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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 30, 2006


Guilderland softball preview

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland softball coach, Jen Maxwell, is confident that her team will continue to make strides in its return trip to the top of Section II.

The Lady Dutch have taken small steps the past couple of years and a very big step could be taken this season.

"Our overall attitude is positive," Maxwell said. "A lot of the girls play all year round. They are dedicated to softball."

This year’s edition of the varsity Lady Dutch will be strong with their gloves. The bats might be stronger than what they have had in recent years.

"This is the best defensive team I’ve had yet," Maxwell said. "We have some strong hitters this year."

The Dutch will be led by five seniors.

Bridget Schultz will return to play in center field.

"Bridget made the all-star team last year," Maxwell said. "She is a good role model. She has an awesome work ethic and her mentality rubs off on the team."

Ashley Wyland will also be a very key player for the Lady Dutch. She will be in the pitching circle for the third straight year.

"We have Ashley back and that’s really good," Maxwell said. "She has been on the team for two years and she is looking good this year. She is going to Nichols College and will play softball, so she’s stepping up."

Nancy DeLeon will play in right field and has varsity experience. Katrina Ernest returns to play catcher.

The fifth senior is newcomer Julia Ostrowski.

Junior Amanda Neal returns to play in the infield. Classmate Tricia Loux will play at first base and Toni Gaspary will play in the outfield.

The team also has three sophomores.

Jen McCutcheon will be the back-up pitcher. Michelle Giwerc will play at third base and Sarah Heller will also see time in the infield.

"She is a die-hard softball player," Maxwell said. "She doesn’t talk much, but the other girls respect her because she is such a good player."

Marissa Valletta is the only ninth-grader on the team and will see time at second base this spring.

"Valletta really surprised me at tryouts," Maxwell said. "She did really well at the tryouts and earned a spot."

"Closer and closer"

The Guilderland players have set some goals for themselves this year.

"Our goal is to make the sectionals," Maxwell said. "Every year we get closer and closer. We are building from the bottom up. We got some consistency. We have the same coaches and it is finally coming through."

The softball program did have a couple of changes at the lower levels. Allison Dollar moves up from the ninth-grade team to coach the junior varsity and Danielle Gianetto takes over the ninth graders.

The Dutch program also has a new coach for the modified team, Maxwell said.

"It’s a nice change," Maxwell said. "To have your j.v. coach working at the school and we share the same philosophy. It’s working out pretty well."

The program looks to have some strong times ahead of it.

"The future looks good," Maxwell said. "We had over 50 kids try out for the modified team."

The teams will benefit from the decent spring weather they have had this pre-season.

"The first week of tryouts, we were inside two or three days," Maxwell said. "We get out as much as we can. If it’s not raining, it’s not freezing. The field is in good shape. Last year, we had to cancel one of our early scrimmages. This year, they should be able to go and that is really exciting."


Voorheesville softball previews

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville softball team will have some familiar faces in place this season.

All the infield positions will be filled with returning players with the only change being in the pitching circle.

But it is a big change.

Gone is Cyrilla Suker, who was a four-year starter and one of the top pitchers in Section II the past three years. Suker is currently a member of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell softball team.

The Lady Blackbirds do have a talented pitcher, Sarah LaFave, who saw some action on the varsity team last year as a sophomore.

"She will kind of be the catalyst for the team this year," said Voorheesville Coach Matt Fiato. "I think she’ll take some enjoyment and pride stepping into the starter’s role.

"She pitched some last year," Fiato added. "I’m looking for her to rise to the challenge. She had a good off-season and preseason. She added velocity to her fastball."

Also returning for the Blackbirds are four-year players Amanda DeZalia and Brittany Weineinger. DeZalia will play at third base and Weineingar will play in the outfield.

Claire Gravelin will play at first base and, with Weineingar and DeZalia, is one of the team’s three seniors.

Jenna Massaroni will be at second base. Massaroni, a junior, is entering her fourth year on the varsity.

