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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 18, 2006

Guilderland tennis team

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland tennis team has had a target on its back all season but has avoided any major hits.

The Dutchmen, the defending Section II champions, have just one loss this year, which they avenged later in the season.

"We didn’t get a good start at the beginning of the season," said Guilderland Coach Curtis Snyder. "Even though guys play a lot during the off-season, we weren’t totally ready. Bethlehem legitimately beat us, 6-3. It forced us to get re-focused and we’ve played pretty good since then."

The Dutchmen came back to beat Bethlehem, 8-1, a few weeks after the loss.

Right now, the team’s season has been put on hold — the sectionals begin on Friday — and the individual tournaments for spots in the state meet is taking place.

A pair of Guilderland players is having success there.

Alex Kolomiets and Kevin Gioia, the top two singles players for the Dutch all season, have teamed up for the doubles tournament and have advanced to the semifinals. The duo already won the doubles title at the Suburban Council Tournament.

"They wanted to try something different," Snyder said. "They play singles a lot during the year, and they really wanted to come together and see what they can do.

"They are big kids, six-four and six-two," Snyder added. "They’re big hitters and are intimidating. They force other teams to change what they do."

Joey Millstein, who competes in doubles for the Dutchmen, was in the singles tournament after an impressive showing at the Suburban Council singles competition.

Kolmiets and Gioia have been the top players for the Dutchmen for the past few years and have been leaders all season.

Joe Shawky has played in the number-three slot for the Dutch and Jon Ellenbogen has filled in the four spot nicely.

Mike Griggs plays number-five singles and Pat Ryan is in the sixth slot.

Dan Bakst and Millstein form the top doubles team for the Dutchmen. Chad Caplan and Joey Malerba are the number-two team and Scott Purga and Ben Ellenbogen are the third doubles team.

Ben Ellenbogen, Purga, and Malerba are the only newcomers to the line-up.

"That’s definitely going to help us," Snyder said. "The older guys have helped the younger guys and we’ve been able to put them in where they belong."

The Dutchmen get a first-round bye and will play in the quarterfinals on Monday. The semifinals are on Tuesday and the finals will be on Wednesday. The Dutch will be at home for the quarters and the semis if they win. The final will be at a neutral site — most likely Central Park in Schenectady.

"They are up for the challenge," Snyder said of his team as it gets ready to defend its title. "They are looking forward to it. They want to be the team that wins two in a row. That’ll be great."

Voorheesville softball team

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville softball team has put itself in a tough spot as the season winds down.

The Lady Blackbirds have an overall record of 7-11 but are 4-10 in the Colonial Council and will be fighting in their final four games to clinch a spot in the Class B Section II tournament.

"We have four league games and we have to win them all for a chance to make the sectionals," said Voorheesville Coach Matt Fiato.

The Blackbirds have games remaining with Cohoes on Thursday, at Cobleskill on Friday, and they have to make up a game with Holy Names on either Saturday or Monday. The Birds played Ravena on Wednesday.

The seedings for the softball tournament will be released on Tuesday.

The Blackbirds have had better luck in non-league games. Voorheesville won the championship in the Albany Tournament on May 6. The Blackbirds beat Burnt Hills, a larger school from the Suburban Council, 8-2, in 11 innings and then beat Albany, 6-5, to win the championship.


The game was tied, 2-2, going into extra innings and neither team could score until Voorheesville exploded for six in the 11th, the fourth extra frame.

The Blackbirds had four hits and took advantage of three Burnt Hills’ errors in the stanza. The big hit of the inning was a three-run triple by Jenna Massaroni.

Sarah LaFave pitched well for the Blackbirds. She struck out 10 batters and the two runs scored by the Spartans were unearned.

Massaroni was the big hitter in the championship game. She had a double and triple to lead the Blackbirds.

Brittney Wineinger added three singles for Voorheesville. Rebekah Coons hit a single and double and drove in two runs for the Birds.

The Birds thwarted a late Albany rally.

The Falcons loaded the bases in the seventh inning. Albany then scored one run on a fielder’s choice with no outs.

Then the next Albany batter hit a line drive that was caught by Voorheesville shortstop Brittany Vogel. Vogel was then able to get the runner out at third base for a double play.

