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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 25, 2006

Guilderland baseball

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It had been nine days since the Guilderland baseball team played a game.

Due to the rainy weather, games in the Suburban Council Tournament had been washed out and the Dutchmen hadn’t played since they beat Averill Park on May 11.

The Dutch came back to get wins over Amsterdam, 9-6, on Saturday and LaSalle, 9-8, on Monday.

"Hopefully, those will tune us up for what we need to accomplish," said Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley. "Amsterdam and LaSalle are both in the sectionals. LaSalle is number one in the Big 10 and the Big 10 champ. They were also the Section II champ last year."

The wins bumped the Dutch’s record to 12-5 overall and 9-5 in the Suburban Council as they head into sectional play. The seedings were announced Wednesday and the Dutchmen have a quick turnaround as they play on Thursday. They will play at Christian Brothers Academy in Colonie at 4 p.m. The winner of Thursday’s contest will play in a quarterfinal game against Colonie High School on Saturday.

The Dutch had lost two of their last three games before the streak of rainy days.

"It felt good to get on a baseball field and play on Saturday night," LaValley said. "It had been nine days since our last game. The first time around, we were a little rusty — the first time through the line-up. Then we got a lot better. We hit a couple of long balls in that game and we hit a couple more against LaSalle."

LaValley thought his team would have to travel for its first-round game. He said his team will be ready for the challenge.

"It doesn’t matter who or where we play," LaValley said. "We just have to go and be ready to play."

Guilderland girls’ lacrosse

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Guilderland girls’ lacrosse coach Gary Chatnik couldn’t explain what happened to his team in Friday’s game.

The Lady Dutch had just lost to Shenendehowa, 15-11, in the Class A Section II semifinals at the University at Albany and Chatnik could not put his finger on what went wrong and wondered what could have been.

"They played well," Chatnik said of Shen. "It was just they got on a roll and we couldn’t stop them."

The loss was even more shocking as the second-seeded Dutch had gotten off to a great start against the third-seeded Plainswomen.

Guilderland jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game and a blowout looked to be on the horizon.

But Shen chipped away at the Guilderland lead in the first half — trailing 6-4 at halftime — before eventually taking the lead with 13:56 left in the game on a goal by Claire O’Brien.. O’Brien’s goal was assisted by Tara Akstull.

The Shen run came because the Dutch couldn’t get the ball back after the Plainswomen kept scoring.

"On the draws, they did a good job," Chatnik said. "They got the draws and the ground balls. They controlled the ball for a lot of the game."

Outside of the first seven minutes of the game, the Lady Dutch never seemed to have possession of the ball though they were able to chip into the lead late in the second half.

Dutch senior Kayla Best tried to keep the game close with three goals in the second half. Her final goal made the score 11-10 with 8:19 left.

But Shen scored four times to pull away with the win.

"I just wanted to keep the intensity up," Best said of her second-half play. "We needed someone to start off the comeback."

Best finished the game with five goals. The first started off the early scoring stretch for the Lady Dutch as she scored unassisted with 22:14 to go in the opening half.

Molly Daley made the score 2-0 just 30 seconds later, getting an assist from Kaitlyn Vennard.

Val Felman scored with 21:07 left in the first half with an assist from Abbey Fashouer.

Fashouer then added back-to-back goals. The first was assisted by Amanda Best and the second was on a free position from the eight-meter mark after a Shenendehowa foul and the Dutch led 5-0.

Jacky Papa got the Plainswomen on the scoreboard with 12:40 left in the first half.

Akstull then added a goal to cut the lead to three, 5-2, with 5:55 to go until the intermission.

O’Brien scored her first goal of the game on a free position with 4:23 left in the opening stanza to cut the lead to two.

Then Vennard scored for the Lady Dutch with 3:57 left to build the lead back to three goals.

But Akstull fired a low shot with 11.8 seconds until halftime to give the Plainswomen some momentum.

Best scored the first goal of the second half for the Lady Dutch. Best fired a shot after spinning around a Shen defender.

Scoreless drought

The goal gave the Dutch a 7-4 lead but they would then go on a long scoreless drought and watched Shen come back.

Akstull scored with 20:27 left to get the ball rolling.

Olivia Jarem scored 20 seconds later to cut the lead to one, 7-6. Jarem was assisted by Sarah Novick.

Shen tied the game with 14:53 left in the second half. Jarem scored on a free position.

O’Brien gave Shen the lead less than a minute later and they wouldn’t relinquish it.

Shen scored two more goals to make the score 10-7 before Best scored three of the next four goals to make it a one-goal game with 8:19 left.

Shen scored again on a free position with 7:25 on the clock, which was countered by Guilderland’s Daley with 6:17 left. Daley was assisted by Jen Mihok.

But Shen pulled away with three goals in the final 4:20 of the contest.

Guilderland goalie Jen Kaye finished the game with 12 saves, including some in the second half that kept the game close.

Shen goalies Kim Elsworth and Amanda Distel combined for five saves.

"We didn’t execute," Chatnik said after the game. "We didn’t do what we are capable of."

The Dutch had a couple of substitutes for the game because a few of the girls missed the game to prepare for the junior prom Friday night. But Chatnik said that wasn’t a difference.

"Not at all," Chatnik said when asked if the few subs affected the team. "The people that we needed to win were here."

