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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, June 5, 2008
By Tim Matteson
VOORHEESVILLE It was a classic pitchers’ duel featuring two hurlers putting it all on the line.
Voorheesville’s Jay Conde and Lake George’s Mike Tirri battled in the Class CC Section II semifinals at Clifton Commons park in Clifton Park on Tuesday night.
Conde was great, but Tirri got the edge no-hitting the Blackbirds to win the contest, 1-0.
“It was a great game,” Voorheesville Coach Hank Czerwinski said. “Their pitcher brought it. He pitched well. He didn’t have a change-up but he didn’t need it.”
Tirri pitched superbly on the mound and drove in the lone run of the game in the bottom half of the sixth inning to give his team the victory.
Conde’s performance was gutsy. He gave up just the one run on five hits in six innings pitched. All this was after severely hurting his right knee while going back to first base on a pick-off attempt.
“As soon as I went back, I twisted it,” Conde said after the game. “I looked and my kneecap was on the side. We just popped it back to place. I was in a lot of pain.”
Conde said that he has a similar injury in 10th grade while playing football.
“Coach [Czerwinski] asked me if I wanted to be done,” Conde said. “I said, ‘No way. I’ve waited for this too long. I’ve been waiting for this for awhile. I told the coaches that it would take my leg to snap in half to get me out of there. I knew we were not that deep in pitching.”
Conde will play football and baseball in college at St. Lawrence University. When he wasn’t limping around the pitcher’s mound, he gave up one hit in the second inning, one hit in the third, and one in the fourth inning. He gave up just two hits in the sixth inning but the second, a little bloop by Tirri, drove in Ryan Lynch with the only run Lake George needed.
“Jay’s a gutsy kid,” Czerwinski said. “He’s done it [the injury] before. I knew he would be all right. He was not going to take himself out of the game. He’s the type of kid that would do that for you. It’s the best he pitched all year.”
Conde finished the game with eight strikeouts and walked just one Warrior batter.
The Blackbird hitters could not catch up to Tirri’s fastball and were stymied by his pitches the entire game.
The hardest hit ball was a foul ball hit by Conde in the first inning, before his injury. Nick Blow hit a ball to centerfield that Lake George’s Joe Deutschmann made a good play on.
Tirri finished the contest with eight strikeouts in seven innings of work. He also walked just one batter in the contest.
“We just didn’t get a hit when we needed it,” Czerwinski said. “Blow had a good hit to the centerfielder. We did what we were supposed to do. It’s the little plays that win sectional games.”
“A very good season”
Senior catcher Chris Massaroni almost kept Voorheesville alive with a sliding attempt at first base after he grounded the ball to second base and the throw was high. But Massaroni was called out and the game ended.
“We were ready to play,” Conde said. “Wea are a young team and they might not realize it now, but they’ll think about the magnitude of the game. It was a pretty important game for all of us. I was happy with the way we played. We just couldn’t put the bat on the ball.”
The loss concluded the season for the Blackbirds. It was a surprisingly successful season for the Birds.
“It was a very good season,” Czerwinski said. “Before tonight, we won our last seven out of eight. We finished third in the Colonial Council behind to [class] B teams Ravena and Schalmont. And we beat Schalmont once. We got a great effort from everyone, the young kids stepped up.”
The Voorheesville team featured mostly underclassmen; the Blackbirds did have good senior leaders like Conde, Massaroni, who will play football at Hartwick College; Kevin Klembczyk; and Tommy Pasquali.
“They stepped up and they worked on being a team,” Czerwinski said. “It’s hard when you have freshmen through seniors. They stepped up for each other.”
“It was a very good year,” Conde said, too. “I didn’t know what to expect. I’m proud of each and every one of these guys. I couldn’t have asked for a better senior season.”