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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 22, 2008

Fight night fun: Win, lose, or draw

By Tim Matteson

ALBANY — “Mi-key, Mi-key!”

Those chants echoed throughout the Washington Avenue Armory as Guilderland’s Mike Faragon entered the ring on Friday night.

The “Baby-faced Beast” strode to the ring as the crowd stood on its feet for the hometown boy who was taking on Khadaphi Proctor in a light welterweight match. The match was one of seven bouts presented by Sweeney’s Boxing of Delmar that took place at the Armory featuring local fighters.

Faragon was joined on the bill by Chris Horn, a Berne native, and Feura Bush resident Liz Mooney, who holds the Women’s New York State Welterweight title belt.

 Faragon won his match by unanimous decision. The judges scored the fight, 39-37, 40-36, and 39-37.

Mooney and Mariam Brachache fought to a draw in their match. The scores were 77-76 in favor of Brachache, 78-74 in favor of Mooney, and 76-76.

Horn lost his cruiserweight fight by unanimous decision.

“The place was rocking, wasn’t it?” asked Andy Faragon, Mike’s father and trainer.

“They were behind me,” Faragon said of the crowd. “I heard them the whole time. At the beginning of every round, they helped me go out there and fight.”

On his way back to the dressing room, Faragon was mobbed by former Guilderland High School classmates and friends. Faragon, who graduated in 2005, was led to the ring by friend and fellow ’05 alum Matt LaValley. LaValley is the son of Guilderland High School baseball coach Doug LaValley, who was at the fight as a guest of Faragon.

“He and Matt graduated together,” Doug LaValley said. “He is a friend of the family and of course we would come and support him.”

Sitting next to Doug LaValley was John Roth, who gave Faragon space to use as a training site.

“Fantastic” crowd

The stands and seats surrounding the ring were filled for the first few fights.

Albany area boxing fans came out in droves, including, as Mooney put it, “All eight of us,” from Feura Bush.

“It is fantastic,” Mooney said of the crowd. “I really don’t hear the people until after the fight. I don’t hear them during the fight. I’m just focused on the fight.”

Delmar’s Zach Smith won his debut fight to open the night and the Saratoga Sledge Hammer Gary “The Whip” Wilcox pummeled John “Rain Man” winning by a technical knockout when the referee stopped the fight in the fifth round.

The fans cheered loudly for both local fighters.

Sitting in the front row was Guilderland resident Wendy Feldman who came to the fight with a friend. She is a huge boxing fan and recalled watching the Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard fight in 1976. She also boxes as a hobby.

As she watched Faragon fight, Feldman was shocked by how young the “Baby-faced Beast” looked but later became impressed by his punches.

Feldman was also eager to see Mooney fight.

“Building a fighter”

Faragon was in charge of the match in the first three rounds, which more than likely led to his winning on the judges’ scorecards. Proctor put up a strong effort in the fourth and final round, but it was not enough as Faragon came away with the decision.

“He calmed down a little bit,” Andy Faragon said. “He fought a strong kid. Against anyone else, Mikey probably knocks him out. We’re not fighting cupcakes. We are not building a record. We are building a fighter. He’ll tell you this, we have a lot of work to do.”

“I can always do better,” Mike Faragon said. “I have to keep getting better. He hurt me a couple of times. I hurt him and I capitalized on it. I got him with more punches.”

All Biz vs. Punchenella

“All Biz,” Liz Mooney’s fight, was close as she and “Punchenella” Brackache exchanged punches throughout. It was a fight worthy of the number-two (Brackache) and number-three (Mooney) fighters in the welterweight class.

“It was a warranted decision,” Mooney said of the draw. “I didn’t do enough out there. She has an awkward style. She is talented. In time, I’ll probably get another shot.”

Like the other fighters, Mooney was pleased with the crowd at the Armory, and to be able to get in the ring and fight in front of them.

