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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 12, 2005

Blackbirds name on top of league’s chart

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville Blackbirds set out to make a name for themselves in baseball this season and they have.

The Blackbirds have clinched a share of the Colonial Council title and are preparing to make their name in sectionals.

Voorheesville took first place with a 12-6 win over Cobleskill-Richmondville on Monday. The Birds followed that win with a 13-8 win in a non-league game against Bishop Gibbons.

With a win on Wednesday over league foe Lansingburgh, Voorheesville would clinch the Colonial Council title.

"It would be the first in Blackbird history," Voorheesville Coach Hank Czerwinski said.

"It’s very exciting," said senior co-captain Chris Hensel after Tuesday’s game. "But we are looking to keep it for ourselves. We do not want to share it."

The Blackbirds are 12-2 in the Colonial Council and 15-4 over-all. Their only league losses came to Mechanicville and Schalmont, teams they had beaten this season.

"We’ve struggled at times this season," Hensel said. "But recently we’ve hit the ball well. The team’s been clicking."

Winning streak
After a loss to Bishop Gibbons on May 3, the Blackbirds have ripped off four straight wins and avenged that earlier loss to the Golden Knights.

The Blackbirds won an error-filled game on Tuesday against Gibbons.

Voorheesville took advantage of a couple of errors in the first inning. With one out, Shayne Minick doubled to left field and then advanced to third on Pete Lindner’s single. Lindner stole second base as the throw from the catcher went into centerfield and Minick scored on the play.

Steve Cardinal then reached first on an error by the Gibbons second baseman and Lindner scored on the miscue. Nick Duncan followed with a walk and Andy Catellier then singled to load the bases.

Brett LaFave grounded out to the shortstop but Cardinal scored to give the Birds a 3-0 lead.

Gibbons scored two runs in the top of the third inning, but Voorheesville answered with four runs in the bottom half of the frame.
Duncan led off the inning with a single and then stole second base. Catellier singled and advanced to third on an error by the Gibbons left fielder. Duncan scored on Catellier’s hit.

LaFave walked, and an infield hit by R.J. Curreri loaded the bases. Greg Delaney grounded the ball to the shortstop who forced out Curreri at second base. The relay throw to first base was late and Delaney was safe at first; Catellier scored and LaFave advanced to third.

LaFave scored when Delaney stole second base and another bad throw by the Gibbons catcher was errant.

Minick singled to drive in Delaney to make the score 7-2.

Voorheesville scored six runs in the fourth inning to take a 13-2 lead.

Charles Lansburg drove in two runs and later scored in the frame. Curreri, Delaney, and Minik also scored in the frame.

Bishop Gibbons scored four runs in the fifth inning and two in the sixth as Voorheesville got careless on defense.

Hensel pitched well in the con-test to get the win. He pitched six innings striking out nine Gibbons batters.

LaFave pitched the seventh inning; he did not give up a run and had one strike out.

"It was a very ugly win," Czerwinski said. "But we’ll take them as we can get them. It wasn’t pretty. Every win is important for sectional seeding. And Gibbons, like us, is a Class B school."

"Ready to go"
The Blackbirds are getting ready for the stretch run as the regular season comes to a close next Monday against Watervliet.
"We’re hitting the ball and our pitchers are holding up," Czerwinski said. "We got a de-cent effort from Chris and our arms are rested. We should be ready to go."

"We have at least two starters for every game," Hensel said. "We’re solid and have a deep bullpen."

The Blackbirds had other goals set for the season, like qualifying for the sectionals — which they easily accomplished — and getting a home game in the sectional tourney. While the second goal will have to wait, the Birds did accomplish another goal in being at the top of the Colonial Council.

"We’re taking it one step at a time," Czerwinski said. "Last year, we wanted to get into the sectionals and we did that, but we got beat. This year, we want to get a home game and get a win. And then keep moving up."

"We want to keep winning," Hensel said. "We want to get a winning streak going and win as much as we can."

After Wednesday’s game, Voorheesville plays at Schoharie on Thursday and hosts Watervliet on Monday.

Dutch tennis shows no love to Shen

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Guilderland and Shenendehowa held a show-down for the Suburban Council tennis crown last Thursday with the fight going on to the very last match.

Guilderland edged Shen, 5-4, with a win in the third doubles match to claim the victory and the Suburban Council title.

"We trailed, 4-3, and our second doubles team was down a set," said Guilderland Coach Curtis Snyder. "They fought through it and they then won to tie it at 4-4."

