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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 26, 2007


Bunt a big hit for Dutchmen’s comeback

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Monday’s baseball game at Guilderland High School had a familiar theme.

The game was tied in the bottom half of the seventh inning and the Guilderland baseball team had the bases loaded. And much like a game earlier in the season — the second of the year to be exact — the Dutchmen won the game on a suicide squeeze bunt. It was almost a mirror image of Guilderland’s first Suburban Council game of the season.

There were some differences. It was about 40 degrees warmer and, instead of the final score being 7-6 as it was against Ballston Spa on that cold day in early April, Guilderland beat Bethlehem, 6-5.

And it wasn’t Nick Polsinelli who dropped down a bunt in Monday’s game, it was number-eight hitter, Jimmy Sabbag.

Sabbag laid down a perfect bunt in between home plate and the pitcher’s mound and sprinted to first base. Barreling down the third base line was Andrew Simpson, and he scored easily as the Bethlehem pitcher did not have a play.

The play kept the Dutchmen from getting a blemish in the loss column.

"This team finds a way to win," said Guilderland Coach Dough LaValley. "But it was our typically post-Colonie game. We were flat a little bit. And their pitcher did a good job."

Guilderland beat arch-rival Colonie, 7-3, on Saturday in a battle of unbeaten teams at Guilderland High School.

Rasovsky in control

On Monday, Bethlehem pitcher Oren Rasovsky was in control for most of the game. He did not give up a base hit until the fourth inning.

However, the Dutch had only three strikeouts in those three innings, so they were putting the ball in play; they just weren’t "hitting ’em where they ain’t."

In the meantime, Bethlehem touched up Guilderland starter Greg Barcomb for three runs, two in the first inning and one in the second.

Barcomb gave up just two hits and struck out three batters, but hurt himself with walks. He walked five batters in the first two innings, which led to the runs.

"He struggled with the zone," LaValley said. "He gutted it out. He didn’t want to come out. I want my pitchers not to want to come out. But I had to; there are bigger games down the road."

Bethlehem led, 4-0, after the top half of the fourth inning, but Guilderland chipped away at the lead in the bottom half of the frame.

First baseman Ben Henderson scored after opening the frame with a single. Sophomore designated hitter Steve Anderson drove Henderson in with a single.

Bethlehem added a run to its lead in the fifth inning. Two Dutchmen errors in the frame led to the run, but reliever Kyle Leclair did a good job of getting out of the inning by inducing a ground out.

"Kyle comes in and does the job," LaValley said. "It’s his second win like that."

Leclair won the Ballston Spa game in long relief.

"We stayed patient"

Guilderland made the score 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

Nick Ranalli led off the inning with a walk. He stole second base and then moved to third on a groundout by Polsinelli. Henderson then singled to right field and Ranalli scored easily from third.

Guilderland tied the game in the sixth inning by scoring three runs without getting a hit. Simpson and Anderson started off the inning with back-to-back walks. Then Joe Lima loaded the bases after the ball was misplayed by the Bethlehem shortstop.

Sabbag walked against reliever Matt Nash in the next at bat and Simpson trotted home to make the score 5-3. Ranalli also drew a walk that allowed Anderson to score and cut the Dutch’s deficit to one.

Lima scored on a ground ball hit by Mike Goldstein to shortstop. Ranalli was forced out at second base but Goldstein beat the relay throw to first.

Guilderland couldn’t get the lead run in the frame, though, as Henderson hit an infield fly and Jake Colavito struck out.

Simpson led off the seventh inning with a single and sprinted to second when the leftfielder misplayed the ball.

Anderson was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second. A passed ball against the Bethlehem catcher advanced the runners one base.

Lima was walked intentionally to load the bases. And with Sabbag coming up, LaValley decided to put the suicide squeeze play on. Sabbag bunted the second pitch as Simpson sprinted toward home plate.

"We stayed patient," LaValley said of his team’s approach at the plate in the late innings. "We knew the more pitches we saw, the more mistakes we’d see."

"The will to win"

LaValley senses something special in this team. The Dutchmen won three games in three different ways. They got a brilliant pitching performance from C.J. Sohl in a 9-0 win over Saratoga last Friday, their first game in over a week because of weather-related cancellations. Sohl pitched a complete-game three-hitter. He had eight strikeouts and two walks in the contest.

