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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 31, 2007

Heavy hitters: Dutch baseball on way to sectional final

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! The constant sound of a metal bat meeting a baseball resounded at Guilderland High School on Saturday.

It continued at Joseph Bruno Stadium in Troy on Wednesday night.

It’s a sound the Guilderland baseball team hopes to repeat at "The Joe" on Friday.

The Dutchmen pounded out 16 hits to beat Bethlehem, 14-4, in a Class AA Section II quarterfinal on Saturday at Guilderland High School and advanced to the semifinal that was held on Wednesday. The Dutchmen smacked 11 hits in that contest and took advantage of three Niskayuna errors to win, 7-3.

The sectional title game will be held on Friday at the home of the Minor League Baseball Tri-City Valley Cats.

The Dutchmen will face Troy High School.

"We did what we can do and what we do best," said Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley.

It will be the first trip to the semifinals for LaValley as head coach of the Dutchmen.

It wasn’t just the bats on Saturday that led the Dutch to the next round. It was also the left arm of relief pitcher Greg Barcomb.

Barcomb pitched four scoreless innings of relief for Nick Polsinelli, giving up just one hit — a double in the fourth inning.

Barcomb came up big again against Niskayuna on Wednesday. He came in with two outs and the bases loaded to relieve starter C.J. Sohl.

Barcomb struck out the first batter he faced to end the Niskayuna threat in the sixth inning and struck two more batters out in the seventh to get the save.

"Greg Barcomb did what he does best," LaValley said. "Nick’s elbow has been bothering him. We’ll see what happens. It just shows that we have more than one guy. We can get it done with the guys that we have here."

Polsinelli hit a two-run home run in Wednesday’s game to help give the Dutch a 5-0 lead though five innings.

Niskayuna answered with three runs in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to two.

Guilderland padded its lead with two more runs, including a solo home run by Ben Henderson.

Close start

Saturday’s game was tightly contested in the first three innings and Guilderland didn’t pull away until late.

Guilderland led, 2-0, at the end of the first inning and 6-3 at the end of the second stanza. Bethlehem cut the lead to two, 6-4, in the third inning but the Eagles would not score again.

Seniors Mike Goldstein and Polsinelli crossed the plate in the first inning for the Dutchmen. Senior Ben Henderson had an RBI single that scored Goldstein, and Jake Colavito’s sacrifice fly drove in Polsinelli.

Bethlehem scored three runs in the top half of the second inning. Matt Nash, Kirk Shimkin and Derek Wolf scored in the frame for the Eagles. Nick Narducci had the big hit with a two-run double.

Guilderland regained the lead in the bottom half of the frame, as Joe Lima led off with a double. He scored easily on an RBI double by Jimmy Sabbag.

Nick Ranalli grounded out but moved the runner to third base. Sabbag scored easily from third on Polsinelli’s single.

Henderson was hit by a pitch and Colavito walked to load the bases. Andrew Simpson then followed with a single that drove in Polsinelli and Henderson.

Kevin Dumich scored a run in the third inning for Bethlehem but that was all the Eagles would get in the game.

"Pretty good all around"

Guilderland put the game away with two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth, and four in the sixth.

Colavito and Chris Murray, who was pinch running for Steve Anderson, scored in the fourth frame.

Goldstein scored in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Henderson.

In the sixth inning, Anderson, Lima, Sabbag, and Goldstein all touched home. Sabbag had a triple that brought home Anderson and Lima.

Ranalli tripled to drive in Sabbag, Goldstein singled in Ranalli, and Colavito doubled to drive in Goldstein.

"We played pretty good all-around," LaValley said.

Barcomb struck out one batter in his relief stint but got help provided by his defensive players, getting easy outs in the four-shutout innings.

Polsinelli is credited with the win because the Dutchmen led when he was the pitcher of record.

But it was Barcomb who gave the team a huge lift.

"I can’t say enough about him," LaValley said. "He’s a diamond in the rough. We always have one and he is it this year. He’s worked hard and he deserves all the accolades he’s getting. He’s gotten it done."

"We’re going to the Joe"

Then it was onto the semifinals and another game against a Suburban Council rival. Guilderland beat the Silver Warriors, 2-0, in the last game of the regular season.

"Nick pitched awesome," LaValley said of Polsinelli’s two-hit shutout. "We played a good game against a quality team and a quality program. We have to be prepared to play. We have to keep our focus."

