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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 10, 2007

Birds picking up steam down the stretch

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — Voorheesville softball coach Matt Fiato didn’t want to call Tuesday’s win over Holy Names an upset, but it was definitely the biggest win of the year for the Blackbirds this season.

The 7-2 win over the 9-3 Holy Names squad improved Voorheesville’s record to .500 — 6-6 in the Colonial Council, 7-7 overall — and will bode well for the team’s confidence in the final stretch of the season.

"We are .500 right now," Fiato said. "We want to get into the sectionals. Obviously, our goal is to be better than .500. But we want to get in and win a game or two in the Class B tournament and go from there."

Impressive hitting

It was an impressive hitting performance for the Lady Blackbirds as they banged out eight hits and put runners on in almost every inning of the contest.

After a scoreless first inning, Holy Names scored in the top half of the second inning and held a 1-0 lead.

Voorheesville answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Jenna Massaroni led off the inning and ripped a triple down the left field line. She scored on a single by Jillian Blair to even the score.

Rebekah Coons singled and Blair beat a throw to third base. Coons advanced to second on the throw.

Kelsey DeZalia walked to load the bases and the next Voorheesville hitter, Brittany Holcomb, hit a ball to the second baseman who tagged out DeZalia, but Blair scored to give the Blackbirds a 2-1 lead.

Jackie Moreau singled to drive in Coons for the third run of the inning.

Voorheesville added a run in the third inning as Massaroni scored after leading off the inning with a single. Massaroni scored on an RBI double by DeZalia.

The Blackbirds scored three times in the fourth frame to take a 7-1 lead.

Moreau led off the inning with a walk and scored on a fielder’s choice. Alissa Hatch hit a two-out single later in the stanza and Massaroni drew a walk to load the bases. Blair kept the bases loaded with a fielder’s choice that forced out Brittany Creed at the plate.

Coons drove in Hatch and DeZalia with a single to round out the scoring.

Holy Names scored a run in the seventh but couldn’t get anything else as the Blackbirds played solid defense behind pitcher Sarah LaFave.

LaFave had a strong game, giving up just the two runs and giving up four hits. She struck out 10 hitters and had just five walks.

"Team win"

"They are a very good team in our league," Fiato said of Holy Names. "They are second, but this might drop them to third. We hit some tough balls at them in the field. We were swinging the bats well today. We adjusted to their starting pitcher and got comfortable at the plate."

The Blackbirds played a solid all-around game.

"It definitely is a team win," Fiato said. "I try to get everybody in. We have girls that can play two or three positions. We like to juggle the line-up and get everyone a chance to play."

The Voorheesville players have been swinging the bats well in the past couple of weeks, Fiato said. The Blackbirds struggled at the plate earlier in the season.

"We have raised the team average about 80 points in the last week," Fiato said. "We have had 15 or 16 hits since we played Schalmont [last Tuesday]. We were hitting .280 after yesterday."

Voorheesville has won four of its last six games. The losses have come against Mechanicville, the top team in the Colonial Council, on Friday and Cohoes last Wednesday.

"Mechanicville was a tough loss," Fiato said. "We had a late rally going, but they’re a good team. Cohoes we lost to 5-2. It was a game we let slip away."

Voorheesville will have four more league games this season. It also has three non-league games scheduled after next Tuesday.

Due to cancellations from earlier in the season, the Blackbirds played Holy Names again on Wednesday. After that game, the Birds play at Watervliet Thursday, at Cobleskill on Friday, and close out the league season at Lansingburgh on Monday.

Though the Blackbirds just have to win two of those games to qualify for sectionals, Fiato wants his team to strive for more than that.

"We want to win outright," the coach said. "We want to be hot going into sectionals. We got some non-league games against Class AA schools, Guilderland, Bethlehem, and Albany. We want to be playing our best at the right time of the season."

Bulldogs nip Eagles, sniffing for playoff spot

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — With the season winding down, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo baseball team picked a good time to play one of its best games of the season.

Led by a strong pitching performance from Josh Skinner and some timely hits, the Bulldogs beat Galway, 7-3, in a smoothly played, fast-paced game at BKW on Monday.