Then the Dutch got a strong pitching and hitting performance from Polsinelli against Colonie on Saturday. He gave up just three unearned runs and six hits in the game. Polsinelli struck out seven batters and also hit a two-run home run.

Goldstein also hit a home run and had a double in the game.

"We fight," LaValley said. Then, referring to his spot in the third-base coach’s box, he added, "I was over there and I never had this feeling with a team. I never sensed that we were out of it. No matter the deficit, this team has the will to win."

The Dutch played at Averill Park on Wednesday. They will continue to use that will to win in a game against Shaker on Thursday. The Dutch then travel to Ballston Spa on Monday and return home to play Burnt Hills on Wednesday.

"It’s like this team is on a mission," LaValley said on Monday. "We’re 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the league. We want to keep going. Our biggest game now is against Averill Park."


Win as different as night and day for Dutchmen

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It’s like night and day.

The two games between Niskayuna and Guilderland were total opposites this season. The Dutchmen played their worst game of the season — and maybe in Guilderland lacrosse history — just less than a month ago. Guilderland lost that game, 14-2, but the outcome on Tuesday was much different.

The Dutch played their best game of the season to beat the Silver Warriors, 6-5, at Don Snyder Field at Guilderland High School. It was Niskayuna’s first loss in the Suburban Council and Section II since 2004.

"I’ve been on them all season," Guilderland Coach Sean McConaghy said of his team. "That’s what they need. This group of guys hasn’t played well all the time. The seniors haven’t always stepped it up. But today the seniors closed the locker room door and talked. This is a great team victory."

"Fired up"

"It hasn’t hit me yet," said Guilderland senior co-captain Scott Raffensperger. "We could tell from the start that we were ready. In the locker room and on the field, we did not talk about anything but lacrosse. We were fired up and it showed. The defense played phenomenally."

Raffensperger was part of that defense that played tough against a very good offense. Joining him on the defensive side of the field were sophomore Kip Stillman, senior Kyle Klapp, and junior Paul Malamood.

"We clicked," senior Matt Stillman said of the offense. "Everybody found everybody. But we’re taking it one at a time. That’s our new motto."

The Dutch offense clicked for six goals, none more important than the final one.

Stillman did the honors of putting the Dutch ahead for good with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter.

Senior Uriah Myrie assisted on the goal as he found Stillman wide open on the crease. Myrie’s perfect pass was quick-sticked into the goal by Stillman and the Dutch had the lead.

Guilderland led after the third quarter, 5-3, but Niskayuna barraged the Guilderland goal with shots but couldn’t get many by junior goalie Nick Koss.

The Silver Warriors were finally able to connect for a score with 7:04 left in the quarter.

Rob Prendergast picked up an unassisted tally.

Ben Romer’s goal tied the game for Niskayuna and appeared to give the Silver Warriors the momentum. Nick DiSarro assisted on the tally.

To the Dutch’s credit, they were able to hold off the Niskayuna flurry and came back to get the game-winning goal.

Niskayuna took 14 shots in the fourth quarter.

"They had the ball for most of the fourth quarter," McConaghy said. "Nick Koss was great. Those kids on that team can shoot."

"Ready to play"

Niskayuna led, 1-0, after one quarter. Romer scored off a feed from DiSarro with 23 seconds left in the stanza.

"Last time," McConaghy said. "It was 7-0 at the end of the first quarter."

Guilderland tied the game just a minute-and-a-half into the second frame.

Senior Jordan Dubose tallied after dodging a couple of defenders. Myrie got the assist on the score.

DiSarro gave the Silver Warriors the lead back on an unassisted goal with 7:18 left in the quarter.

And that score would stand through halftime and until sophomore Rory Nunamacher tied the game for Guilderland.

Nunamacher got a pass from junior Quinn Connell and rifled a high shot past Niskayuna goalie James Manchester.

Stillman gave the Dutch the lead with 5:34 left in the third frame. He scored on a quick shot in front of the goal after getting a pass from senior Greg Murphy.

Guilderland took a 4-2 lead when Myrie scored with 2:04 left in the stanza. The tally came on a man-up opportunity with the assist going to senior Chris Conway.

