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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 12, 2007

Tough pitcher clips Blackbirds

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville baseball team has gotten off to a good start this season, despite a small setback on Tuesday.

The Blackbirds won their first two Colonial Council games before losing to Mechanicville, 3-1, on Tuesday. The Birds also tied Schuylerville in a non-league game.

Voorheesville ran into Mechanicville’s top pitcher, Matt Grayson, in Tuesday’s contest. Grayson, a left-hander, struck out 14 Blackbird hitters in the contest.

The Blackbirds got a good performance from their pitcher, R.J. Curreri.

"R.J. went the full game and he pitched well," said Voorheesville Coach Hank Czerwinski. "He held them to three runs and two for most of the game. You give up just three runs, you should win the game. It was a good effort by R.J."

The Blackbirds only managed two hits in the game against a pitcher Czerwinski called "one of the better in the league this year." It was Mechanicville’s first game of the year.

Voorheesville is 2-1 in the league after beating Watervliet, 11-3, on April 4, and Cohoes, 12-4, on Monday.

That bats were alive for the Blackbirds in Monday’s game. They hit the ball well and got the timely hits that led to the 12 runs.

Junior Jason Conde was the star against Watervliet. He hit two three-run home runs and had seven runs batted in.

"It’s been different people," Czerwinski said. "Stephen Cardinal is hitting the ball well. Now that I’ve seen us play a few games, I might mix things up a little bit, get a batting order together where we can be successful."

Curreri, Conde, and Joe Berschwinger combined to pitch well against Schuylerville in the opening game of the season. The game ended in a 2-2 tie and was called because of darkness.

Curreri got the win against Watervliet, with Berschwinger pitching the final frame. Conde pitched and got the win against Cohoes on Monday. Jake Vandervoort also threw some in the game.

Full slate

This upcoming week will be a test for the Blackbirds. They have a full slate of games squeezed into the week.

The Birds host Ravena on Monday and Albany Academy on Wednesday. They have a make-up game with Schalmont on Thursday and play at Cobleskill on Friday.

"We’ll have to see how the pitching holds up," Czerwinski said. "We have Curreri, Conde, Berschwinger, and Vandervort. We want to get something out of Berschwinger and Vandervort that will make us tough in the league.

"After Grayson, Mechanicville doesn’t have much pitching," Czerwinski added. "A lot of the teams in the league have a number-one pitcher, but, after that, they’re not sure. With us, we have Curreri and Conde. If we can get good stuff from the other guys, we could be able to set the tone in the league."

But as Czerwinski pointed out, the season is still fresh and there are a lot of games to be played.

"It’s still early," he said on Tuesday. "We have to sit now for six days. Then we have to go back out there and be ready to play ball and get our games in."

Czerwinski is happy with the way his team has started this season.

"I’m very pleased with the start," he said. "We just need to keep hitting. Our pitching will be there. We just can’t let games slip by."

Dutchmen put the squeeze on Ballston Spa

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — How do you warm up your fans on a cold blustery day" You win a game in your final at-bat.

The Guilderland baseball team fought through temperatures in the low 40s and against a pesky Ballston Spa team to win its Suburban Council opener.

But the game wasn’t decided until Nick Polsinelli’s suicide squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh inning allowed Joe Lima to score from third base to give the Dutchmen an 8-7 victory.

"Nick can handle the bat," said Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley after the game. "I have a lot of faith in him. When he is between the lines, he is a battler. He was a good man for the job. He was the right man in the right spot."

Guilderland trailed, 7-6, going into the bottom half of the seventh inning.

Pat Gareau, who was pinch hitting for Greg Barcomb, led off the frame with a walk. A bunt single by Lima put runners on first and second with no outs.

Ballston Spa changed pitchers and went with ace Zak Hartman, who will pitch at Siena College next spring. After striking out Jimmy Sabbag, Hartman got wild and threw a pitch off the plate that got by catcher Kyle Baldani and allowed the runners to advance a base.

Nick Ranalli then walked to load the bases, and Hartman’s wildness continued as another pitch got away from the catcher and went to the backstop. Gareau scored to tie the game and the other runners advanced a base.

An intentional walk to Mike Goldstein loaded the bases again, which brought up Polsinelli and led to his heroics.

Polsinelli, who fouled off a bunt attempt in the at-bat, laid down a perfect bunt in front of the plate with Lima barreling down the third-base line. Ballston Spa didn’t even attempt a play at the plate as Lima slid in safely.

"They battled," LaValley said. "They didn’t throw their number-one [pitcher] at us."

One bad inning

Guilderland fell behind because of one bad inning. The Dutchmen gave up five runs in the fourth inning to fall behind, 7-6.

The Scotties got four hits in the inning off Polsinelli, who started the game. But an error by third baseman Jake Colavito on a throw to first kept the inning alive.

