoffs on Monday and have all of our pitching,” National manager Brian Babcock said. “Things happen for a reason and maybe it was meant to be that we lost that game on Friday night because that made our team work even harder over the next couple days to get here tonight and play the way we did tonight.”
With the loss last Friday, the Nationals were forced to win on the road twice to avoid elimination, dispatching Hudson Falls from the double elimination tournament Saturday and beating Saratoga American, 19-6, Monday night at East Side Rec, which gave both teams one loss and forcing Tuesday’s “if necessary” finale.
“The whole coaching staff, we’re very proud of our boys. They played extremely well,” Babcock said. “The hitting came around and on Saturday we talked to the boys about loosening up, no stress and let’s just play our baseball and we did.
“The bats came alive tonight and it’s contagious on our team. Once one guy gets a hit, the next guy after him wants to get a hit and everyone contributed today, whether it is on the base paths, defense, pitching, hitting, whatever it was, they just played a great all-around game.”
Saratoga National will travel to Kingston Sunday and return home Monday afternoon in the sectional double-elimination playoffs, representing District 11.
July 9 – Saratoga National Little League forces District 11 If Necessary championship game
The Nationals got two home runs from Brian Hart and Garrett Camoin, who hit for the cycle in just four at-bats, Monday afternoon as they routed Saratoga American, 19-6, to force a second final contest today between the same two squads to determine the District 11 title.
Saratoga National exploded for its 19 runs on 13 hits as every player crossed the plate as the West Side representatives batted around on two separate occasions.
“We had a long talk before the Hudson Falls game on Saturday and we talked about loosing up a little bit,” National coach Brian Babcock said. “I think the kids were stressing themselves out, putting too much pressure on themselves. We told them to take a take a step back, take a deep breath and have fun, do what you need to do on and off the field and everything will fall into place.
“The bats came alive on Saturday, they felt a little better about themselves,” Babcock said. “Their confidence built up. We took Sunday off, relax a little bit and we came in tonight before the game and took BP (batting practice) and everyone looked good.”
Saratoga American picked up where it left off in the first playoff meeting, putting up three runs to open the contest on home runs by Matt Triola and Jack Cairns for the early lead off Nationals pitcher Garrett Camoin.
“I think I threw them in the wrong spots for the wrong kids and they just hit them out,” Camoin said. “It makes me a little scared, but I know when we hit that we’ll get back those runs.”
The Nationals gave their starting pitcher the three-run deficit and more, pounding out eight runs on six hits including round-trippers by Brian Hart and Camoin. The lead allowed Camoin to return to the hill with confidence.
“I was glad because it made it easier to go out there and pitch knowing that we would be getting more runs the next inning,” Camoin said. “I was a little more confident that we were going to win and have a good game.”
Camoin earned the four-inning, mercy-rule victory, allowing six runs on six hits. He struck out one and didn’t walk a batter, relying on his defense to support his winning effort.
At the plate, Camoin was equally effective, leading off with a single in his first at-bat and drilling a three-run home run in the same inning that hit the Saratoga American batting cage. He drilled a one-out triple to right field during his third at-bat and completed hitting for the cycle with a double down the third-base line, driving in three more runs.
“I was thankful that I got up four times, my teammates, if they didn’t get on it wouldn’t have happened,” Camoin said. “I just wanted to get a hit and I saw that it would be a double (final at-bat), so I just held up at second.
“It’s never happened to me,” Camoin said. “It was just my second home run.”
Both managers arranged their pitching plans for the possibility of a Tuesday showdown as both teams have one loss in the double-elimination contest, planning days of rest according to Little League Baseball, Inc. rules to allow their aces to throw today.
“We’re going to try to play the same game we played tonight,” Babcock said. “Both teams will have their best pitchers on the mound, both teams are feeling good about their chances for winning tomorrow. It’s a game that everyone in the city should come out to see because it is going to be one of the best Little League games we are going to see in a long time.”
July 6 – Saratoga Americans advance to District 11 Little League championship game
SARATOGA SPRINGS — In a pitching duel to decide which local team would advance to the District 11 Little League division championship, Saratoga American had the arms and the eyes to capture a 2-1 win over Saratoga National Friday night at West Side Rec.
Saratoga American starter Matt Triola was in command during his four-plus inning start, making only one mistake, a home run allowed to Justin West in the third inning.
“I definitely knew it was gone when I hit it, it was one of my farther hits than I usually have,” West said. “I was looking for it low, but I knew it was going to be a strike because this umpire has a big strike zone.”
Triola finished with the win. He gave up the lone run on three hits, walked two and struck out eight. He gave way to Kevin Zihal, who got out of two jams, the first one credited to his defense, and the last one, in the final inning, by himself with three strikeouts to end the contest.
