Dutchmen hold Warriors scoreless, win with just one run
The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael
Swinging at the first pitch that he saw (baseball is far left) to lead off the sixth inning for Guilderland is Zach Formica, who lined out to right field last Friday. The Dutch beat Averill Park, 1 to 0; Guilderland scored its run in the first inning off a throwing error to third base.
GUILDERLAND — Up with the one run it scored in the first inning, Guilderland and pitcher Chris Czekay found some trouble against Averill Park in the fifth last Friday. Tyler Childrose had hit a hot triple to deep center field and Ben Reinisch had made his way to second base after being clunked by a pitch in the back, and escaping a pickle while Childrose teased his intentions to break for home plate.
With one out and the stress increasing, Czekay struck out Jarid Lucier, and then struck out Chris Arnold with a nasty curveball that broke right over home plate.
As the Dutch fans cheered, Czekay pumped his fist before being circled by his teammates.
“I had to do my job; it’s to get guys out,” said Czekay, a senior, after the 1-to-0 victory over Averill Park. “Coach [Doug] LaValley tells us after every swing of the bat, every pitch, to take a breath, and reset yourself, so, after every pitch, I take a breath, and worry about the next one coming. It’s one pitch at a time.”
Going for a compete game in the seventh inning, Czekay got Childrose to ground out, but then hit Reinisch on the foot with a pitch. Next, Devin VanDervoort wrangled a hit over Jacob Sturn at shortstop.
Arnold sacrifice bunted the runners over a base, but Czekay was able to get John Finelli to pop out to Zach Formica in right field to secure the win for the Dutchmen.
Guilderland was able to survive because of its poise in tough situations. Maintaining a 1-to-0 lead for seven innings isn’t easy.
“You just have to stay calm and trust the defense behind you,” said Czekay. “They got to every ball, made plays — made double plays and caught line drives — so hats off to them. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”
Dutch Head Coach LaValley told The Enterprise that Czekay also pitched well during a non-league game against Massapequa, working four-and-two-thirds innings of no-hit, and no-walk baseball.
“He’s very good, he pitched his you-know-what off,” said LaValley of Czekay’s efforts against Averill Park. “He’s an off-speed guy, throws a lot of strikes, and hitters don’t usually like those types of pitchers.”
Guilderland (4-4, 6-6), which got another one-run win over Mohonasen (8-7) on Monday, is relying heavily on its deep pitching staff this season, LaValley said; the team isn’t scoring many runs.
“We have to try to manufacture runs every game,” said LaValley said. “One run is enough, I guess.”
Czekay said that the Dutch have 10 pitchers who can take the mound at any given time. LaValley said that five or six players — Czekay, Matt Pierce, Nick Bruno, Alex Varsanyi, and Zach Hutson — have started a game in 2014; some other teams have only a maximum of three starting pitchers.
“It always helps to have more pitchers; injuries happen,” said Czekay. “If someone is having an off day, there’s someone to pick them up. At the end of the day, our pitching is always good, and we always have enough.”
“We give these kids innings whenever we can,” LaValley added. “You can never have enough arms. Never.”
All that Guilderland and Coach LaValley want is eight Suburban Council wins, even if that means winning close, low-scoring games, so that the team can compete in sectionals. In recent years, the Dutchmen haven’t had a problem making the playoffs.
“We’re right in the mix; wherever we fall, we fall,” said LaValley. “These kids work hard and understand how to compete in these situations; we practice them.”