The match came down to the third doubles match. The Guilderland team trailed by a set in the match but also came back to pull out the victory and give the Dutch the match.

"My guys battled it out," Snyder said. "We went home happy. It was thrilling. We knew it was going to be close and it was. It was nice to end the Suburban Council season that way."

"Loaded with talent"
The Dutch have a tough combination at the top of their line-up.

Alex Kolomiets has been the number-one player for most of the season and is unbeaten in league matches this season.

Kevin Gioia is the number-two player and Joe Shawky plays in the number-three slot.

Eric Greenstein fills the fourth position, while Pat Ryan is number five and Mike Griggs is sixth.

Matt Goland-Van Ryn and Jon Ellenbogen are the number-one doubles team.

Chad Caplan and Josh Weisz are the number-two doubles combination and Dan Bakst and Joey Millstein round out the Dutchmen line-up.

"This is who we played our league matches with," Snyder said. "We’re sticking with it unless unforeseen injuries occur. We have exhibition players that could be in the line-up for almost any team in the Suburban Council. This team is loaded with talent."
Even with all the talent on the team, Snyder said that there is a good chemistry between the players.

"They are fun to coach," he said. "The thing is that Guilderland is so good in tennis we can’t take it easy. Our practices are competitive. Our top three compete well, but every now and then our middle guys will lose. But there is no weak point in this team."

Kolomiets will compete in the Section II individual tournament and Gioia and Shawky will form a team to try and repeat as state qualifiers in the tournament.

"Their goal is to get back to states," Snyder said. "Alex hasn’t lost in the league and Kevin hasn’t lost in the league yet. It’s nice to know they are going to win matches."

Guilderland dominated many of its league matches, so the final match with Shenendehowa was its toughest draw.

"It added a little bit to the season," Snyder said. "We knew we’d be rivals and it would come down to our match at the end of the season. It made it much more climactic."

Guilderland wrapped up the season with a non-league win over Queensbury on Tuesday.

But, the Guilderland players have been focusing on Shen for the entire season, and even longer.

"Ever since we lost the sectional final to them last year, we’ve been wanting to get back at them," Snyder said. "Our guys have been playing year round — during the fall and winter — and they were doing it to win the Suburban.

"I’ve been saying all year to the guys that talk is cheap," he added. "But, to their credit, they did it. They worked hard and they wanted this."

The Dutchmen learned of their sectional seeding on Wednesday night. They will probably be the top seed in the Class A tournament and will receive a first-round bye, Snyder said. All roads are leading to a rematch with Shen.

"We fulfilled one of our goals of the season," Snyder said. "It took us all our matches; the competition is so good. We’re pleased with that, but now we want a little more."

Bright lights shine too late on Dutchmen bats

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Brendan Malkowski stood on the mound in the center of the diamond at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy with a frustrated look on his face.

Malkowski had pitched a tough seven innings for Guilderland but did not get any run support in a 4-3 loss on Friday night to Columbia High School. He only made a couple of mistakes in the game but was a victim of poor hitting and untimely mistakes in the field.

Malkowski gave up a solo home run to Columbia’s Bryan Rose in the third inning with two outs and a single by Brent Weber that scored Kyle Meyer who reached base on an error.

Columbia scored two runs in the fourth inning. A two-out error with the bases loaded led to runs scored by Buddy Czerno and Josh Willimot who both singled in the inning.

"That’s what happens when you don’t make plays," said Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley. "Brendan gave up one earned run."

Malkowski pitched a fabulous game, striking out seven Blue Devil batters. Guilderland had three errors in the contest while Columbia had just one in the contest.

Columbia looked to have a comfortable lead in the seventh inning when Guilderland made things interesting.

Brad Anderson, who came in to pinch hit, singled to lead off the frame. After two strikeouts, Kevin Doherty walked to put runners on first and second.

Then, the next Guilderland batter, Matt LaValley, hit a pitch over the left field wall at Bruno Stadium for a three-run home run to cut the lead to one and got the Guilderland team on its feet in the dugout.

But Bill Rafferty grounded out to end the game and the Dutch went home with a loss, where they got just three hits, two in the final inning, and left five runners on base. Guilderland batters also struck out 10 times in Friday’s contest.

"We’ve been struggling a little bit with the bats," LaValley said. "Hopefully, we’ll work it out be-fore sectionals.

"People forget that they are the defending state champions," LaValley added of Columbia.

Getting ready for sectionals
Guilderland has worked on hitting in practice this week.