“Matt (Triola) has been clutch for us all year long,” Saratoga American manager Dan MacDonald said. “We were worried about him early because he was getting his pitch count up, we were hoping to keep him in the game, four or five innings. As far as his performance goes, the kid is aces.”
Down by a run, Zihal reached on an error followed by Triola and Jack Cairns both walking to load the bases. Danny Sleight knotted the game at one apiece when he walked in Zihal and Ben Scammell put the Americans on top with his RBI single.
West set the table for the rally, reaching safely on a single up the middle in the top of the sixth inning and moved over on Matt Chmiel’s single, but both runners were stranded in the end.
“I thought we had a chance,” West said. “We had base runners, so we had a big chance, but the bats didn’t work out.”
“This, by far, was the most important win this post-season for Saratoga American because of our pitching,” MacDonald said. “We know Matt will be ready for Tuesday. Hopefully we don’t have to go that far. If that’s the case, we’ll be ready.”
The duel didn’t surprise either skipper.
“We knew it was going to be a close one. Every pitch counted, every hit counted. That’s why we went with Noah (McFarland) tonight,” Saratoga National coach Brian Babcock said. “We went with our best because they knew they were going with their best and we figured
that would be the match-up that would be most successful for us.”
“Noah pitched very well, but got tired toward the end, loading the bases,” Babcock said. “That was the game changer, walking in the tying run and the subsequent hit after that.”
Saratoga National is still alive, but has a tough road ahead of it.
The squad will travel to face Hudson Falls at 10 a.m. today in a consolation bracket elimination contest. If successful, they will return Monday to face Saratoga American again in the championship game. They must win Monday to force a winner-take-all final Tuesday night as both teams will have one loss in the tournament.
“Tomorrow we just have to come back at it again,” Babcock said. “Our pitching staff is pretty deep, but the hitting has to come back. That was the thing that was missing today.
“Our bats have to come alive and I feel very confident,” Babcock said. “I have one or two kids I can throw tomorrow in the game, be successful and turn it around again Monday night too.”
June 23 – LSU rallies for CPBL Babe Ruth rec title victory over Texas
LUS held a slim 2-0 lead through the first two innings Saturday morning before Texas posted the league maximum, four innings and take a 4-2 lead.
Tyler Warman led off with a walk followed by Josh Powell’s single to left. Both runners advanced prior to Alex Granger’s squeeze bunt, allowing Warman to score on the play and Powell to beat the throw back to home plate, knotting the contest at two run apiece.
Carson Melvin singled to right and Gus Gibson took a pitch to the middle of his back to load the bases. Patience paid off for Texas when Kevin Speach and Troy Bauer each took RBI walks, maxing out the runs allowed per inning, pulling ahead, 4-2.
“That was stressful,” LSU catcher Aaron Difiore said. “I thought they would rally and take it there. We came back and pumped through it and came through.”
LSU’s Tito Rodriquez led off with a walk in the sixth inning and stole second before Michael Tetrault was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced on a passed ball before Brian Buchanan’s grounder was mishandled by the shortstop, allowing Rodriguez to score easily.
Mark Badalucco made the most of his final at-bat of the year, ripping a double to left field, plating Tetrault and Buchanan, knotting the contest at four runs apiece.
“When I hit the ball there were two strikes on me and I knew I just had to hit the ball, make contact and stay alive,” Badalucco said. “When I hit came off the bat I ran for my life and saw Mike (Tetrault) running down to third base and ready to score I went nuts.”
He remained as aggressive on the base paths as he was in the batter’s box, promptly stealing second and then taking advantage of a mental lapse by the Texas battery.
“I saw the ball go over the pitcher and I knew I had the speed that I was able to go home and thought I would be safe,” Badalucco said. “I over thought it and my coach was trying to tell me to go and I hesitated a little bit. Then they threw over the catcher and I slid head first into the plate. It was very exciting.”
The daring play put LSU ahead, 6-4, and the purple shirts threatened for more after David Boodram delivered a single over shortstop, moving to second on Austin Brustle’s grounder. He wasn’t as lucky as Badalucco, being thrown out attempting to steal third to end the inning.
Texas seized the momentum with Jim Maloney reaching on a throwing error by the shortstop, moving to second on the play. He stole third and scored on Jacob Mahoney’s sacrifice fly to centerfield. Tyler Warman would reach on a fielding error by the second baseman, but Texas would remain down by one, 6-5 heading into its final at-bats.
LSU reliever Alex Dudick delivered in the bottom of the seventh, handling all three outs, a pair of ground balls back into the box and a pop fly that he took himself would give the Tigers the recreation title.