Jillian Blair returns as catcher, a spot she has held for the last two seasons. Brittany Vogel rounds out the infield. She will move to shortstop after playing in the outfield last season.

"Team oriented"

"We have a decent team this year," Fiato said. "We’ve had a great preseason so far and the girls on the team are very motivated and team oriented. It’s great, they have good goals for this season."

New to the varsity team are a bunch of talented players up from the junior varsity.

Rebekkah Coons, Brittany Logan, Brittany Holcomb, and Jackie Moreau are the newcomers.

"They were all strong j.v. players," Fiato said.

Fiato is confident in his on field line-up.

"The infield is very solid," the coach said. "We only made one change from last year. Pitching and catching will be strong. The outfield will be solid as well. We’ll be a hard team to beat.

"And hitting," Fiato added. "This team, as a group, is one of the better hitting teams in the past few years. We also have speed and athleticism, especially on the bases. That will help score runs."

Fiato said the Colonial Council will be tough, as usual.

"Mechanicville won the state title in Class C and they moved up to the B’s," he said. "So they can get us in two spots. And Broadalbin-Perth moved into the Colonial and they went to the state semifinals in Class B last year. We battled them in sectional semis. Both of those teams return key starters.

"But we have a lot of key starters," Fiato added. "We’ll be okay if we come to play evryday. We are looking for the new players to step in right away and produce for us."

The Blackbirds have meshed together and look ready to be competitive for the season.
"The biggest thing this season," Fiato said, "is if this group plays and acts like a team. They enjoy being out here together."


B-K-W baseball preview

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo baseball team is looking to compete for a division title this spring.

BKW Coach Jeff Teats and his Bulldogs want to be competitive in the Southern Division of the Western Athletic Conference.

"We expect to compete for the division title," the coach said. "We have lots of good players."

The Bulldogs have three seniors on the 12-player roster.

Jeremy Mann is in his third year on the varsity team and will continue to be a key player. He was a first-team Western Athletic Conference Southern Division all-star as an outfielder last year. He also pitches for the Bulldogs.

"He batted .411 and won two games last year," Teats said. "He’s a lefty. He’ll be one of the important pieces for us."

Rick Ragone returns to play first base for the Bulldogs.

"He batted .289 last year and we’re hoping he improves on that," Teats said.

The third senior on the team, Ben Hallenbeck, is a newcomer to the varsity and will be in the outfield.

Four juniors return and look to make major contributions.

Jayson Villeneuve will man the outfield for the Bulldogs this season. Rich Geist will be the team’s catcher after missing most of last season with an injury.

"He got hurt in the second game last year," Teats said. "Hopefully, he’ll stay healthy."

Bob Patrick will return to pitch and play in the outfield.

"He batted .420 last year," Teats said. "He was named a first-team pitcher in the Southern Division and won three games for us."

Zack Davis transferred back to BKW after being away for a couple of years.

"Ready and competitive"

The Bulldogs have five sophomores who have some experience.

Ben Burton will play at second base and pitch some this spring. Greg Mulson, who Teats called a good hitter, will play in the infield and could pitch a little as well.

Matt Lounsbury will be at third base and pitch some. Josh Skinner will play at shortstop and pitch for the Bulldogs.

"He’ll be our number three," Teats said of Skinner. "Bobby and Jeremy are my number-one and two but I’m not sure how that’s going to work out yet."

Jeremy Springer will also man the outfield and will be the back-up catcher for BKW this season.

The sophomores are a part of a talented group of athletes.

"This group last year played on the junior varsity for half the season," Teats said. "They got a good amount of playing time. The only inexperience they have is because they only played on the varsity for half of the season."

Teats said he is looking forward to getting out on the field for games, which could start this week. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play Voorheesville on Wednesday. Then BKW, plays at Greenwich on Saturday and Fort Plain in a non-league game on Monday. The Bulldogs first league game is scheduled for April 6 at Schoharie.

"I’m really excited about the season," Teats said. "We’ve had good-enough early spring practices in the gym on a daily basis that we should be ready and competitive."


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