The Dutchmen were favored to win the league title and to be in the running for the sectional title. Their main goal is to win the crown.

"We’re going to The Joe," LaValley said. "That is part of the path that we put together before the season. This is a step in the right direction"

"We’re still hungry."

Ugly game, beautiful result for Dutch laxmen

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It sure wasn’t pretty, but the end result fit nicely for the Guilderland boys’ lacrosse team.

The Dutchmen, who were sloppy on the offensive end, held off a pesky Columbia team and advanced to the Class A Section II title game with a 6-4 win.

"We really didn’t want it to be that close," said Guilderland senior Co-Captain Scott Raffensperger. "We wanted to send a message that we were the better team."

The Dutch beat the Blue Devils by one goal, 7-6, when they played in the regular season this spring.

But right now, their goal is to survive and advance, and the Dutch were happy they did that.

"A win is a win," Raffensperger said. "We are now looking at Friday."

Friday is the Class A championship game, which will be played, as was Tuesday’s game, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Face-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. For the third straight year, the Dutchmen will be on the field in the title game against Niskayuna, which beat Shenendehowa, 12-6, on Tuesday night.

"I’m rooting for Niskayuna," Raffensperger said after his game ended and before the second semifinal started. "I’m good friends with the kids on their team. But I also want to beat them. It would make the sectional run complete if we beat them in the final."

The Dutchmen will have to play a lot better than they did on Tuesday if they want to beat Niskayuna, which has won the last two sectional title games against the Dutchmen.

Guilderland will especially have to play better on offense.

"Upset and frustrated"

"I was nervous the whole game," Guilderland Coach Sean McConaghy said. "But I was also upset and frustrated. It’s hard to score goals when you can’t pass the ball from the wing to the X [behind the goal]. I also didn’t have a good feeling watching us go on seven man-ups and go 0-7."

Guilderland actually scored two extra-man tallies in the contest, but missed on numerous chances.

The Dutchmen led 1-0 at the end of the first quarter and 3-1 at halftime, as their defense was stellar, anchored by the goaltending of junior Nick Koss.

Another junior, Aaron Cahill, scored the first goal of the contest just a minute-and-a-half into the game. Classmate Quinn Connell got the assist on the tally for the Dutch.

The Dutch had numerous opportunities to add to the lead but either turned the ball over against the Columbia zone defense or just missed shots.

Rory Nunamacher, a sophomore, made the score 2-0 in favor of the Dutch.

He scored on an extra-man opportunity less than a minute into the 12-minute second quarter.

Senior Uriah Myrie assisted on the goal.

Raffensperger, a defenseman, tallied the third goal of the game for the Dutch. He got a pass back from Myrie on a fast break and bounced a shot past the Columbia goalie, Dan Smith.

"Our team is good in transition," Raffensperger said. "We try to push the ball hard. That’s the way I love to play and that’s one of the reasons why [the University at] Albany recruited me. That’s the way they play and it’s fun lacrosse."

Columbia finally scored with 5:40 left in the first half. Ron Law scored an unassisted goal to get the Blue Devils on the scoreboard.

Guilderland pulled out to a 5-1 lead in the third quarter.

Matt Stillman scored on a quick stick shot after catching a pass by Connell with a defender draped all over him. Myrie scored on an extra-man opportunity with an assist from Cahill.

Guilderland went into a scoring drought and Columbia got a goal with 3:20 remaining in the quarter to pull within three, 5-2.

Corey Heck got the tally for the Blue Devils.

In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils put a big scare into the Dutch with two goals to close the gap to one.

Jesse Pavlick scored with an assist from Tim Daigle with 6:26 left in the final frame. Daigle made it 5-4 with 5:29 left, with the assist going to Pavlick.

The score remained that way as both teams couldn’t connect on shots and both team’s goalies were outstanding in goal.

But with the Blue Devils pressing to get the ball back in the final minute, Nunamacher scored with 35 seconds to go. Conway got the assist on the tally that sealed the win for the Dutch.

Koss made 12 saves in goal for the Dutch, including some big ones down the stretch. Smith made 13 stops for the Blue Devils.

Guilderland scooped up 40 ground balls to Columbia’s 24 and the Dutch out-shot the Blue Devils, 24-18.

The Dutchmen also won the face-off battle, 9-5, mostly behind the work of senior Jordan Dubose.