"If this was not the best game of the year, then it is one of the top two we’ve played this year," said BKW Coach Jeff Teats. "The way they [Galway] played, they put pressure on us. They made us make plays. And we made them."

The win bumped the Bulldogs record to 5-7 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs need to get their record to .500 if they want to make the sectional playoffs.

"They are all big," Teats said of the late-season games. "With the place we put ourselves in, we needed to go 5-2 to even our record. Now we have to go 4-2. We now have to play consistent baseball. We have been beating ourselves."

"Working hard"

Galway jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning. But BKW responded with two runs in the bottom half of the frame.

Skinner led off the inning with a single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Skinner moved to third on a groundout by Rich Geist. Bobby Patrick singled to drive in Skinner and even up the game.

Patrick stole second base, and scored on Len Coons’s RBI double to right field. Coons moved to third base on a wild pitch. He then tried to score on Jayson Villeneuve’s groundout but was tagged out at the plate.

Skinner and the BKW defense proceeded to shut out the Eagles for the next three innings and tacked on two runs.

The Bulldogs got a run in the second inning when Matt Lounsbury led off the stanza with a double. Lounsbury advanced to third on a groundout by Greg Mulson.

Then, with Ben Burton up to bat, Teats called for a squeeze play but the pitch was wide of the strike zone and Burton reached out to put the bat on the ball but missed. However, Lounsbury, who broke towards home on the pitch, was safe at the plate with a stolen base.

The Bulldogs scored another run in the bottom of the fourth inning to increase their lead to 4-1.

Coons led off the inning with a walk and later scored when Mulson singled to center and the ball was misplayed by the center fielder. Coons rambled around the bases and scored from first.

Galway cut into the lead with runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but BKW answered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to seal the win.

Villeneuve singled with one out in the stanza. He stole second base and then scored on Lounsbury’s double. Lounsbury then stole third base and would score when a pick off attempt went wide of third base.

Mulson walked before the pick-off attempt and advanced to second on the pitcher’s error. Mulson moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored easily on a single by Steve Gerard, who was pinch hitting for Jeremy Springer.

"We’ve been getting a lot of loud outs," Teats said. "We’re not getting key hits and have not been getting two-out hits at all. The kids have stayed positive and are working hard. They want to be successful. This should be a good start."

Skinner pitched all seven innings and gave up just three hits. He struck out six batters and gave up four walks.

"Josh always throws the ball around the plate," Teats said. "He makes the other team get to him. He doesn’t hurt himself. The defense helped him a lot today. I can’t complain about what he did today. He attacked the zone better."

"We are getting better"

BKW lost to Duanesburg, 8-2, on Saturday. But the Bulldogs beat Northville on Friday, 26-3.

"It was like batting practice," Teats said. "We had five homeruns in the game."

Patrick, Geist, and Villeneuve each hit a home run. Skinner hit two, one being a grand slam.

Coons pitched five innings with 11 strikeouts and gave up five hits.

Last Wednesday, the Bulldogs dropped a 12-2 decision to Schoharie.

"It was awful," Teats said. "It was the worst game we played all year."

BKW played better in a 9-4 win over Saint Johnsville on May 1. Patrick led the Bulldogs with a superb performance on the mound. He struck out 17 Saints in the contest.

The Bulldogs played Duanesburg on Wednesday. BKW then travels to play Middleburgh on Friday, to Mayfield on Monday and to Schoharie on Friday.

The Bulldogs wrap up the Western Athletic Conference season next Thursday against Canajoharie.

The Bulldogs need to win four games to make the sectional playoffs. And if they play the way they did on Monday, the playoffs are a good possibility.

"We played a good game," Teats said. "It was a good seven innings of baseball on offense and defense. We are getting better and better."

Bulldogs making strides on the diamond

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — For the fourth time this year, members of the Berne-Knox-Westerlo softball team were able to run a victory lap around the base paths. If they had followed the practice last year, they would have done it only four times.

The Lady Bulldogs met last year’s victory total with a five-inning 17-0 win against Northville on Friday. It was the first time the Bulldogs had the mercy rule — 15-run lead or larger — work in their favor.

