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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 27, 2006

LaValley wakes up arm, leads Guilderland Babe Ruth 14’s

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Kyle LaValley had a big game to pitch on Tuesday and how did he prepare"

"I woke up at two," he said. "I slept all day. And I took it easy during batting practice before the game."

LaValley, pitched all seven innings against Clifton Park in the Babe Ruth State Tournament for 14-year-olds in Niskayuna. He struck out 12 batters and threw a lot of pitches.

Guilderland also swung the bats well in a 10-5 win on Tuesday night to improve to 3-0 in the tournament and advance to the championship game that will be played on Thursday. Guilderland has to win just one more game to be crowned champions of the tournament.

LaValley threw 120 pitches and was strong in his final innings as he struck out the side in the sixth inning and added another strikeout in the seventh and got two harmless hit balls for the other two outs.

"Kyle is such a great asset to the team," said Guilderland manager John Roth. "He’s a phenomenal pitcher. He has great control and great poise on the mound. We can always count on him giving us seven tough innings."

LaValley mixed in a sharp breaking curveball with a fastball and change-up that had the Clifton Park hitters on their toes.

"I felt good out there," LaValley said. "I didn’t think that I threw 120 something pitches.

"I’m exhausted," he added. "My arm feels fine but the rest of my body was getting exhausted."

Early lead

Guilderland took an early lead in the top half of the second inning. LaValley scored after leading off the inning with a single.

He advanced to second on a single by Matt Roth. Then, during Tim Flaherty’s at bat, the Clifton Park catcher, Andrew Kelish, threw the ball to second base to try to pick off LaValley who was running for third. The throw from the Clifton Park shortstop to third base was over the third baseman’s head and LaValley cruised home to put his team up, 1-0.

Clifton Park tied the game in the bottom half of the frame but it could have been much worse for Guilderland. Brice Shrake scored after a ball hit by Makarawicz landed just inside the foul line but then rolled under the fence out of play. Shrake was allowed to score.

LaValley struck out a batter for the first out of the inning, but Clifton Park loaded the bases.

LaValley struck out Brian Schroll for the second out and then got Dan Lenney to hit a ground ball that he fielded and threw to first for the final out and avoided giving up any more runs.

Owning the game

Guilderland took control of the game in the third inning.

Jeremy Tobin led off the frame with a walk and, after a flyout by Luke Stark, Steve Anderson was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.

LaValley then singled to drive in Tobin. LaValley advanced to second on the throw home to put runners on second and third.

Roth singled to drive in Anderson, and Tim Flaherty drove in LaValley and Roth with a single to right field.

Guilderland scored two more runs in the fourth inning. Stark walked and Anderson singled. After LaValley struck out, Roth doubled that allowed Stark and Anderson to score.

Clifton Park struck for four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut its deficit to two runs, 7-5.

LaValley got roughed up in the inning as he gave up a double, and single, and hit a batter to load the bases with no outs. Shrake then ripped a double that drove in two runs.

LaValley struck out the next two batters but a wild pitch allowed the third run of the inning to score. The final run was scored when David Wixted hit an infield single to drive in Shrake.

LaValley struck out the next batter to stop any more damage from happening.

Guilderland scored an insurance run in the sixth and two in the seventh.

LaValley helped his own cause with a walk and moving to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on a single to shallow center field by Roth and then scored on a wild pitch.

Zack Caplan and Tobin scored in the seventh inning. Caplan led off the stanza with a double and Tobin walked. Both scored on an RBI single by Anderson.

On to the world series"

"We’re aggressive at the plate," Coach Roth said. "We have smart base runners. We are able to push runners across the plate.

"They take batting practice almost every day," Roth added. "This is a great group of kids and they fight to the last out."

"I was happy we were able to come back with more runs," LaValley said. "I was angry that I let them back in the game. I was disappointed but I clamped down and I didn’t let them get any more runs."

LaValley has baseball in his blood. His father is the head varsity coach at Guilderland High School and his older brother plays at Hudson Valley Community College and is an assistant coach for the Babe Ruth team.

Guilderland had beaten Kent, 12-0, in the first round and Kingston, 9-3, to set up the match-up with Clifton Park, which also won its first two games.

Guilderland will face either Clifton Park, Niskayuna, or Kingston in a championship game of the double-elimination tournament. Guilderland can lose its next game and still have another shot to win the event.

