Eagles rsquo sharp talons hand Dutchmen first loss

GUILDERLAND — Guilderland baseball coach Doug LaValley hopes that Friday’s game against Bethlehem is a learning experience.

The Dutchmen played their sloppiest game of the season and it cost them in an 11-8 loss to the Eagles at Guilderland High School.

The three-hour contest was the first loss of the season for the Dutchmen.

Bethlehem scored three runs in the top half of the seventh inning and held the Dutch scoreless in the bottom half of the frame to get the win.

The Eagles scored three runs on two hits and two errors.

“We didn’t play defense,” LaValley said. “You can’t win games when you don’t play defense.”

“We don’t deserve to win”

Mike Bellizi led off the inning with a walk. He advanced to second when C.J. Sohl’s pick-off attempt sailed high and glanced off first baseman Jake Colavito’s glove for the first error of the inning.

But Sohl got Alex Sobliecki to pop up to second baseman Ivan Plata, who had a brilliant day in the field. Sohl then struck out Chris Riedel.

The inning continued when Mike Fish sharply hit a ground ball that was misplayed by shortstop Jimmy Quinn.

Will DeRuve then singled to center field to drive in the first run of the inning. Lucas Nitsche then cleared the bases with a two-run triple to give the Eagles a three-run lead.

Guilderland had tied the game, 8-8, in the bottom of the sixth inning.

With one out, Colavito reached first on an error by the Bethlehem shortstop. Andrew Simpson then worked a walk to put runners on first and second. 

Steve Anderson then singled and Colavito motored around the bases and looked like he was going to score. But a strong throw from the Bethlehem outfield beat Colavito, who was tagged out in a close play at the plate.

The next hitter, Matt Roth hit a ball that was misplayed by DeRuve at shortstop and loaded the bases. Jason Sherwood drew a walk to drive in Simpson and tie the game at eight runs apiece.

But the Eagles answered with their three runs in the seventh inning to win the game.

“We don’t deserve to win when we give up 11 runs,” LaValley said.

Eagles soar

Bethlehem took the lead early against Guilderland starting pitcher Jason Westervelt.

The Eagles scored one run in the first inning and one in the second.

Westervelt then shut out Bethlehem in the third and fourth innings.

The senior left-hander, who will play at the University of West Virginia next year, left with one out in the fifth inning. He gave up three runs including one in the fifth inning before relief pitcher Kyle LeClair took over.

“Jason pitched well,” LaValley said.

Bethlehem scored two runs in the fifth inning to tie the game, 4-4.

Guilderland scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-2 lead.

Ivan Plata reached first base on an error and then stole second base. Plata stole third base and scored when the throw from the catcher was high and ended up in left field.

Jimmy Quinn walked and later Nick Ranalli singled to drive in Quinn. Ranalli stole second base and reached third on a wild pitch. Josh Lochner drove in Ranalli with an RBI ground out.

The Dutch scored a run in the fourth inning.

Plata led off the frame with a single and later scored on an RBI single by Quinn.

After Bethlehem tied the game in the top of the fifth inning, Guilderland responded with three runs in the bottom of the stanza.

Jake Colavito hit a double to lead off the inning. He advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a passed ball.

Steve Anderson, who was intentionally walked, had Pat Quinn pinch run for him. Quinn advanced to second base on the passed ball that allowed Colavito to score.

Quinn scored on a wild pitch to make the score 6-4.

Matt Roth, who walked, scored later on a sacrifice fly by Jimmy Quinn.

Bethlehem regained the lead in the top half of the sixth inning as LeClair, who was pitching in his third straight game, was taken out and C.J. Sohl came in.

Sohl, who is Guilderland’s ace starter, struggled with his control and Bethlehem took advantage.

Sohl walked two batters and gave up four hits that led to the four runs and gave the Eagles an 8-7 lead.

 “When you put up eight runs,” LaValley said. “You are supposed to win the game.”

“We’ll learn”

The Dutchmen bounced back the next day, beating Central Square of Section I, 13-3, at Colonie High School.

Sherwood and Andrew Simpson drove in three runs each. Sherwood had a triple and two singles and Simpson hit two singles.

Ranalli added three singles and an RBI for the Dutch.

Ethan Slupski, C.J. Lozano, and Simpson pitched for the Dutch with Slupski getting the win in his first start of the season.

The Dutchmen improved their record to 4-1 overall and are 3-1 in the Suburban Council. Guilderland played Colonie on Tuesday in a league contest.

LaValley hopes his players will learn from their first loss as they face a tough part of the schedule.

“You never expect to go undefeated in baseball,” the coach said. “Momentum is the next guy on the hill and you go from there. We’ll learn from it and get better.”

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