The next batter hit the ball to right field but Wineinger threw out the runner at first base to end the game.

"That was the best we played all year," Fiato said of the tournament. "It showed what we are capable of. For some reason, we have not played that good against league teams. But our league has tough competition."

"Good games"

The Blackbirds then dropped games to Mechanicville, 6-0, and Broadalbin-Perth, 2-0.

"They were good games," Fiato said. "We battled back-and-forth. We had a chance to win them. We couldn’t make plays at the right time and we didn’t get timely hitting."

The Birds also lost to Holy Names, 2-1, after a late comeback attempt was thwarted.

Voorheesville beat Watervliet, 17-0, last Wednesday to get their fourth league win. The Birds have not played a game since, due to rain.

So the Birds are looking at playing four games in a row if the Holy Names game is rescheduled for Saturday.

And with the competition in the league so tough, it makes for a daunting task for the Blackbirds.

"Every game we played in the league is a fight to win," Fiato said. "There are really good teams. If you look at the size of schools, this is one of the toughest leagues."

Berne-Knox-Westerlo softball team

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The players on the Berne-Knox-Westerlo softball team have been learning all season but at times their inexperience shows.

And it showed on Wednesday, as the Lady Bulldogs lost to Mayfield, 21-5, to drop their record to 3-10 this season.

"We are more inexperienced than young," said BKW Coach Jim Lemire. "The kids are getting an education in softball. We have a young pitcher, who’s an eighth-grader."

Kieva Reynolds pitched five innings for the Bulldogs and did well despite giving up 12 runs. She wasn’t helped by three errors. But Mayfield also did a good job of getting timely hits.

Kayla Squires pitched the last two innings for BKW and pitched well, but errors hurt her in the seventh as Mayfield scored eight runs in the final frame. BKW committed four errors in the stanza.

"Our pitchers pitched their hearts out," Lemire said. "There was no breakdown there.

"If they are not the best-hitting team in the league, they are one of the best," Lemire said of Mayfield. "But Kayla Squires made a diving catch and we had a couple of other plays like that. We made some plays. Tracey Williams turned a double play."

The Bulldogs had their moments at the plate as well. They scored two runs in the first inning, one in the third, one in the sixth, and one in the seventh.

Keri Rossback scored in the first inning after walking and advancing around the bases. Katie Stanton also scored after reaching base on a fielder’s choice. Lindsay Hamel drove in a run with a single.

Rossback scored again in the third inning. She walked again and then stole second base. Rossback reached third on a throwing error by Mayfield’s catcher on the play. She scored when she stole home on a double steal play.

Christine Sikule scored in the sixth inning for the Bulldogs. Sikule singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Kristi Dunigan walked to put runners on second and first. Reynolds walked to load the bases and Williams hit a ball that was misplayed by the Mayfield second baseman, which allowed Sikule to score.

Stanton scored the final run of the game for BKW. She hit a single to lead off the seventh inning. She moved to second and later third on wild pitches and scored on Amanda Tubbs’s RBI groundout.

"Our bats were a little bit better," Lemire said. "They have three good pitchers and we did a good job against them."

"Inexperience shows"

But the Bulldogs have not been able to find any consistency this season.

"We’ve definitely improved," Lemire said. "But our inexperience shows. We’ll be great one day and the next we’ll struggle."

Lemire said that a lot of the inexperience is because most of his players don’t play outside of the school season.

"There are not as many people that are dedicated to playing softball outside of the school," Lemire said. "They play soccer or volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter and, when it comes to spring, you don’t know what you got. Some girls play softball during the rest of the year, but most don’t. It’s not an excuse; it’s just the way it is. When spring comes, we take what we have and have a good time."

There are only three seniors — Sikule, Hamel, and Nicole Shultes — on the team, so Lemire will have a lot to work with in the future, especially with a talented young pitcher like Reynolds.

"It’s the goal of the program to get kids to play part of the year outside of the school team," Lemire said. "They do it in other sports this time of the year. It makes it really tough."

But Lemire likes the way his players come out and play and practice every day.

"I like how hard they work," the coach said. "The kids openly accept a lot of the things that we are doing."

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