Bunt a big hit for Dutchmen 146 s comeback

GUILDERLAND — Monday’s baseball game at Guilderland High School had a familiar theme.

The game was tied in the bottom half of the seventh inning and the Guilderland baseball team had the bases loaded. And much like a game earlier in the season — the second of the year to be exact — the Dutchmen won the game on a suicide squeeze bunt. It was almost a mirror image of Guilderland’s first Suburban Council game of the season.

There were some differences. It was about 40 degrees warmer and, instead of the final score being 7-6 as it was against Ballston Spa on that cold day in early April, Guilderland beat Bethlehem, 6-5.

And it wasn’t Nick Polsinelli who dropped down a bunt in Monday’s game, it was number-eight hitter, Jimmy Sabbag.

Sabbag laid down a perfect bunt in between home plate and the pitcher’s mound and sprinted to first base. Barreling down the third base line was Andrew Simpson, and he scored easily as the Bethlehem pitcher did not have a play.

The play kept the Dutchmen from getting a blemish in the loss column.
"This team finds a way to win," said Guilderland Coach Dough LaValley. "But it was our typically post-Colonie game. We were flat a little bit. And their pitcher did a good job."

Guilderland beat arch-rival Colonie, 7-3, on Saturday in a battle of unbeaten teams at Guilderland High School.

Rasovsky in control

On Monday, Bethlehem pitcher Oren Rasovsky was in control for most of the game. He did not give up a base hit until the fourth inning.
However, the Dutch had only three strikeouts in those three innings, so they were putting the ball in play; they just weren’t "hitting ’em where they ain’t."

In the meantime, Bethlehem touched up Guilderland starter Greg Barcomb for three runs, two in the first inning and one in the second.

Barcomb gave up just two hits and struck out three batters, but hurt himself with walks. He walked five batters in the first two innings, which led to the runs.
"He struggled with the zone," LaValley said. "He gutted it out. He didn’t want to come out. I want my pitchers not to want to come out. But I had to; there are bigger games down the road."

Bethlehem led, 4-0, after the top half of the fourth inning, but Guilderland chipped away at the lead in the bottom half of the frame.

First baseman Ben Henderson scored after opening the frame with a single. Sophomore designated hitter Steve Anderson drove Henderson in with a single.

Bethlehem added a run to its lead in the fifth inning. Two Dutchmen errors in the frame led to the run, but reliever Kyle Leclair did a good job of getting out of the inning by inducing a ground out.
"Kyle comes in and does the job," LaValley said. "It’s his second win like that."

Leclair won the Ballston Spa game in long relief.

"We stayed patient"

Guilderland made the score 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

Nick Ranalli led off the inning with a walk. He stole second base and then moved to third on a groundout by Polsinelli. Henderson then singled to right field and Ranalli scored easily from third.

Guilderland tied the game in the sixth inning by scoring three runs without getting a hit. Simpson and Anderson started off the inning with back-to-back walks. Then Joe Lima loaded the bases after the ball was misplayed by the Bethlehem shortstop.

Sabbag walked against reliever Matt Nash in the next at bat and Simpson trotted home to make the score 5-3. Ranalli also drew a walk that allowed Anderson to score and cut the Dutch’s deficit to one.

Lima scored on a ground ball hit by Mike Goldstein to shortstop. Ranalli was forced out at second base but Goldstein beat the relay throw to first.

Guilderland couldn’t get the lead run in the frame, though, as Henderson hit an infield fly and Jake Colavito struck out.

Simpson led off the seventh inning with a single and sprinted to second when the leftfielder misplayed the ball.

Anderson was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second. A passed ball against the Bethlehem catcher advanced the runners one base.

Lima was walked intentionally to load the bases. And with Sabbag coming up, LaValley decided to put the suicide squeeze play on. Sabbag bunted the second pitch as Simpson sprinted toward home plate.
"We stayed patient," LaValley said of his team’s approach at the plate in the late innings. "We knew the more pitches we saw, the more mistakes we’d see."
"The will to win"

LaValley senses something special in this team. The Dutchmen won three games in three different ways. They got a brilliant pitching performance from C.J. Sohl in a 9-0 win over Saratoga last Friday, their first game in over a week because of weather-related cancellations. Sohl pitched a complete-game three-hitter. He had eight strikeouts and two walks in the contest.

Then the Dutch got a strong pitching and hitting performance from Polsinelli against Colonie on Saturday. He gave up just three unearned runs and six hits in the game. Polsinelli struck out seven batters and also hit a two-run home run.

Goldstein also hit a home run and had a double in the game.
"We fight," LaValley said. Then, referring to his spot in the third-base coach’s box, he added, "I was over there and I never had this feeling with a team. I never sensed that we were out of it. No matter the deficit, this team has the will to win."

The Dutch played at Averill Park on Wednesday. They will continue to use that will to win in a game against Shaker on Thursday. The Dutch then travel to Ballston Spa on Monday and return home to play Burnt Hills on Wednesday.
"It’s like this team is on a mission," LaValley said on Monday. "We’re 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the league. We want to keep going. Our biggest game now is against Averill Park."

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