Colavito cleanly fielded the grounder and had a runner on third caught between the base and home plate. But Colavito threw to first; the throw was wide and one run was scored.

Baldani’s three-run home run over the left field fence, later in the inning, gave Ballston Spa the lead, 7-6.

"If we make a play then, we probably get out of there," LaValley said. "It extended the inning a little bit."

"Leclair pitched great"

Ballston Spa scored two runs in the top of the first inning to take the early lead. Baldani and Josh Flynt scored in the frame — Baldani on a throwing error by Goldstein and Flynt on a sacrifice fly.

Guilderland answered with one run in the bottom of the first inning. Goldstein led off the inning with a walk and later scored on a single by Colavito.

The Dutchmen added five runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 6-2 lead.

Lima led off the frame with a double and scored on a RBI single by Sabbag.

Nick Ranalli reached first base on a fielder’s choice that forced out Sabbag. Goldstein singled and both runners advanced on a throwing error by Baldani.

Polsinelli struck out for the second out of the inning, but Henderson walked to load the bases. Colavito cleared the bases with a double against the centerfield fence.

After Ballston Spa’s five-run inning, the Dutch shut out the Scotties for the next three innings, led mostly by the pitching of Kyle Leclair.

The lefty kept the Scotties off balance and gave up just one hit. He did walk four hitters, but also had a pair of strikeouts.

"Klye Leclair pitched great," LaValley said. "He gets the win."

It was the second varsity win for the junior, who got a win over LaSalle as a late-season call-up last spring.

Polsinelli pitched four innings and did a good job despite the cold weather.

"He had a tough day," LaValley said. "But he gave it everything he’s got. I can’t complain. We’ll get a lot of innings out of him. He’s got the stuff to get it done."

Polsinelli got the win in the Dutch’s first game of the season, a 13-4 win over Troy last week.

Sabbag and Ranalli had triples for the Dutch and Ranalli finished the contest with four RBIs. Henderson and Colavito had doubles for the Dutch.

The Dutch had almost a week between games because of postponements and the rust showed a little on Monday.

"It was six days," LaValley said. "It’s hard to get in a roll. It’s like starting all over again. We just want to get into a groove. But it was exciting, wasn’t it""

LaValley hopes that his team has an easier time in the upcoming games. The Dutch played Mohonasen on Wednesday. Guilderland then plays Colonie today [Thursday] at home and then hosts Christian Brothers Academy on Saturday.

Despite win, Dutchmen looking for missing ingredient

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland boys’ lacrosse team had just won its third straight game on Wednesday, but there was no joy on the faces of the players or coaches.

Even though the Dutchmen beat rival Shenendehowa, 11-4, there were two main reasons why no one was happy.

One was that Shen’s team was severely undermanned and the other was that Guilderland did not play well for four quarters.

"It’s been the same story all year," said Guilderland Coach Sean McConahgy. "This wasn’t a typically Shenendehowa team. They didn’t even have half of their guys. But we decided to keep them in it for awhile."

Shen was missing a group of players who were suspended. The Plainsmen only had 13 players at the game — 10 are on the field at a time.

Unfocused play

Even so, the Dutchmen only led 5-1 at halftime, and Shen cut the lead to two goals, 5-3, early in the third quarter.

The Dutch answered with two goals of their own later in the quarter. Matt Stillman tallied with 2:23 left in the frame. He got a pass from Aaron Cahill in front of the goal and got the shot by Shen goalie Robert Wardwell, an eighth-grader.

Greg Murphy scored an unassisted goal with 27 seconds to go in the quarter to make the score 7-3.

The Dutch opened the door for Shen to come back.

A slashing penalty on Stillman with 10 seconds to go in the stanza gave Shen an extra-man opportunity that the Plainsmen took into the final period. An illegal stick penalty on Stillman added another three minutes to his time in the penalty box. The Dutch also had to play two men down. Thirty seconds into the period, the Dutch were three men down as Scott Raffensperger picked up a slashing penalty.

The Dutchmen successfully killed off the penalties without giving up too many shots.

Guilderland scored with 8:08 left in the quarter on a goal by Cahill. He was assisted by Stillman, who found Cahill wide open on the crease.

Uriah Myrie scored with 7:09 left in the game on an extra-man advantage. Myrie was assisted by Rory Nunamacher.

Stillman scored again for Guilderland. He was assisted by Quinn Connell, after the ball bounced off Connell’s stick and went right to Stillman in front of the goal.

Shen scored with 3:41 left in the frame, but Guilderland got a final goal from Myrie with one second left. Guilderland went on a fast break and Myrie got the ball from Nunamacher in front of the goal and finished the play just before the final horn sounded.