DiSarro cut the Niskayuna deficit to one on an unassisted goal with 48 seconds to go in the third frame.

The Dutchmen answered 18 seconds later on an unassisted goal by Stillman.

Niskayuna then tied the game in the fourth quarter on goals by Prendergrast and Romer.

The statistics from the game seem to favor Niskayuna. The Silver Warrior out-shot the Dutchmen, 35-19, and won the face-off battle, 12-4. However, the two teams were even on groundballs and Koss was the difference, making 14 saves.

Manchester made seven saves for Niskayuna.

"The biggest thing is people get intimidated by the silver uniforms and the ‘N’ on the helmet," Raffensperger said. "We realize that they are not superheroes. They are kids just like us. He thought, ‘Why can’t we beat them"’"

"We came at Niskayuna this time," Stillman said. "We came ready to play. I feel like I’m on top of the world."

But the Dutch know it’s back to work to get ready for the next game. The Dutch are 6-3 overall — they lost to Canton, 10-9, on Saturday. But Guilderland is 6-1 in the Suburban Council.

Guilderland plays Columbia today (Thursday) and then hosts Lakeland of Section I on Saturday and Ballston Spa on Wednesday.

"This game is all over now," Raffensperger said. "We are now focused on Columbia. We want to keep rolling and win sectionals. That is our goal."


Bethlehem still a thorn in the side for Lady Dutch

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team had its first league loss on Thursday.

The Lady Dutch lost to arch nemesis Bethlehem, 9-6, at the University at Albany.

Danielle Tetreault led the Guilderland scoring with two goals and added a assist. Amanda Best had two goals, and Chelsey Newman and Courtney Davis each added a goal. Abbey Fashouer chipped in with an assist and Jen Kaye had six saves in goal.

"This was disappointing tonight," said Guilderland Coach Gary Chatnik. "But it was a good lesson for us. It hopefully taught us that we need to work hard every game because no one is going to give it to us. I am confident that we will bounce back. Everyone was upset with their own performance. Our team has a great attitude. We usually bounce back with a strong performance after a mediocre outing, so my guess is that we will be fine."

Bashing Burnt Hills

Guilderland did bounce back the next night against Burnt Hills, winning 15-1.

Chelsey Newman led the scoring with three goals. Nikki Branchini and Lynn Tran each had two goals and an assist. Fashouer and Jen Madsen each added two goals. Tetreault and Julie Malkowski each had a goal and two assists. Kristen Cagino had a goal, Jenna Crupi had two assists, and Bridget Daley had an assist.

Amanda Santandrea had three saves in goal.

"This was a nice bounce-back game for us," Chatnik said. "Everyone played a lot and many players found the scoring column.

"Amanda Santandrea had an excellent game in goal, giving Jen Kaye a much needed rest," Chatnik added. "Amanda played most of the game and showed us how hard she has been working. She played with confidecne and she played well. Meera Chappidi had her best game to date. She had two goals called back, but I was very pleased at her overall game. She also is working hard and it was evident tonight."

Chatnick also had praise for some other seldom-used players.

"Molly Barker had an excellent game at defense with a couple of takeaways and good clears," he said. "She played with the aggressiveness that we want to see. Jenna Crupi had an excellent offensive game with two assists and she just missed a couple of goals. It was good to see what she can do. Kristen Cagino played her best game to date. Her field play is improving and she had a great goal on an excellent cut.

"It was nice to see our younger players get the quality time — a glimpse into the future."

Guilderland is now 6-2 overall and is ranked fourth in Class A in New York State.

The Lady Dutch traveled to play Shaker on Tuesday. Guilderland plays at Niskayuna on Saturday and returns home to play Colonie on Monday, Saratoga on Tuesday, and Shenendehowa on Wednesday.


Lady Dutch softball loses four straight

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland softball team dropped two non-league games at the Shaker High School Tournament this past weekend.

The Lady Dutch lost to Middletown, 6-4, in the first game of the tournament. They scored four runs on six hits. Lauren Napoli had two singles to pace the Guilderland offense.

Both teams committed four errors.

In the second game on Saturday, the Dutch lost to Newburgh, 2-1.

