After making it to ENY final, Guilderland All Stars held scoreless
COLONIE –– The fifth and sixth innings ended abruptly for the Guilderland Babe Ruth All Stars on Monday. The team had runners on base each time, and each inning was terminated with a double play by the South Colonie defense.
Cameron Long smoked a line drive in the fifth inning, but South Colonie’s first baseman, Brian Kristel, was right there, making the catch, and doubling up the Guilderland runner at first base.
Then, in the sixth, with Brandon Das on first base for Guilderland with one out, Brandon Peda grounded into a double play.
The Guilderland Babe Ruth All Stars –– made up of players age 15 and under –– hung their heads a little after the second consecutive inning-ending double play. The team had scored 10 and 13 runs in games to win its District tournament and advance to the Eastern New York tournament, but Guilderland was held scoreless on Monday. South Colonie won the ENY title, 4 to 0.
Guilderland lost some steam after the sixth inning, and South Colonie capitalized with two runs in the seventh. Kristel, a strong kid, had gotten South Colonie on the scoreboard very early with a home run to left field in the first inning.
Monday’s ENY tournament final was an uphill battle for Guilderland, a team that wasn’t used to losing.
“We didn’t get too frustrated,” Guilderland Head Coach Brian Grabek said of the loss. “We handled ourselves well, with class.”
South Colonie scored its second run in the third inning after an error by Long at shortstop. Before the run, Kris Scarano was able to advance from first base to third because Guilderland’s catcher, Ryan Curry, couldn’t find the baseball even though coaches, teammates, and fans were yelling and pointing to where it was.
“You have to tip your hat to Colonie,” Grabek said. “We had only four hits.”
C.J. Lesinfelder, South Colonie’s left-handed pitcher, was very good, changing speeds throughout the game. During his at bat in the sixth inning, Das ducked out of the way on an incoming curveball, but the pitch was called a strike.
Guilderland finished the summer season with a 20-3 record. Grabek has been coaching the core group of players since they were 8 years old. Guilderland won a Babe Ruth World Series title in 2011.
“Seven of these kids live within one mile of each other,’ said Grabek. “They’re all fundamentally sound, and, honestly, could coach themselves. They all know their roles, and they’re all best friends. They have a lot of fun.”
Grabek said that it’s always a struggle to pick a Most Valuable Player for the team.
“It doesn’t really matter what order they bat,” he said. “They always play the right way. They’re smart kids.”
The fan contingent at Monday’s game at Cook Park was strong for both Guilderland and South Colonie. A Colonie fan was overheard saying that Guilderland supporters were “great people.”
“We have a fantastic following,” Grabek said. “It’s phenomenal.”
Most of the crowd was made up of friends and family of the players and coaches, but some people were there just to take in a competitive baseball game on a nice summer evening. Guilderland’s varsity baseball head coach, Doug LaValley, was in attendance, and Grabek said he’s been to many games this season.
“Doug is a big supporter, and I take as much advice from him as I can,” said Grabek. Matt Pierce pitched for Guilderland’s varsity team last spring, and the rest of Grabek’s roster played on the junior-varsity team.
“Guilderland keeps things pretty close,” Grabek said. “It’s very consistent.”