Travis Moore opened the scoring in the game for the Dutchmen. He scored with 7:36 left on an assist from Brian Linehan.

Cahill scored with 2:42 to go in the frame with an assist from Connell. Murphy tallied with 1:37 to go off a feed from Jordan Dubose.

Dubose, with an assist from Myrie, and Stillman, with an assist from Connell, scored for the Dutch in the second quarter.

Anthony Zappone scored the three first-half goals for Shenendehowa.

Nick Koss made four saves in net for the Dutchmen. Wardwell made 18 saves for the Plainsmen.

Guilderland also won the face-off battle, 12-6.

Bowling for camaraderie

"We possessed the ball," McConaghy said, pointing out a positive aspect of the game. "But we made their goalie look like an All-American. We got shots, we just have to finish them."

What McConaghy is looking for from his team is consistency. He wants his players to play as hard as they can for the entire 48 minutes of game time.

"I’ve tried everything," McConaghy said. "Tomorrow [Thursday] we’re going bowling. We need to come together. We have nine guys playing and we can’t have one screwing it up for everyone else.

"We react to what other people do," he added. "Then we feel a sense of urgency"We play down to the level of the other team."

But the most positive accomplishment for McConaghy and his team is they won three games in a row. The Dutchmen beat Rome Free Academy last Thursday, 15-4, and Suburban Council rival Colonie, 11-6, on Monday.

"After starting 0-2, we’re now 3-2," McConaghy said. "That’s a positive. We’ll see what happens on Friday. That’ll be a test. Saratoga is a good team. They have good athletes; it should be a fun game."

After Friday’s game at Saratoga, the Dutch return home to play Ballston Spa on Tuesday and Shaker next Thursday.

By then, McConaghy hopes that his players have found the one thing that his team seems to be missing.

"Desire, we don’t have it yet," the coach said. "Some of the guys do. The sophomores stepped up. The juniors need to and the seniors need to."

Lady Dutch suffer first loss, bounce back for league win

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team suffered its first loss of the season last week but bounced back in impressive fashion.

The Lady Dutch lost to Lakeland of Section I last Thursday, but came back to beat Suburban Council foe Averill Park on Monday.

Guilderland beat the Warriors, 17-8, on Monday to improve its record to 4-1.

The Lady Dutch got three goals from senior Nikki Branchini in the contest. Abbey Fashouer scored four goals for the Dutch. Bridget Daley, Courtney Davis, Danielle Tetreault, and Jen Madsen added two goals for Guilderland. Chelsey Newman and Amanda Best each had a tally for the Lady Dutch,

Jen Kaye made two saves in goal for Guilderland.

Lost to Lakeland

Last Thursday, the Lady Dutch faced Lakeland, which was ranked fourth in the state, and lost, 11-6.

Best led the scoring for the Lady Dutch with one goal and one assist. Newman, Davis, Fashouer, Branchini, and Tetreault each had a goal.

Kaye made 13 saves for Guilderland.

"We never got going," said Guilderland Coach Gary Chatnik. "There were plenty of opportunities, but not much execution. Lakeland is good, but we played very poorly. Jen Kaye had an excellent game, but, collectively, we were not on as a group.

"Our team is young," Chatnik added, "and tonight we played young. We will bounce back. This is why we play these tough non-league games. It will make us better. Next week, we have three tough league games [including the Averill Park contest], so hopefully, this will teach us what we need to do."

Shining over Shaker

Last Tuesday, the Lady Dutch beat Shaker, 15-8, in a Suburban Council game.

Branchini led the Guilderland scoring with five goals. Madsen added two goals and two assists. Davis, Fashouer, and Newman each added two goals. Best chipped in with a goal and an assist and Kristen Cagino had a goal.

Daley and Tetreault each had an assist.

Kaye made six saves in goal and Amanda Santandrea stopped three shots in her first varsity game.

"I thought we played well," Chatnik said. "Our offense really clicked through the game. At one point, we had a 13-2 lead because we moved the ball well. Shaker is one of the premier teams in the league as well as the state. We jumped out quickly and put them on the defensive. We have good results when many people score and tonight the results showed that.

"Nikki, who plays half of the game at defense, found herself in the middle of the offense, scoring five goals," Chatnik added. "All of our offense players figured in the scoring and, when that happens, we usually find ourselves on the positive end. Our defense also played well early on, getting the ball to the offense. It was another top performance by Julie Malkowski, Lynn Tran, Lauren Cagino, Amy Branchini, Laura Decker, Corinne Chatnik, and Molly Barker. Jen Kaye set the tone and Amanda Santandrea played excellent."

The Lady Dutch, who ended the week ranked eighth in the state, played at Saratoga on Wednesday. They host Shenendehowa on Friday and Colonie on Tuesday. Next Thursday, they travel to face rival Bethlehem.

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