Four Dutchmen bring skills to Empire 146 s

PLEASANTVILLE — These four Dutchmen of the Adirondack Region baseball team, with each having their own talents, brings fury to the diamond.

There is the tall, lean pitcher with a thunderbolt for an arm.

There is the big basher, who cuts an imposing look and carries a mighty swing.

There is the deceiver. While short in stature, he still carries a big stick.

And there is the speedster. The lean man of speed controls the outfield and burns up the base paths.

Each of these four Dutchmen put their talents into play this week representing Guilderland High School and the Adirondack Region in the most New York of all-star tournaments, the Empire State Games.

C.J. Sohl, the pitcher, Jake Colavito, the basher, Andrew Simpson, the deceiver, and Nick Ranalli, the speedster, participated in the 30th edition of the Olympic-style games held this year in Westerchester County — baseball specifically being held at Pace University.

"We can play"

The Adirondack team just finished a double-header on a very warm, sunny, and humid day in Pleasantville last Friday.

Adirondack beat New York City, 15-2, in the first game of the day but lost the second contest, 4-0.
"We got robbed in that last one," Simpson said afterward the second game.
"We’ve got a good team here," Ranalli said. "There is good competition. Hopefully, it will work out in the end."

It did not work out quite as well as Ranalli and his teammates had hoped as they fell to Hudson Valley — the eventual gold medal winner — on Saturday morning and lost in the bronze medal game to Central, 7-5.

Despite ending the tournament with a 2-4, record the Guilderland quad feels they left some kind of mark.
"Coming in," Colavito said, "a lot of people didn’t think that this team was that great. I think we’re showing people that we can play."

Adirondack won the first game of the tournament behind the pitching of Sohl. He pitched six innings and did not give up a run on Thursday morning against Western.

Western scored two runs in the seventh inning but Adirondack held on for a 4-2 morning win.

The game started at 8 a.m. The team had to get up at 5:30 a.m in order to get ready for the game and get bused to Pace from Manhattanville College, a few towns away.

The early morning might have affected the Adirondack team later in the day as it lost to Central, 15-7.

Adirondacks bats woke up as the team pounded out 12 hits to beat the team from the City, 15-2.

Simpson had a pair of hits in that game.

The heartbreaker and momentum-changer came in the next game against Long Island. The game was tied for five innings before the eventual silver medalists broke through for a pair of runs in the sixth inning and a pair of runs in the seventh to take the game.

Adirondack got pounded, 15-1, by Hudson Valley on Saturday morning and had to come back later that afternoon to play in the bronze-medal game.

The Adirondack squad held the lead, 5-4 in the fifth inning but gave up three runs in the frame to lose the lead and the game.

"Guilderland is coming up"

Though the Guilderland four would have loved to have left Westchester County with a medal, there was more to their experience than winning games.

And that is despite having to play all their game at Pace and not getting games at the other baseball site, Manhattanville College, where the baseball teams were housed.
"It is about getting out there and getting yourself seen," Simpson said.
"This is a big deal in New York State," said Colavito, who has been all over the east coast at baseball events. "To be part of this team means that you are one of the best in your area."

Despite having players from all over Section II and beyond, the team members have gotten along pretty well.
"We came together pretty quickly as a team," Ranalli said.
"We’re all from the same area," Colavito said. "We’re no more than 20 minutes away from each other. We’re mostly from near Albany, so we know a lot about each other. We have a good relationship."

But the four players showed pride in being Dutchmen and loved having bragging rights after winning the Section II title in the spring.

Guilderland had four representatives at this year’s games, two more than last year when Simpson and recent graduate Nick Polsinelli played on the Adirondack team.
"It shows that Guilderland is coming up," Sohl said.
"We are going to defend our title this year," Colavito added. "A lot of our starting line-up is here and there could have been a few more but there weren’t positions for them."
"We got a lot of guys coming back and a lot of new guys that want to make a statement," Ranalli said.

All four players are looking to play baseball in college. Ranalli also has the option of playing football at the next level, or, he would like to play both if the opportunity arises.

Most of the guys would head south to play collegiate baseball because the weather there allows teams to play longer and against tough competition.

Colavito is looking at Stetson University, which is a league rival of a former teammate’s college.
"I’ll be playing against Benny in a couple of years," he said.

Ben Henderson will be playing at Jacksonville University next spring.

But for now, the four Dutchmen will have one more year to show off their talents.

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