Dutchmen nine gut out two Suburban Council wins

GUILDERLAND — It was a week of gut-check games for the Guilderland baseball team.

And the Dutchmen responded.

Guilderland came from behind to beat Ballston Spa, 6-5, on Monday and held off a pesky Mohonasen squad, 7-5, on Wednesday.

“Playing in these kinds of games will help us with big games down the road,” Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley said. “Coaches can easily coach and players can play in games that are blowouts. But it is harder to do the right things in a tight game. That is what we are trying to get done.”

“There closer than we like them,” said Senior Jake Colavito. “But what’s important is that we got the job done like good teams do. We’ll be right there sticking it out to the end.”

“A tremendous start”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Dutch got a strong pitching performance from junior Kyle LaValley.

In his first start of the season, LaValley pitched four shutout innings but ran into some trouble in the fifth inning.

Mohonasen scored four runs in the frame to cut the Dutch’s lead to one run, 5-4.

The Warriors scored their first run on back-to-back doubles.

LaValley then struck out a batter and got the next hitter to ground the ball to him.

Instead of throwing the ball to first, LaValley caught the Mohonasen runner in a run down between second and third base.

Third baseman Matt Roth threw the ball to shortstop Jimmy Quinn who then threw the ball back to LaValley for the tag out.

But LaValley gave up a hard-hit ball that was misplayed by Ivan Plata and then struggled with his control, hitting the next batter. LaValley then gave up a two-run single that made the score 5-4.

Kyle LeClair came on and got the next batter to ground out to short that ended the inning.

“We need to play better defense,” Coach LaValley said. “We made an error that would have ended the inning. That makes more pitches for the pitcher and we had to go to a guy who has already pitched this week.”

“My arm was kind of hanging,” Kyle LaValley said. “My elbow was sore from throwing the slider, but I battled through it. But when I hit that kid…”

“It was a tremendous start,” Colavito interjected. “He pretty much gave up just one run in five innings.”

“My arm felt good,” LaValley said. “I had a nice little nap and a big old breakfast. The trainer stretched me out well and I felt like I was throwing five miles per hour harder.”

“Timely hits”

The Dutch held on to the lead by scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth inning and one in the bottom of the sixth.

Andrew Simpson reached first base on an error. Pinch runner Pat Quinn stole second base and scored on Steve Anderson’s double to center field.

In the sixth, Nick Ranalli singled and moved to second on a short single by Colavito. Quinn drove in Ranalli with a two-out single to right field.

Mohonasen scored one run in the seventh inning to round out the scoring.

Guilderland scored two runs in the first inning.

Ranalli led off the frame with a double and later scored on a single by Anderson. Colavito later scored from third base on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0.

Guilderland picked up one run in the third inning.

Josh Lochner singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Anderson.

The Dutch made it 5-0 in the fourth inning.

Catcher Jason Sherwood led off the frame with a double. He scored on a double by Plata.

After a sacrifice bunt by Jimmy Quinn, Ranalli drove in Plata with a double.

“We’re getting timely hits,” Colavito said. “We’re putting the ball in play. We’re cutting down on the strikeouts. And that’s a big part of it.”

“The team to beat”

The Dutchmen are 3-0 so far this season and have a 2-0 mark in the Suburban Council.

The Dutchmen beat Ballston Spa, 6-5, on Monday thanks to Anderson’s game-winning two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

Anderson had three hits in four at bats with a home run, a double, and a single. He finished the contest with four runs batted in.

The Dutchmen trailed, 5-1, after five innings but scored two runs in the sixth inning and three in the seventh.

LeClair got the win in relief of starter C.J. Sohl. LeClair got the save in Wednesday’s game.

“We’re getting the job done,” Coach LaValley said. “The guys know that we have to play better and good things will happen.”

“Our goal is to defend our title,” Colavito said. “We know that we have a good shot at it, but we know that it won’t be given to us. If we keep working the way we have been, we’ll definitely be the team to beat.”

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