“I’m coming away proud,” Mooney said. “Win, lose, or draw, that is the challenge I set for myself. I’m proud of myself, and I’m proud of my opponent. I’m proud of anybody that steps in the ring.”

And the people of the Capital Region are proud to be represented by these fighters.

Dutchmen’s loss on diamond a wake-up call?

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland baseball team might have reached rock bottom.

It doesn’t get much worse than the 16-4 loss the Dutchmen suffered to Columbia on Tuesday afternoon. At least Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley hopes it doesn’t.

“This is the worse loss I’ve had here,” LaValley said after the game. “If we learn something from it and it gets us to where we want to go, I’ll accept it. If we don’t learn from it, than it serves no purpose.”

The Dutchmen were outclassed in all facets of the game on Tuesday. The pitchers could not throw strikes and, when they finally did, the defense made errors. The Dutch swung the bats well, but did not get any breaks.

“You can chalk it up to not having a good day,” LaValley said. “These things happen. It starts with pitching. You can’t walk four guys in two innings and put us on our heels off the rip. We were not helping ourselves.”

A rout

Starter Jason Westervelt struggled with his control in the first two innings and gave up two runs in the first frame and one in the second.

The Dutch had a chance to tie the game in the first inning and had runners on second and third with two outs. Steve Anderson came to the plate and hit a screeching liner that found the glove of Columbia third baseman Tyler Rose.

The Dutch got only three hits in the first five innings and, in the meantime, the Blue Devils swung away and turned the game into a rout.

The Dutch’s Kyle LeClair took the mound to begin the third inning and shut out Columbia in that frame but wasn’t as fortunate after that.

LeClair gave up two runs in the fourth inning and his defense failed him in the fifth inning.

The Blue Devils scored seven runs in the top half of the fifth, swinging the bats and taking advantage of two errors that extended the inning.

Matt Montross’s three-run home run over the left-centerfield fence with two outs was the big blow in the inning.

After that inning, both teams used their bench players. Still Columbia scored four runs in the sixth inning to hold a 16-0 lead.

Guilderland scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and one in the seventh.

Jason Sherwood led off the sixth inning and Josh Lochner earned his way on base with a walk as did Pat Quinn to load the bases.

Chris Murray singled to drive in Sherwood and later in the inning Ivan Plata singled to drive in Lochner. Matt Roth reached first base on a fielder’s choice that allowed Quinn to score.

Lochner scored in the seventh inning. He reached first base on a fielder’s choice and later scored on Murray’s RBI single.

“We have to come together”

“I look at it as we have to find a way to get it done,” LaValley said of the loss. “It’s up to the seniors to get everyone motivated. I’m not sure there are some that want it as much as some other guys.

“We have to figure it out,” he added. “That comes with leadership. They have to find ways to get guys motivated. They have to be willing to give 100 percent effort no matter what the score.”

The loss is the third in five games for the Dutchmen. They lost to Ballston Spa on May 9 and Shenendehowa, 6-2, last Wednesday. The Dutchmen did beat Burnt Hills on May 12 and Queensbury, 8-2, on Saturday.

The Dutchmen close out the regular season at Bethlehem on Thursday and at Amsterdam on Saturday. Guilderland will then wait to see where it will be seeded for the Section II Class AA playoffs on next week.

The Dutch came into Tuesday’s game with a chance to earn a top three seed for the playoffs, but the loss changes things.

“It was a big game,” LaValley said. “I don’t know where we are heading now. We didn’t help ourselves. Maybe we’ll be on the road now; I don’t know. We would have been number three with a win with a shot at being second. But that went by.”

LaValley hopes that Tuesday’s loss is a wake-up call for his team.

“We haven’t put together a complete game all year,” the coach said. “They have to put together a game soon or they’ll have to put one together in the summer. We only have a couple of games left.

“We have the talent to do it,” LaValley added. “We have to come together. It has to be about us.”

Dutchmen take shots at beating rival

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Dutchmen just can’t figure out the Silver Warriors.