"We’re still able to lose one game and play the same team again," LaValley said. "We’ll know what they’ve got. Hopefully, we won’t lose that first game and we can save our pitching for later."

Guilderland got to the state tournament by winning its district — District 5. Guilderland was unbeaten and defeated rivals Bethlehem and Colonie in the tournament.

Roth is assisted by Rick Flaherty, Matt LaValley, and Roger Wyland. The team is carrying 13 players on its roster.

Pete Quinn, Nate Weinberg, Husten Govel, Chris Heller, Ryan Carpenter, and Matt Wyland round out the roster.

"This year we went with 13," Roth said. "Every year, there are a couple of kids that come out that I didn’t coach before. But I’ve coached seven of these kids since they were 10 years old."

Most of the players will be entering their freshmen year at Guilderland High School. LaValley, Anderson, and Roth will be sophomores in the fall.

"This is a great group," Roth said. "They are all from Guilderland and will play a big part in high-school sports. Hopefully, we’ll win this tournament and get to the Mid-Atlantic Tournament. Our goal is to get to the world series."

Rain doesn’t wash away Fox Creek 5K

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — As the runners for the Fox Creek 5K lined up at the starting line, the skies opened up.

For the first time in the event’s history, rain fell upon the competitors but it didn’t dampen spirits.

"Many runners don’t mind," said race director Jim Hamilton. "A little rain cools you down."

It also didn’t deter athletes from showing up. The 103 runners that finished the race set a record.

"It was the largest number of runners we’ve had to date," Hamilton said. "The largest in the past was 97 or 98."

A hometown boy won the race. Ryan Walter, 21, of Delanson, a Berne-Knox-Westerlo graduate, clocked a time of 16:28.

"He won last year," Hamilton said. "He’s a past winner; it’s good he came back."

Ryan Pezzulo, 17, of Ballston Spa, was second in 16:41.

Walter and Pezzulo were engaged in a battle for the top spot.

"Pezzulo led for a good portion of the race with Ryan trailing close behind him," Hamilton said. "He [Pezzulo] had the first mile in 5:06, which is a good pace. I’m not sure where Ryan passed him. Ryan came on strong and pulled away from him."

Hamilton found out that Walter passed Pezzullo in the third mile.

Jessica Manzer, 23, of Palatine Bridge was the women’s winner. The former Canajoharie High School and Middlebury College runner finished in a time of 18:14, good enough for seventh overall. Her time was the fastest ever run by a woman in the race.

"She was a significant runner in Section II some years ago," Hamilton said. "She was a very strong local runner and she came back."

Molly Pezzulo, 13, of Ballston Spa was the second female finisher. She clocked a time of 19:56 to finish ninth overall.

Rounding out the men’s top five were Nathan Hoffman, 27, of Slingerlands, who finished in 17:29. Sean Pezzulo, 14, of Ballston Spa, was fourth in a time of 17:43, and Macky Lloyd, 16, of Voorheesville, was fifth in 17:56.

Chelsea Corr, 22, of East Greenbush, was the third female finisher in a time of 20:55. Sarah Furman, 18, of West Berne, was fourth in a time of 21:44 and Kendall Bunzey, 19, Berne was fifth in 22 minutes.

There were some changes to the race this year. For one, it was run later than usual. It was a couple of weeks later to coincide with the Berne Heritage Day celebration that was scheduled for later in the day but was rained out.

Hamilton also changed the course design. The biggest change was he avoided a hill that was in the first half-mile of the race.

"People liked the course," Hamilton said. "One local runner told me that she missed the hill. She said, ‘This is Berne. People can run a flat race anywhere.’ But several of the reactions I got were good."

With the course change comes new records. Walter’s time was not the fastest in the history of the race. Chuck Terry still holds the race’s all-time record. He set the record in 2004 with a time of 16:04.

"Ryan ran a good, strong time," Hamilton said. "Manzer also ran the fastest time run in the race by almost a minute."

The race also featured runners from out-of-state, including some far-flung places such as Mississippi, Virginia, and Kentucky.

Charlie Souter, 49, of Charlottesville, Va., ran in a road race in his 25th different state. He has a goal to run a race in all 50 states before he turns 50. Hamilton said. Souter finished 15th in a time of 21:08 at the Fox Creek 5K.

"He heard about the race and called me and asked if it was a good race," Hamilton said. "I told him, ‘Yeah, it’s a great race."

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