"We’ve been swinging the bats well in practice," LaValley said. "It would have been great if Matt’s homerun was a walk-off. It could’ve been if we made a couple of plays."

The loss gave the Dutchmen an 11-9 overall record to conclude the regular season, and an 8-6 mark in the Suburban Council.

The Dutch played in the Suburban Council Tournament this week. They played Shaker on Wednesday. If they won that game, Guilderland would play Monday against the winner of the Colonie-Ballston Spa game. If Guilderland loses, they would play Thursday against the loser of that game. The Dutch also play Queensbury on Saturday.

\The Dutch are now getting ready for the Section II Class AA tournament. They clinched a spot after beating Shaker, 14-1, on April 28.

The Dutch also beat Mohonasen, but, since then, the bats have gone cold. Guilderland lost to Bethlehem, 2-0, last Monday and Saratoga, 2-1, be-fore Friday’s loss to Columbia.

LaValley said playing at Bruno Stadium was a good experience for his team. The sectional finals will be held there later this month.

"It was a good baseball game," LaValley said. "The kids enjoyed it. It was real nice and it was great for them. Hopefully, we’ll get back there because that meant we did well in sectionals."

Bulldogs come back to beat Duanesburg

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo baseball team capped off an impressive week with a big win over Duanesburg.

On Monday, BKW beat one of the top teams in the Southern Division of the Western Athletic Conference.

The Bulldogs were led by Matt Mulson on the mound. Mulson pitched a complete game and struck out six and walked one in the victory.

"Duanesburg is in second," BKW Coach Jeff Teats said. "It is always nice to win when you play Duanesburg. They are always a decent, solid ball club."

BKW fell behind, 2-0, in the first inning but the Bulldogs came right back in the bottom half of the frame.

Sean Wolfe led with a four-pitch walk and Jeremy Mann singled on a hit-and-run play to move Wolfe all the way to third base. Bob Patrick followed with a double to drive in Wolfe.

Then Rick Ragone hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop that was misplayed to allow Mann to score. A throwing error on the same play allowed Patrick to cross the plate and give the Bulldogs the lead, 3-2.

Duanesburg came back to take the lead, 5-3, and held it until the bottom of the fifth inning.

In that frame, Wolfe singled and stole second base; then Mulson doubled to drive in Wolfe and cut the lead to one. Mike Yakel followed with a single and Patrick doubled to score Mulson and tie the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs, Jayson Villenueve singled, Sean Wolfe singled, and Mann came up with a clutch two-out hit to score Villeneuve with the winning run.

Mixed results
On Friday, the Bulldogs lost at Mayfield, 3-2.

Mann pitched five-and-two-thirds innings with a 2-1 lead. But two passed balls scored the tying and the winning run.

BKW took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. After one out, Patrick singled and then stole second base. Josh Skinner reached first base on an error by the shortstop, and Rick Ragone drove in both runners with a double. But BKW would only get two more hits in the contest.

Last Wednesday, Patrick pitched a perfect game against Schenectady Christian into the fifth inning when a single to right field with two outs ended the great pitching performance.

Patrick pitched six innings with one unearned run and three hits as the Bulldogs won, 11-1.

Caleb Grippen pitched the seventh inning for his first varsity appearance to finish the game.

BKW finished with 16 hits. Mulson had three hits and two runs batted in and Villeneuve had three hits in the contest.

On May 3, the Bulldogs scored 11 runs in the first inning en route to beating Middleburgh, 15-4. BKW had 14 hits in the con-test.

Mann had two singles and three RBI’s; Mulson and Mike Yakel had two singles apiece; and Patrick had a single and a double.
Mulson, Mann, and Yakel combined to give up only five Middleburgh hits.

On Tuesday, BKW lost 8-3 to Fonda-Fultonville to bring their record to 7-5 in the league and 9-5 overall.

Coming up
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs played Saratoga Spa Catholic be-fore playing a WAC crossover game on Friday — either at Middleburgh or home against Canajoharie.

BKW then plays at St. Johnsville on Saturday and then is scheduled to face them again on Thursday in Cooperstown. On Monday, BKW will play a crossover game against a team from the Northern Division.

"The end of the year is typically like this," Teats said.

Teats said the Bulldogs are a one-run loss away from being at the top of the Southern Division.

"Against Schoharie, we lost 5-4 and they’re in first place," Teats said. "That was a winnable game. Mayfield was a one-run game that we should of won. We’re not too far a part from having a terrific season."

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