The Guilderland boys’ lacrosse team put up a strong effort but fell short against their arch rival, Niskayuna, 6-3, on Tuesday night in Guilderland.

“Their guys made good plays,” Guilderland Coach Sean McConaghy said after the game. “What are you supposed to do? Our kids did what we wanted them to do.”

Niskayuna blew open a one-goal game with three unanswered goals late in the third quarter.

Guilderland’s Quinn Connell made the score, 3-2, after he intercepted a pass in the Dutch’s offensive end and went to the goal and fired a shot into the net. Connell’s short-handed goal — the Dutchmen were killing off a penalty — came with 9:04 left in the third quarter.

But Zach Frohne scored an unassisted goal for Niskayuna with 4:56 left in the stanza to make the score 4-2.

Steve D’Amario scored on a pretty move to the goal to make the score 5-2 with 1:50 left in the frame.

Mark Panneton closed out the scoring run with a goal a minute later. Panneton scored on a quick shot after getting a perfect pass from Seth Berggren. The goal came with 50 seconds left in the quarter.

The third stanza ended with Niskayuna holding a 6-2 lead.

“Their guys made good lacrosse plays,” McConaghy said. “What can you do? It’s not anything we did.”

Aaron Cahill scored the final goal of the game with 10:32 left in the contest. Paul Jones assisted on the tally passing the ball to Cahill, who fired a hard high shot into the goal.

The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie, but Guilderland had plenty of opportunities. The Dutch dominated the time of possession and fired shot after shot at the Niskayuna goal but could not get the ball to hit the back of the net.

“We had the ball the whole quarter,” McConaghy said. “We just couldn’t get anything on the cage. But I would rather miss the cage than hit the goalie in the chest or the head. We did what we wanted to do. We just didn’t put the ball away. We got shots in this game. We probably had 10 more than last time.”

The Dutchmen lost to the Silver Warriors in April in a sloppy game. The Dutch threw the ball around in that contest and it resulted in a 5-4 loss.

“It’s tough”

On Tuesday, Franze and D’Amario, who will play at the University of Massachusetts next year, scored goals in the second quarter to give Niskayuna a 2-0, halftime lead.

Travis Moore got the Dutchmen on the scoreboard just under two minutes into the second half.

Moore got a pass from Cahill and fired a shot into the upper corner of the goal. The tally made it a one-goal game with 10:25 left in the third frame.

Niskayuna’s Dan McKinney answered with a blast from the outside. The goal, which was assisted by Will McPartlon, gave the Silver Warriors a 4-2 lead with 9:14 left in the third quarter.

Connell then scored to pull the Dutchmen within one, but Niskayuna went on its run to take its big lead.

Guilderland held the advantage in shots taken in the contest, 33-28.

Nick Koss made 12 saves for Guilderland and James Manchester made 11 for Niskayuna.

“It’s tough, their offense is legit,” McConaghy said of Niskayuna. “They are going to put the ball in the net or at least get quality shots.”

On to sectionals

Tuesday’s game was played in front of a large crowd on Guilderland’s football field. The game was televised and is was also Senior Night.

“Beforehand, I told the guys it’s just another game of lacrosse,” McConaghy said. “It’s good for the kids. It gives them some publicity.”

Guilderland seniors Andrew Barr, Cahill, Connell, Jon Fogel, Koss, Brian Linehan, and Paul Malamood were honored before the game.

The Dutchmen wrap up the regular season on Thursday with a game against Canton High School in Plattsburgh. Then it is onto the sectionals for the Dutchmen.

Guilderland has an overall record of 15-2 and finishes with an 11-2 mark in the Suburban Council.

“We’re looking towards sectionals,” McConaghy said. “The Suburban Council season is over. You can’t complain with being 11-2. Not with facing Shen and Saratoga and the other teams we see every day.”

Rain briefly washes away Bulldogs’ disappointment

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The rains on Friday afternoon briefly washed away this seasons troubles the Berne-Knox-Westerlo baseball team.

