In season rsquo s first outing V rsquo ville takes brace of victories

VOORHEESVILLE — Unlike many baseball teams in the area, the Voorheesville baseball team got on the diamond for a pair of games last week.

The Blackbirds won both non-league contests and are looking forward to having a good season.

Voorheesville beat Schoharie, 5-2, last Wednesday and Cairo-Durham, 8-7, last Thursday.

“It’s not a bad start,” said Voorheesville Coach Hank Czerwinski after the Schoharie win. “I’m pleased with the first outing.”

Senior Jay Conde started on the mound for the Blackbirds and pitched three strong innings to earn the win. He struck out six batters while giving up no hits. Nick Blow pitched three innings in relief and after some early struggles settled down and gave up just one run.

Conde hit a home run and Chris Massaroni hit a double that drove in a pair of runs.

Freshman Ryan Duncan had two singles and drove in a run against Cairo-Durham.

“We were rusty,” Czerwinski said. “Both teams were. This was our first time out on the baseball field. And I’m still working on the line-up.”

The two wins were part of the five non-league games the Blackbirds will play before they open Colonial Council play against Watervliet on Friday. Voorheesville is also scheduled to play at home Monday against Schuylerville, at Cairo-Durham on Tuesday, and against Berne-Knox-Westerlo yesterday.

“It’s nice to get outside and play in March,” Czerwinski said.

“Pretty good”

The Blackbirds will be led by five seniors this spring — Tommy Pasquali, Conde, Kevin Klembczyk, Adam Duncan, and Chris Massaroni.

There are 14 players total on the roster.

Czerwinski will have four pitchers to rely on this spring. Conde will be the ace of the staff and Blow, Joe Berschwinger, and Landon Church will also be key on the mound this season.

“Our pitching will be strong,” Czerwinski said. “We have four kids. We should be pretty good if we stay healthy.”

The Blackbirds dropped down to Class C this year and Czerwinski thinks his team will be competitive when sectionals start in May.

“Being in the lower class should help,” Czerwinski said. “We should be competitive in the Colonial Council as well. We should do well come sectional time.”

But as the season has begun, the Blackbirds are still working on getting the kinks out.

“We’re feeling it out for three-and-a-half weeks,” Czerwinski said. “I’m trying to get the line-up set. Defensively, we’ll be good. Pitching will be the key. We also need to get some hitting. Defense I’m not worried about. We want to score more runs than last year.”

The Blackbirds would also like to advance further in the sectional tournament this year. Last year, the Birds lost a heart-breaking 2-1 decision to Hudson.

“Berschwinger as a sophomore pitched great in a losing effort,” Czerwinski said. “It’s hard to lose a game when a kid pitches like that. We had some kids up from the junior varsity.”

Czerwinski feels that his team has the experience to compete in the Colonial Council and the sectionals.

“Pasquali, Massaroni, and Conde have been with me since I started here five years ago,” Czerwinski said. “They know me and they know baseball.

“Nick Blow and Joe Berschwinger have varsity experience,” Czerwinski added. “And Klembczyk played last year and he’ll start in center field. We have a good nucleus. And the JV kids are developing.”

Czerwinski said that the baseball program is set for future success.

“The program is building slowly but steadily,” the coach said. “We were competitive at the B level. There is no doubt that we will be competitive at the C level.”

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