"These girls are very good players," said BKW Coach Mike Reynolds of his team. "Everybody is working very hard. They need this weekend off."

The win improved BKW’s record to 4-6. The Lady Bulldogs played Galway on Monday and at Duanesburg on Tuesday. BKW then hosted Duanesburg on Wednesday.

"We tied our wins record from last year," Reynolds said. "We are ahead of ourselves from last year in league play. Every single game they have performed better than the last. That is also a testament to the coaches and players that came before us."

Nuking Northville

In Friday’s game, the Lady Bulldogs scored in every inning that they played, while shutting out Northville.

Kieva Reynolds did the job for BKW in the pitcher’s circle. She gave up just two hits and walked one batter. She struck out 13 Eagles, including the first six batters she faced in the first two innings. She struck out the side in the fifth frame after giving up her second hit.

The Bulldogs also had an offensive explosion in the contest.

BKW scored two runs in the first inning, three in the second, five in the third, and seven in the fourth.

Keri Rossback led off the first inning with a walk for BKW. She stole second base and advanced to third on a single by Lacey Yakel. Rossback then scored on an RBI groundout by Reynolds.

Yakel advanced to third base on the groundout and then scored on a groundout by Amanda Tubbs.

In the second inning, with one out, Danielle Thielsen reached first base on an error. She then stole second base. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Rossback walked for the second time.

Yakel followed with a single to score Thielsen. Rossback and Yakel would later score on back-to-back wild pitches to make the score 5-0 after the second stanza.

Katrina Yakel, who was running for Megan Leonard scored, the first run of the inning. Katei Stanton, Tracy Williams, Thielsen, and Rossback scored in the third inning.

Thielsen had an RBI single and Vicky Gerard had an RBI groundout in the frame.

The Bulldogs scored seven runs in the fourth inning, their last at-bat of the contest.

BKW sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame and got a big bases-loaded triple by Reynolds that drove in three runs.

Katrina Yakel, Stanton, and Ashley Fisher scored the first three runs of the frame. Then Vicki Lounsbury, Rossback, and Lacey Yakel scored on Reynolds’s triple. Reynolds scored the seventh run of the inning to give the Bulldogs a 17-0 lead and put them in position to win by the mercy rule.

Reynolds struck out three of the four batters she faced in the top of the fifth and the game was over.

The Lady Bulldogs deserved the break that the shortened game allowed.

"We practice every single day that we aren’t playing," Mike Reynolds said. "We played five games this week and they keep coming back. Our catcher [Katrina Yakel] was injured earlier this week. But she has come to every game and she never asked to get in."

Small steps

The Bulldogs set a goal of improving in each game as the season went along. Reynolds thinks they have.

"We are taking the foundation that was laid before us and we are building on it," Reynolds said. "We are having some success and we are getting support of the school and families. BKW is on its way."

The crowd support the Bulldogs got on Friday was well received by the players who benefited from their hard work.

"Coach [Lori] Leonard and I have worked them very hard in the gym," Reynolds said. "We may have had four practices on the field. The girls are seeing that the hard work is starting to pay off.

"We want to continue to build on the success," Reynolds added. "The girls are very enthusiastic about softball. We want to be like the other sports in the school. We want to be successful in softball as well."

Besides Friday’s win, BKW holds two wins over Sharon Springs and a road win against Saint Johnsville. The Bulldogs lost a non-league game to Gilboa-Conesville and suffered Western Athletic Conference losses to Canajoharie, Saratoga Spa Catholic, Fonda-Fultonville, and Schoharie.

Even in a loss, the Schoharie game showed how much the Bulldogs have improved.

"Schoharie mercied us last year," Reynolds said. "We held them to three runs this year. I consider that a victory. Canajoharie was a competitive game and we had a competitive game with Fonda."

Reynolds said that his players have the right attitude toward making the changes the softball program needs to make to be tough in the WAC.

"It’s just a group of kids," the coach said. "We had some fans here and I would like to see more people come to the home games. The girls are working really hard. They have gotten so much better. People need to see it."