"Koss is the boss"

But McConaghy thought his team didn’t play at its best.

"We weren’t prepared to play," the coach said. "We weren’t prepared to work or ride or move our feet to catch or throw.

"It’s not going to be there all the time," McConaghy added. "Stillman missed one-on-ones with the goalie three times. That’s something that doesn’t happen. It can’t be anything other than an off day on offense. Their zone was good but it’s not anything we haven’t seen. I’m sure Nisky was watching that."

"I talked to Koss and I told him, ‘You are a sick goalie, but you got to do this for me,’" Raffensperger said. "He stuck it out and made some incredible saves. He made the difference. Koss is the boss."

"The defense is bringing it every game," McConaghy said. "It’s always defense, defense, defense."

McConaghy also mentioned one defender who played a good game.

"Kyle Klapp doesn’t get a lot of mention," the coach said. "But he was on number 21 [Jake Hutchins] and he shut him down. He’s a kid I was hoping to step up. It was like a Senior Day for him."

Tuesday’s win follows up a 17-9 quarterfinal win on Friday for the Dutchmen. Stillman scored seven goals to spark the offense that broke open a close game at the end of the third quarter.

Myrie scored four goals, including two in a three-goal stretch at the end of the third quarter.

Though McConaghy was upset with the way his team played, he knows that all the teams in the area are tough.

"That’s the way the whole Suburban Council is," the coach said. "People have beaten other people all year. You have to bring it the whole day or you’re looking to get upset."

Dutch host sectionals: Rhodes-Devey tears up home track

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland boys’ track-and-field team had an impressive performance in last Thursday’s Class A sectional meet.

Though coach Pete Wachtel was a little disappointed in his team’s score, he was pleased with the way individuals performed.

"We did all right," Wachtel said. "I wanted to place a little higher than we did, but we did exactly what we wanted to do. We had guys in certain events that did well."

The Dutchmen scored 60 points to finish in fourth place behind Shenendehowa’s 133 points. Niskayuna was second and Colonie was third.

"I would have liked to finish higher," Wachtel reiterated. "Such is life."

The Dutchmen had a lot of good performances to be happy about.

Brian Rhodes-Devey was the brightest star last Thursday. The University of Texas bound runner ran a state-leading time of 1:51.68, easily winning the 800-meter race. It was the third best time in Section II history behind John Maloy of Shaker’s 1:51.51 and John Moore of Fonda’s 1:51:59. Both those marks were set last year.

Rhodes-Devey also won the 1,600 in a time of 4:19.38. In both races, Rhodes-Devey let a Shenendehowa runner — Zach Predmore in the 1,600 and Zac Suriano in the 800 — set the early pace before passing him in the final lap to take the lead and win the race.

In the past two weeks, Rhodes-Devey has posted the second-fastest mile time (4:09.92) and the second-fastest 3,200 (9:06.22) in Section II history.

"The 1:51, that was pretty cool," Wachtel said. "He’s right where he needs to be. We’re excited about state qualifiers coming up."

State qualifier

Rhodes-Devey and about 10 or 11 Guilderland athletes will be running at the state qualifier meet in Johnstown on Thursday and Friday, Wachtel said.

Rhodes-Devey will be running the 800-meter race on Thursday.

Distance runner Roland Graves, who finished third in the 1,600 with a time of 4:21.64, will also compete.

Mark Domaracki finished second in the 100-meter dash behind John Reilly of Niskayuna last Thursday. He ran 11.28 in the event.

Domaracki followed up that run with a second-place finish in the 400. His time in that race was 50.14. He will run the 400 on Thursday at the state qualifier.

"It’s a tough race but he has a shot of making it to states," Wachtel said of Domaracki who made the state meet last year. "There is good competition and he’ll either make states or he’ll be home. In Section II, there are a lot of good runners who don’t make it to states."

Also competing in the state qualifier will be high jumper Mike Edmonds and triple jumpers Jarrell Gatterson and Drew Smith.

Smith finished second in the event with a state-meet-qualifying leap of 44 feet, seven inches. Gatterson finished fourth in the event.

"He’s number-two in Guilderland history," Wachtel said of Smith. "He is heading in the right direction."

Smith surpassed the required 44 feet, 6 inches needed to reach the state meet. He just needs to finish in the top two at the qualifier to go to the state meet.

