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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, April 15, 2010
Florida trip pays off for Bulldogs
By Jordan J. Michael
BERNE The Berne-Knox-Westerlo baseball team spent the better part of spring break in Florida and it seems to be paying immediate dividends.
The Bulldogs arrived home on Saturday after leaving for Florida on April 4. The team had its first game at home on Tuesday against Sharon Springs and blew the visitors out, 22 to 3. BKW combined for 19 total hits.
Head Coach Jeff Teats said on Wednesday that Sharon Springs hasn’t had a quality team “in a while,” but scoring 22 runs in any circumstance is definitely a confidence booster.
“Everyone got a chance to swing the bat,” Teats said. “The players on our side seemed to be enjoying themselves.”
Teats told The Enterprise that he wasn’t very happy with the first four innings, but BKW went on to score five runs in the fifth and nine runs in the sixth. “I think we were a little too excited at first, but we eventually settled down,” he said.
Junior Brett Flansburg started on the mound for the Bulldogs and had six strikeouts over four innings. Junior Alon Willing came in to pitch some relief and gave up only one hit while striking out four.
“Flansburg should work on his command because he walked four batters,” said Teats. “Those walks led to their three runs.”
Senior Josh Rebeor led off the game with a single and proceeded to steal second and third base. Ben Geist went 4-4, Ethan Sharp had three singles and two runs batted in, and Mike Galgay had two singles, a double, and three runs batted in.
“We ran wild on the bases,” Teats said. “This is a pretty good start.”
The Bulldogs made a similar trip to Florida three years ago and Teats decided to do another again this season to get the team “over the hump.” BKW finished 2009 with a 9-10 record and hasn’t won a sectional game since 2004.
“We know exactly what we need to work on after such an extensive trip,” said Rebeor at practice on Monday. The players woke up at 7 a.m. every day. “We need to stay focused and communicate.”
BKW spent a year and a half fund-raising for the trip by hosting dinners, donations, and raffles. The last bit of money was raised with a raffle during the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) hockey tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany.
A trip to Florida may seem like a time for fun, but the Bulldogs had very little down time throughout the week. The team played a game every day and had maybe one or two hours to relax.
“I worked them pretty hard and I probably had more fun than they did,” said Teats at Monday’s practice. “They were taking naps whenever possible.”
BKW was one of 60 teams from around the country participating in the week’s events, and Teats said that it was by far the smallest school. “My guys feel like they can play with anyone now,” he said. “Their dynamics are way better.”
“We stuck with every team we played,” said senior Paolo Audino.
“We managed to get leads in all our games,” added senior Mike Galgay.
The BKW players had little to no practice time outside before they left for the trip, so Florida was the real start to their season.
“Everyone worked real hard and put in all the effort,” Teats said. “They have a chance to be successful, but they have to execute. They lost focus a couple of times, but I think they discovered a lot about themselves.”
Brandon Galgay, Willing, Mike Galgay, Flansburg, Rebeor, Korey Mann, Steve Yakel, and Audino are all back from last year’s line-up. Geist is batting in the clean-up spot, and Sharp and George Moller will share time at the ninth spot. Audino is recovering from a wrist injury, but should be back within a week.
“The work ethic is better than recent years,” said Teats. “Everyone is capable. The results will come from their own personal confidence.”
Teats isn’t much for history, but BKW hasn’t won a sectional semifinal since he started coaching in 1989.
“Most of the kids are driven and I think that will carry over,” Teats said. “One pitch at a time.”