The Bulldogs beat Mayfield, 8-4, in a six-inning game that was played in — sometimes heavy — rains on Friday.

It was the seventh win of the season for BKW in a disappointing season for Coach Jeff Teats.

“It’s been a frustrating season with many different scenarios,” Teats said. “I thought that we’d be as successful as our seniors would allow us to be.”

Critical inning

On Friday, the Bulldogs scored seven runs in the third inning to take the lead in the contest.

BKW took advantage of four Mayfield errors in the frame.

Brandon Galgay led off the inning with a walk and then stole second base. After one out, Jeremy Springer reached first base on an error by the Mayfield shortstop that advanced Galgay to third. Springer then stole second base when the throw from the Mayfield catcher sailed into centerfield. The bad throw allowed Galgay to score and tie the game, 1-1.

Greg Mulson came up next and doubled to left field to let Springer score. Brett Flansburg followed with a double down the right-field foul line. The hit drove in Mulson.

Michael Galgay hit a bloop single to left field, and a throwing error by the shortstop allowed Flansburg to score after he advanced to third on the hit.

Korey Mann followed with a triple that drove in Galgay and gave BKW a 5-0 lead.

Mann scored on a wild pitch later in the inning and Andrew Liddane rounded out the scoring in the frame after reaching first base on an error.

BKW scored another run in the fifth inning.

Liddane scored after he was hit by a pitch, moved to a second on a throwing error by the catcher and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored on sacrifice fly by Brandon Galgay.

“Number-one pitcher”

Josh Skinner took the mound for the Bulldogs and gave up just one run until the sixth inning. Skinner gave up hits but struck out nine batters en route to earning the win.

“Josh is obviously our number-one pitcher,” Teats said. “The thing with him is, whether he is having a good or a bad outing, he is always throwing strikes. The pitching staff has been good, but it is the lack of defense that has hurt us.

“Countless times, we’ve had two outs and we could not get that third out and we give up two or three runs. We’d have an error, a walk, and then they would get a key hit. It’s been that way all year long. It’s never changed.”

Looking to the future

The team finished the season with just four seniors — Skinner, Mulson, Springer, and Lance Durham. The rest of the players on the team will be returning.

“They all have had good games and bad games,” Teats said of his players. “Young kids are going to make mistakes with the glove or bat. They’ve seen what it takes to be successful at this level.”

Teats said that he sees good things from the young players as they continue to grow and mature as baseball players.

“That bodes well for the future,” the coach said. “We have a lot of young kids — three freshmen, a sophomore, and juniors. And with the success that the JV had, the kids coming up will be pretty good. The ones remaining in the program are playing in the summer. They invest in the game, and they have for a few years, that will reflect to the success they can have.”

Teats has been surprised with the success that the junior varsity team has had this season.

“They have exceeded expectations,” he said. “We came into the season with the idea that we wouldn’t have a JV team this year. We ended up with 11 kids.”

BKW has a 7-11 record in the Western Athletic Conference and a 7-15 mark overall. The Bulldogs played Duanesburg on Monday to wrap up the league schedule. BKW’s last game will be in Cooperstown against St. Johnsville on Wednesday.

Teats came into the season with high expectations and is disappointed with how the season unfolded and with the fact that the Bulldogs did not qualify for the sectional playoffs.

“I challenged the seniors,” Teats said. “The seniors didn’t step up. They didn’t realize or understand what they needed to do to be successful. They didn’t put it on their shoulders. I don’t know if they understood what I meant by that.”

Teats also realizes that it might just be a bad year and things are looking better in the future.

“It’s just one of those years,” Teats said. “Whether we were ahead or behind or playing well and not playing well, nothing good seems to happen for us, whether it was luck, a call, or a bounce; we struggled this year.

“The kids continued to come back,” Teats said. “Every day they continued to work. We still had some success and that is a tribute to the kids. They put things behind them.”

