Blast sends GBR 15 146 s to regionals

GUILDERLAND — With one ping of the bat, the Guilderland Babe Ruth All-Star 15-year-olds punched their tickets to Pennsylvania.

Steve Anderson blasted a home run over the right field fence in the bottom half of the fifth inning to lead Guilderland to a 5-3 victory over Kingston in the Eastern New York State Championship Game held in Clifton Park last Wednesday night.

Guilderland will now play in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament in State College, Pa. this weekend.
"He was throwing a first-pitch strike to every player," Anderson said of the Kingston pitcher. "I usually don’t jump on it"but he put it right there and I gave it a ride."

Anderson’s shot also drove in Luke Stark and Matt Roth and gave Guilderland a 5-2 lead.

Kingston added a run in the sixth inning, but was shut down by Stark in the seventh inning and Guilderland was able to celebrate its second straight Eastern New York title.
"The second one is even better," Anderson said.

Guilderland took a 2-0 lead in the third inning.

Jeremy Tobin led off the frame with a walk and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Kaplan.

Nick Blow then hit an offering to left field for an RBI double to give Guilderland the lead. Blow would later score on an RBI single by Roth.

Kingston cut the lead in the top half of the fourth inning and tied the score with a run in the top of the fifth.

In the bottom half of the frame, Stark was hit by a pitch and Roth singled to put runners on base, setting up Anderson’s mighty swing that sent the ball over the high right-field fence, 315 feet from home plate.
"Up to that point," Anderson said, "I hadn’t gotten a hit in my last six at bats. It’s a nice way to get out of a slump."

Joe Berschwinger started the game for Guilderland and pitched five-and-one-third innings. He gave up two runs before being replaced by Stark.

Stark gave up a bases-loaded groundout that drove in a run. Stark then retired the next four batters he faced to end the game.

"Mentally tough"
"This was really a very good game," Guilderland Manager John Roth said. "Kingston came out and played awesome. They are a tough team and they were a tough team last year."

Guilderland beat Clifton Park, the host team in the semifinals, last Tuesday night.
"All our kids are mentally tough," Roth said. "They have a desire to win and when they walk onto the field, practice, or game, they give 110 percent."

The bats were key for the Guilderland team during the district tournament but it was pitching and defense that aided the 15’s to the state championship.
"Joey pitched a good game," Roth said. "Luke came in and closed the game out. Nick Blow had a crucial hit and Matt Roth made some crucial plays. And then Steve Anderson hits the home run.
"That was the turning point of the game," Roth added. "That took the wind out of their sails."
"Pitching and defense were big," Anderson said. "Considering that this team didn’t hit well, we found a way to win. We didn’t hit well, but, when we needed a hit, we got it."

The Guilderland team struggled at the Mid-Atlantic Regional last year, and hopes to do much better this summer. The Guilderland players have set a goal of reaching the Babe Ruth World Series in Alabama.
"Last year, we were just happy to be there," Anderson said. "This year is totally different. We want to go to Alabama. It’s win or go home. We just want to win."
"We have deeper pitching and we are a better hitting team," Roth said. "And we are good defensively. We go eight deep on our pitching staff. That’s phenomenal."

Husten Govel, Ethan Slupski, Kyle LaValley, and Alex Boccio, can also pitch for Guilderland. Also on the team are Tim Flaherty, Chris Heller, and Tommy Sabbag.

The Guilderland squad also has players who have big-game experience. Anderson and LaValley played on the Section II Class AA championship team while Berschwinger and Blow were on the varsity team at Voorheesville.

With a deep roster, Roth has a lot of confidence in his team.
"We want to win it all," he said. "We want to go to Alabama and play in the world series."

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