Guilderland scored one run in the second inning and pounded out five hits, but couldn’t get the tying run in over the last four innings.

Napoli went three-for-three with all singles and stole three bases. Sara Heller had two hits with two singles and scored the lone run for the Dutch.

Guilderland lost Suburban Council games with Saratoga, 11-2, on Friday and Bethlehem, 3-2, on Monday.

The Lady Dutch are now 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Suburban Council. Guilderland was scheduled to play Averill Park on Wednesday. The Dutch play Voorheesville today (Thursday), Shaker on Friday at Keenholts Park and travel to Ballston Spa on Monday.


Blackbirds fly around after getting on the field

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — After sitting around for over a week, the Voorheesville softball team finally got back on the field on Friday and took advantage of the beautiful weather.

The Lady Blackbirds played well against a tough Cobleskill-Richmondville team and came away with a 4-1 victory.

"It’s definitely been tough," Voorheesville Coach Matt Fiato said of the weather. "At the beginning of this week, there was snow on the ground and the school was shut down on Monday. It was five days between spring break and our next practice. We had some kids on vacation. But we were able to come back out and win the game. But we have some big league games going into next weekend."

The Blackbirds lost to Lansingburgh, 2-0, on Monday.

Beating the Bulldogs

The Blackbirds were led by Brittany Vogel’s double and two runs batted in. Sophomore Alissa Hatch also had two hits in the game for the Blackbirds.

"She is batting over .500 and has an on-base percentage of over .700," Fiato said of Hatch.

The Birds were able to solve Cobleskill pitcher Sarah Harrison, though the Bulldogs’ hurler had eight strikeouts.

"Their pitcher did a nice job at the beginning of the game," Fiato said. "We caught up to her a little. We got a few good hits. And they made a couple of costly errors."

Voorheesville pitcher Sarah LaFave put together a good pitching performance.

"Sarah was sick," Fiato said. "But she came to us and told us that she would try and go. She threw a two-hitter and one of those was on a bunt. She has been struggling with the strike zone. But she kept the walks down and did a nice job with 13 strikeouts."

Hatch also picked up the win in the pitcher’s circle the last time the Blackbirds took the field. She struck out five batters and gave up just five hits in a 15-0 win over Watervliet on April 11. Three of the hits that Hatch gave up were on bunts.

Hatch was subbing for starter LaFave, who was out with a "tight neck," according to Fiato.

"She did a great job of stepping in," Fiato said. "We had half of the junior varsity playing. They played well, too."

"A good start"

Friday’s win evened the Blackbirds record in the Colonial Council. The 2-2 Birds are also 3-3 overall as of Friday. The Birds played Lansingburgh on Monday.

Voorheesville lost a close game to Cohoes, 3-2, on April 9.

"Sarah pitched a one-hitter," Fiato said. "But she had some walks and hit a batter."

The Birds were losing, 1-0, going into the seventh and final inning.

Senior Jenna Massaroni gave Voorheesville the lead with a two-run double with two outs. But Cohoes scored two runs with no hits in the bottom half of the seventh inning.

On April 10, the Birds lost to Mechanicville, 7-1.

"It was a tight game," Fiato said. "It was 1-1 in the fifth inning. We made a couple of errors and a couple of walks. We left runners on base. But it was a closer game than 7-1."

Though his team is not exactly where he would like it to be, Fiato is pleased with his team’s start especially considering the weather and vacation.

"I would have liked to be 3-1 after this week," the coach said. "But it is a good start in the league. We gave the game away against Cohoes. But we’ve been solid in the field. We need to get the bats going a bit better. But we’re fundamentally better than in the past few years. We have a lot of team speed."

Another thing Fiato likes in his team is the depth he gets to play with each game.

"We have to juggle around because all these girls can play," he said. "We’re trying to keep everyone happy. We have people that can play two or three positions."

The Blackbirds were scheduled to play Guilderland today (Thursday) and travel to Watervliet on Friday. Voorheesville returns home to play Ravena on Saturday. Then the Blackbirds play Schalmont on back-to-back days. They travel to Rotterdam on Monday and host the Sabres on Tuesday. The Birds wrap up a busy week with a game at home against Cohoes on Wednesday.


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