Senior Jared Moriarty and Kevin Sheehan will be running as will a couple of relay teams.

The success the Dutchmen have had this season is partly due to the hard work the athletes have done this season but Wachtel was also quick to give credit to his assistant coaches.

"I’m pleased with the kids," Wachtel said. "They performed well. We had two jumpers finish second and fourth in the triple jump. And that is a credit to our coaches. You have to look at the guys in the background, Jason Usher and Dave Kosier; they do a really nice job."

The state qualifier meet will be at Knox Field in Johnstown and will start each day at 3 p.m. The large-school and small-school state teams will be determined.

One bad inning clips Blackbirds’ wings

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — It all came down to one inning. That is all it took to end the season for the Voorheesville softball team on Friday. One inning in the Class B Section II quarterfinals.

The Blackbirds, who were seeded ninth, matched the number-one seed, Chatham, for six of the seven innings played at the South Colonie Athletic Facility.

The fifth inning, especially the bottom half, will be one that won’t be remembered fondly in Voorheesville, as Chatham scored four runs in the frame to win 4-0.

"It was a tough inning," said Voorheesville Coach Matt Fiato. "We misplayed a couple of balls. We make those nine out of 10 times. We make those in our sleep."

Chatham and Voorheesville waged a scoreless war for the first four-and-a-half innings of the contest. In the bottom of the fifth, the Panthers were looking to scrap together any kind of rally they could.

"Both teams were looking to generate one run," Fiato said after Friday’s game. "They got three on one play. And then we had a play at the plate that was close. Offensively, we did not have it today. Give their pitcher credit."

"They made the plays"

The Blackbirds managed just four hits in the contest. Brittany Creed, Jillian Blair, Brittney Vogel, and Kelsey DeZalia each had a single against Chatham pitcher Brianna Diskin.

Diskin was also backed up by a solid defense.

"They made the plays today," Fiato said. "They did what they had to do today."

All Chatham had to do was get one run across the plate. And they tried desperately to do it in the fifth inning.

After a lead-off walk, Diskin bunted a ball that appeared to roll foul, but the umpire ruled that the ball was touched by Blair, the Voorheesville catcher, and Diskin was safe at first.

With runners on first and second base, Blackbird pitcher, Sarah Lafave, struck out the next batter. Then the next batter, the speedy Rachel Joseph, dropped down a bunt and beat out a throw to first base to load the bases.

Jen Minahan, the next batter, hit a ground ball that got through two players for an error and Meg Bartholomew scored from third base to give Chatham the lead.

Samantha Teator then smacked a triple to left field that cleared the bases and added three runs to the Chatham lead.

Voorheesville could not put together a comeback in its final two at bats; Chatham advanced in the tournament and Voorheesville was eliminated.

"It certainly was a bad time for the bats to go away," Fiato said. "We were hitting over .300 as a team. This is the first time that I can remember that we had so few hits. We only had three I think today and we had six hits on Wednesday. The bats left us."

Beating Hudson

Voorheesville won their first round playoff game last Wednesday, 4-1, over Hudson.

"We played well," Fiato said of that contest. "Our bats were asleep and also we sneaked in some runs. But we left a lot on base."

The Blackbirds left 10 runners on base in the contest.

DeZalia had a single, triple, and scored a run for Voorheesville. Alissa Hatch had two singles and also scored a run.

LaFave pitched all seven innings and had 11 strikeouts in the contest.

The win over Hudson set up a game with the top-seeded Chatham squad.

"We were okay with playing the one seed," Fiato said. "We knew that we could beat them. We were confident that we could move on. I don’t think we played that bad. They just made a couple of more plays that we didn’t."

"A very good season"

Voorheesville finished with a 9-7 record in the Colonial Council and 12-10 overall during the regular season.

"It was a very good season," Fiato said. "We had six seniors that really thought that, when sectionals started, we could make a nice run at the Class B title. I thought we had everything we needed."

Jenna Massaroni, Blair, Rebekah Coons, Jackie Moreau, Brittany Holcomb, and LaFave all are seniors. Massaroni is a fifth-year member of the varsity and Blair was on the varsity squad for four years. LaFave was the starting pitcher for the past two and was a back-up her sophomore year.

"This is a great group of girls," Fiato said. "They respect each other and the younger girls looked up to the seniors. We will have to rebuild around the six seniors."

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