Dutchmen continue to roll in Suburban Council

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The fantastic season for the Guilderland baseball team continued this past week, as the Dutchmen bounced back from their only loss to win three games.

Guilderland lost to Shaker on April 28, but came back with wins over Ballston Spa on April 30, Burnt Hills on May 2, Shenendehowa last Friday, and Columbia on Monday.

But the wins haven’t come easily.

"We’re hanging in there," said Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley. "We are doing a good job. It’s good for us to be in tight games."

The Dutchmen beat Columbia, 8-7, on Monday and Burnt Hills, 6-5, last Wednesday. The Dutch did have breathing room in an 8-3 win over Shen last Friday.

"Those games get you ready for the post season," LaValley said. "It wouldn’t be good to be in the post season and not have played in a one-run game."

The Dutchmen have played in two in the past week and have had several one-run wins this season. The lone loss was also by one run.

The loss is not a surprise to LaValley. He knows his team is good, but he also knows how good the Suburban Council is.

"There is always someone out there looking to knock us off," the coach said. "You can absolutely learn more from a loss than a win. It’s been a long time since anyone went undefeated in the Suburban Council. It’s probably been over 20 years. We beat ourselves."

The Dutchmen have been swinging the bats well this season and have gotten good pitching from six different hurlers this season.

"We are swinging the bats okay," LaValley said. "We just have to tighten up the defense."

Team work

Offense carried the day last Wednesday as Jake Colavito’s home run in the fifth inning provided the winning run against Burnt Hills. Colavito also had six runs batted in and a grand slam in Monday’s win over Columbia.

Nick Polsinelli also hit a home run in the Columbia game and sophomore Steve Anderson has done well at the plate this year.

Polsinelli is 4-0 on the mound this season to lead the Dutchmen. He got the win on Monday, pitching a tough complete game against the Blue Devils in East Greenbush.

C.J. Sohl has been a more than solid number-two pitcher for the Dutchmen. He got the win on Friday against Shen.

Kyle LaValley started a game and got a win this season. Greg Barcomb has picked up a couple of wins on the mound, including last Wednesday against Burnt Hills. The Dutch have also gotten good innings out of Kyle Leclair — who has a couple of wins — and Jason Westervelt, who started against Burnt Hills.

"We got some non-leaguers coming up," LaValley said of out of league games. "We’ll give guys some more innings. We’ll be ready for the post-season. Jason started against Burnt Hills and did a good job. We just let him down on defense. Greg came in and was great in relief."

The Dutch played Bethlehem on Wednesday, and, after that game, they have just two league games left — Monday against Columbia, and Tuesday against Niskayuna. Guilderland will also play a non-league game today (Thursday) against Christian Brothers Academy, Saturday at Queensbury, and next Thursday against Bishop Maginn.

The Dutch are on the cusp of winning the Suburban Council, but want to finish strong in their last league games.

"We are pretty focused," LaValley said. "We have lofty goals. We know the destination and we are taking the right route"This team knows how to win. I still think we have our best baseball ahead of us."

Lady Dutch exorcise Blue Devils

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — After losing a couple of games this past week, the Guilderland softball team picked up a big win on Monday.

The Lady Dutch beat Columbia, 4-2, in East Greenbush on Monday.

Guilderland scored three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-0 lead and held on for the win. Marissa Valletta had a two-run double for the Lady Dutch in the contest.

Deb Schildt got the win in the pitcher’s circle for the Dutch.

The Dutch were blanked by Shenendehowa, 6-0, on Friday and Burnt Hills, 4-0, last Wednesday.

Against Burnt Hills, the Lady Dutch got a solid effort by Schildt but the Spartans scored four runs in the third inning to get the win.

Sara Heller went two for three at the plate for Guilderland.

Emily Ostrom had 11 strikeouts for Burnt Hills.

The Lady Dutch are 5-5 in the Suburban Council and 5-7 overall. The Dutch have to split their next four league games to qualify for sectional play. The Dutch played Bethlehem on Wednesday. Guilderland then has games scheduled at home against Columbia on Monday and Niskayuna on Tuesday. The Dutch also have to make up a scheduled game against Colonie to wrap up the regular season.

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