Lady Bulldogs are getting ready to bark loud

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — Berne-Knox-Westerlo softball coach Mike Reynolds likes what he has seen from his team this season.

Even though the Lady Bulldogs have just five wins this season and won’t make the sectional playoffs, Reynolds likes how his young players have gotten better during the season.

“We’re getting small victories,” Reynolds said. “We are a young team. We have five seniors. Last year, we had five seniors. We’re taking the opportunity to develop the players. We’ve had a couple of games we could have won.”

On Thursday, BKW trailed Schoharie, 10-0, before the Lady Bulldogs even got a hit.

The Indians’ Adrianna Diamond pitched four no-hit innings, but that did not deter the Bulldogs spirit.

BKW scored one run in the fifth inning and three in the sixth before giving up another run in the seventh inning in a 11-4 loss to Schoharie.

“They had a substantial lead,” Reynolds said. “The most important thing for us is we just have to learn to keep our heads in the game. There’s been a couple of times we lost control, but today we exhibited more discipline and then we started hitting.”

“Spirit and heart”

Senior captain Katrina Yakel scored the first run for BKW.

Tomi-Lee Springer led off the inning with a double for BKW’s first hit of the contest. She advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Yakel walked to put runners on first and third base.

Yakel stole second base and advanced to third on a ground ball hit by Bridgit Hurst that was fielded by Schoharie shortstop Kaitlyn Dano. Dano threw the ball home to get Springer out as she tried to score.

During the next at bat, Hurst took off to steal second base and, when the throw went to second base, Yakel took off for home and scored easily.

BKW scored three runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning.

Senior Aurora Becker led off the inning with a walk. With one out, Kristen Depeaux walked to put runners on first and second. Each advanced a base on a wild pitch.

After another out, Springer hit a ball hard to centerfield that resulted in a two-run single, scoring Becker and Depeaux.

Springer moved to second base on a wild pitch and then later to third on another wild pitch when Viky Gerard struck out but was able to run to first base after the ball got by the Schoharie catcher. The catcher’s throw went wide of first base and Springer was able to score from third.

Several key players kept the Lady Bulldogs in the game by demonstrating leadership, Reynolds said.

“The Yakel sisters and Tommie-Lee Springer are the spirit and heart of our team,” Reynolds said. “I can’t keep complimenting them enough. They are positive role models. Every single one of the girls is positive, but those three are the heart and soul of this team.”

Young team

Katrina Yakel will be heading to Siena College in the fall. She ran cross-country and played basketball for BKW.

Becker and Vicky Lounsbury are the only other seniors on the team.

Hurst and Kieva Reynolds split the pitching duties. Reynolds, the coach’s daughter, held Schoharie to just two runs and struck out five batters in the final three innings. 

Hurst, who is gaining experience in the circle, struggled with her control but battled through it and finished with three strikeouts in four innings.

With such a young team, Reynolds has been happy to see continued progress.

“We get better every game,” he said. “They lack experience. Now they know what they are doing. We should be able to carry that over to next season, which will be good.”

Reynolds has put a lot into the program. This year, he has an assistant coach, Caitlin O’Connell.

Home-run derby

Reynolds has set up a fund-raiser that will also help the softball program at BKW.

“We’ll have a fund-raiser event on June 6,” Reynolds said. “We’ll hold a home-run derby for faculty and students from three to six. We’ll be selling tickets next week.”

With the season over — the Bulldogs played Mayfield on Friday and Duanesburg on Monday — Reynolds is looking back as this spring as a learning session.

“With the expectations I have,” Reynolds said, “we are doing well. The girls need more playing time. The goal has been to give them opportunities. The girls are positive. They support one another.

“This is such a mental game as much as a physical game,” Reynolds added, “and the girls learned the importance of keeping their heads in the game. What we accomplished this year, I feel is a victory. Half of the team, it’s their first year playing varsity softball. I’m very proud of them.”

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