Moving on

Chatnik felt bad for his seniors who have been a big part of the Guilderland program for a number of years. Many of the seniors have been on the varsity team since they were freshmen and sophomores.

"The seniors did a nice job," Chatnik said. "They will be missed. It was a good year except for tonight. But you have those days. We started off real well. I thought we had a great chance to put them away."

Best will be attending the University at Albany next year and will play lacrosse there. All of the seniors will be playing lacrosse at the next level next year.

Daley will be going to the University of Vermont; Vennard will be going to Quinnipiac University in Connecticut; Feldman will be going to Endicott College in Massachusetts; Mihok will be going to the University of Buffalo; Laura Driessen will be going to Holy Cross College in Massachusetts; and Sam Ruppenthal will be going to the State University of New York College at Oneonta in the fall.

"They will have good college careers," Chatnik said. "They will do a good job and have a lot of success."

Chatnik gets joy out of sending his players to college careers but found that hard to compensate for the disappointment he felt on Friday.

"We expected to be in the finals," he said. "We went into a little tailspin. Shen beat us; they played a nice team game."

Voorheeville baseball

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — It was the shortest hit of the day, but it was a big one for the Voorheesville baseball team.

Nick Duncan’s infield hit, between third base and the pitcher’s mound, produced the winning run and a Colonial Council title.

The hit brought home Pete Lindner, who had hit a booming triple in the previous at bat, for the game-winning run and the Birds’ second straight league championship.

"It was a goal," said Voorheesville Coach Hank Czerwinski. ‘To have an 0-3 start and we come back to win the Colonial Council is quite thrilling. The Colonial Council is very tough. There are a lot of good teams. When the sectional seedings come out, the league will probably have six to eight teams in the sectionals."

The Section II Class B pairings were released Wednesday, so Czerwinski was not sure where his team was going to be but figured on a home game on Thursday.

"We’ll probably be a six or seven seed even though we won the Colonial Council," he said. "But we have seven losses overall."

The low seeding can’t dampen recognition for the effort the Blackbirds put together to win the league. It came down to the final innings.

Cohoes freshman pitcher Josh Temple had been pitching a good game, giving up three hits in his first four innings. He gave up two in the fifth but got out of the inning when Voorheesville stranded runners on first and second.

Cohoes also took a 3-0 lead in the top half of the frame on three hits and a throwing error by pitcher Jake Norris.

Norris had pitched brilliantly and had not given up a hit until Mike Welcome led off the inning with a double. Joe Bourgois then bunted the ball and Norris fielded and rushed his throw to first base and Welcome was able to advance to third.

Nate Rushford also bunted and Norris threw the ball to second to try to force the runner out but the throw was wide and Welcome scored to make it 1-0.

After Eric Cotch grounded out to Norris, Joe Cioffi hit a single that drove in Bourgois and Rushford to give the Tigers a three-run lead.

Andy Catellier replaced Norris and got the Blackbirds out of the inning with a strikeout and a groundout to first base after a single by Noah Poissant put runners on first and second.

Birds break through

The Blackbirds finally broke through for some runs in the bottom half of the sixth.

Lindner led off with a single but the next batter, Nick Duncan, flew out to centerfield. Steve Cardinal walked to put runners on first and second but R.J. Curreri hit a ground ball to the third baseman who tagged out Lindner as he tried to advance.

But Justin Arico came up big for the Birds with a double to centerfield that allowed Cardinal and Curreri to score.

Chris Massaroni followed with a single to drive in Arico and tie the game. After Nick Blow was hit by a pitch, Jay Conde grounded out to end the inning, but the Birds had come back and taken the momentum.

Catellier shut down the Tigers in the top half of the seventh despite giving up a lead-off single. He struck out two batters in the inning and got the other to pop out to Duncan at first base.

"Catellier came in and was big," Czerwinski said. "He finished the last three innings. He had been our DH [designated hitter] after he sprained his knee. But it’s been three weeks."

Catellier didn’t help himself in the bottom half of the inning as he grounded out, but Lindner followed with his triple and the little hit by Duncan, maybe the biggest kid on the field, gave the Birds the win and the league title.

Sure hitters

"Arico came through for us again," Czerwinski said. "He’s done that for three games in a row. I have confidence with my hitters — one through nine. Some teams, they are good through four or five then the other hitters are weaker. But not this team."

The Birds hit the ball well in the first five innings but they hit the ball right at a fielder.

"We were hitting the ball," Czerwinski said. "They had a freshman pitcher and he did an awesome job. In sectionals, we’ll face better pitching. We’ll have to hit the ball better period."

Czerwinski said that Norris did well but had just one bad inning.

"I wanted to give a senior a chance to pitch on campus," the coach said. "This is only our second game on campus. I had confidence in him; it was our field that hurt us.

"They did a smart thing by bunting," Czerwinski added. "They are a good team. They beat us before. Their record doesn’t show how good a team they are."

The Blackbirds have been playing their home games at the Swift Road Town Park in New Scotland for the past three seasons while a new field was being built at the school.

The Birds now will head into the sectionals with some momentum. They have won six of their last seven games — which they needed to do to win the league — and finished the regular season with a 15-7 overall record and a 12-6 mark in the Colonial Council.

"We’ll see what happens," Czerwinski said. "We got the cake and the rest is frosting. The Class B’s are stacked."

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