Difiore caught the back half of the contest and scored two runs in the win.
“That was the best moment,” Difiore said. “Alex did really well.
“I knew we were going to get hits and get runs, but it came down to the wire and those two runs definitely helped,” Difiore said.
LSU manager Pelayo Rodriquez stressed the basics during his pre-game speech, not focusing on the championship final for the teens.
“I talk to those guys like I talk to my kids,” Rodriquez said. “I give them the feedback, I give them a push and it’s just thinking.
“Basics, it’s a recreational league for this division and as long as we do what we are supposed to do we had a good chance they came up big,” Rodriguez said. “Something about them is that they never gave up, always moving those bats, even in difficult positions. I’m very proud of them.”
Astros rally past Rays to win 11/12 AAA Clifton Park Baseball League rec title
CLIFTON PARK — The Clifton Park Baseball League 11/12 AAA final saw the Astros to rebound from a second-place finish last year and earn a come-from-behind, 10-6, at the Clifton Park Baseball complex lower quad June 13.
“Last year we were the bridesmaids and we arrived on this very field, it was about 90 degrees, the heat and the humidity got to the kids pretty early,” Astros coach Chuck Latham said. “They had a good time, but it was a struggle, they had a good time, but we ended up on the short stick. This year, the coin flip went our way, once we were in the home dugout, the boys played their heart out.”
The Rays opened the contest with a lone runs when Christian Echevarria turned a walk into a run, stealing second, taking third on a passed ball and scoring on an RBI walk issued to Declan Junjulas.
The Rays left the bases clogged, threatening to break the game wide open, but starter Brendon Fallon escaped with a key strikeout to end the inning.
The Astros quickly got their runs back in the bottom of the first when Fallon knotted the contest at one run apiece, scoring on Sean Konarski’s grounder that was mis-handled. Sam Law reached on a single up the middle and scored with Konarski on a one-out two RBI single by Evan Cummings for the 3-1 lead.
The Rays struck back in the top of the second, plating the limit, four run on three hits.
James Radcliff reached on a walk, Cory Norman reached on a fielder’s choice and Jevon Kirkem walked to load the bases before Adam McCarvill hit an infield single to cut the lead, 3-2. Joseph Meyer followed with an RBI walk before Echevarria knocked in the final two runs of the inning with his double to take the lead, 5-3 lead.
The Astros rebounded for the second straight inning after Damien LaBrake reached on a walk before C.J. Latham and Fallon followed with consecutive doubles, knotting the game at five runs apiece. Fallon came around for the go-ahead run, taking advantage of a Ray’s error, going ahead, 6-5.
After shutting down the Rays in the top of the third, the Astros tacked on four more runs in the bottom half to take a commanding 10-5 lead.
Cummings led off with an infield single followed by Michael Lilholt’s single to left. Both runners moved up to scoring position with steals before Alex Slingerland drove in Cummings with his fielder’s choice.
With two outs, Latham hit a two RBI single to drive in Lilholt and Slingerland before Law followed with an RBI double for the four-run max.
Latham rebounded from his lead-off strikeout to start the contest for the Astros.
“When you strike out, it’s tough, it’s a lonely feeling walking back to the dugout,” C.J. Latham said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the league, not a lot to do if you strike out against him.
“To be 2-for 3 is something pretty special in a championship game, but that one single knocked in two,” Latham said. “The pitch came in, right down the middle, it was my kind of pitch.”
The Rays showed life in the fifth inning after McCarvill reached on a triple and scored immediately on Joseph Meyer’s RBI single to cut the lead, 10-6, but couldn’t muster any more runs in the title game.
Law would come on to close it out for the Astros and hand them the AAA title.
“I like closing a lot,” Sam Law said. “Today I got nervous, the other games, kind of.
“My best pitch is my fastball,” Law said. “It’s a straight fastball.”
The Clifton Park youngsters finally got to leave the same field as last year with a trophy and a title.
“Last year was terrible, you come so far and then you fall. When you come back the next year and win the championship, you feel like you’re in the right spot, you feel like you’re supposed to be there,” C.J. Latham said. “Playing the Rays, we weren’t supposed to be that good, but we only lost one game. They lost five or six games, but they were hot on the playoffs, and so were we, we were just a better team.”
The early summer victory sets up another season of hope for some of the Astros and Rays after a full season of everyone participates recreation baseball.
“We have some of the best 10-year-old playing ball in this league in the Capital District,” Chuck Latham said. “We have players who also play this and other sports on the side.
“We’ve got to be able to mix and match, make even teams and I think every game we played was within two or three runs this year and that shows you the league’s ability to make even teams and we work hard at that, to make sure that kids have a good time,” Latham said.