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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, July 7, 2011
Year in Review: A mixed bag of results in winter and spring seasons
By Jordan J. Michael
Rain. So much rain.
This spring, upstate New York seemed like Seattle.
Numerous baseball and softball games were postponed. Teams piled on games in the last week of the regular season in hopes of being able to finish an entire season. Area athletes who didn’t swing a bat or pitch rejoiced because they got to compete on time.
Guilderland, Voorheesville, and Berne-Knox-Westerlo got all the regular-season games in with a mad dash, but promptly lost in the early rounds of the baseball and softball playoffs.
The Voorheesville baseball team, a radical bunch with high hopes, lost to Cambridge, 2 to 1, in the first round. The Birds came in with a 14-5 record. Something went terribly wrong and Voorheesville couldn’t score. To Cambridge’s credit, it won the Class CC title, but who saw that coming?
Guilderland returned to the baseball playoffs after being the state runner-up in Class AA last year. Coincidentally, the Dutch came in with an identical 11-9 record, but the results were far different from 2010. Troy’s Jesse Twiss pitched lights out in the first round and Guilderland was sent packing on its home field.
There was a sense of bewilderment after the 2-to-0 loss. The Dutchmen expected to defend their Class AA championship. Senior Harry Brodsky summed up the situation perfectly: “Nothing is worse than this. It sucks to lose.”
Another first-round victim was BKW, which drove all the way to Lake George, only to lose by one run (6-5). Head Coach Jeff Teats said that his team had the lead, but gave it up in the later innings. The Bulldogs finished with a 14-6 record.
So, promising regular seasons didn’t calculate to playoff success. Baseball is a funny game.
As far as softball goes, Guilderland and Voorheesville each managed to win a game in the postseason. Self-motivated pitchers, who could also bat very well, led both teams.
Junior Amanda Gatt broke two Voorheesville records by striking out 245 batters and batting .406 at the plate. She started all 19 games for the Lady Birds and she’s spending her summer playing in an elite league. Gatt is serious about softball and, with two years remaining, she might break her own records.
Cori Hilt, who just graduated, led Guilderland. Every time The Enterprise covered a game, she was on the mound, wearing dark sunglasses. Hilt pitched very well in a quarterfinal loss to Shenendehowa, which was an especially skilled team. She’ll continue to play softball at Covenant College in Lookout, Ga. while studying biology as a pre-med student.
“One of my greatest passions has been playing softball,” Hilt wrote in a program that was handed out on Senior Day. “I love working together with my team, as a team, to win games. I’ve had a lot of great memories on many different teams, with so many great girls and teammates.”
One of the most stunning stories of the last 10 months came on May 25 when the Lady Dutch lacrosse team lost its Class A title to Niskayuna in a sectional final for the ages. Guilderland was champion four years in a row and hadn’t lost to a Section II opponent in 79 games.
The 80th game was a classic. The Dutch and the Silver Warriors went back and forth, matching goal for goal. Foreseeing a winner was impossible until the last minute when Niskayuna played keep away, running out the clock. The final score was 15 to 14.
It was as entertaining as a lacrosse game could be: Talented scoring maneuvers, speed, big saves, intensity, loud fans, and drama. It was under the lights, too, which always adds to the effect.
Spectators could sense that Guilderland was in trouble when Niskayuna scored the first two goals. However, the Dutch ended up with a 6-to-3 lead. Still, the Silver Warriors caught up and made it an unforgettable game.
Erin Mossop, who scored five goals on May 25 and about 150 over the last three years, said this week that the confidence level may have been different than in the past. “We knew we had to step up against Niskayuna,” she said. “We had a lot of new players.”
Some of those new players were starting. For example, freshman Morgan Hardt, who took draws against Kayla Treanor, one of the best draw controllers in the area. Treanor won 75 percent, if not more, of the draws that night.
“I wanted my senior year to end on a good point, but it was still a great season,” said Mossop, who will attend Robert Morris University in the fall to study nursing and play Division I lacrosse.
Gary Chatnik, who has nurtured many Guilderland star players, coached Mossop. A handful of Lady Dutch have gone on to play Division I lacrosse in college. “Gary is a great coach and he’s prepared me for a lot,” Mossop said. “He’s tough, but in the right kind of way.”
The Voorheesville girls’ basketball team brought excitement to its community with its playoff run to the state semifinals in March. The team’s spirit was galvanized when Jennifer Cillis injured her knee late in season.
Cillis was the leading scorer for the Lady Birds until she went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She missed the rest of the season, but her nine teammates picked up the slack. Cillis cheered them on from the bench.
Brittanie Denman, who will attend Siena College next fall, told The Enterprise this week that it was an “awakening” when Cillis went down with her injury. “We really had to pick it up,” Denman said. “We didn’t want her injury to be a negative pull on the team, so we went out there and did it for her.”
In a highly contested victory over Cambridge for the Class C title, Denman made six three-pointers each one at huge moments in the game. Denman said that her team was full of “adrenaline” and out to “prove people wrong.” Denman felt good about her shot that day, so she just kept putting it up.
“Jen was a huge part of our team,” said Denman. “She really wanted to play, but she couldn’t. We never wanted to give up on her.”
Voorheesville got to the state semifinals with a 45-to-31 win over Madrid-Waddington of Section X. In the next game, The Lady Birds were beaten by eventual state champion Gananda. The Panthers got out to a 17-to-2 lead and never looked back.
“That was a huge hole for us to dig,” Denman said. “Having Jen on the floor would have helped.”
Either way, Voorheesville had a fun playoff run and the fans came out in droves because all the games were played at Hudson Valley Community College.
“The community completely got behind us,” Denman remembers. “Everyone supported us.”
The BKW boys’ track and field team won the Class CC championship this spring, but it was the individual efforts from area athletes that really stood out. Remember these names: Catalena Diamente, Brandon Kallner, Caitlin Abelseth, and Vinny Saccocio.
Diamente, now a senior at Guilderland, was the sectional champion in both triple jump and high jump. She won every triple jump competition this season and she holds Guilderland records for triple jump (38 feet, 2 inches) and long jump (16 feet, 11 inches).
According to BKW Head Coach Fred Marcil, Kallner is one of the best athletes in BKW history. He has now graduated, but he left an infinite mark in events such as 110-meter hurdles, long jump, high jump, and pentathlon. At the state meet this year, Kallner finished first in the 110-meter hurdles portion of the pentathlon.
Abelseth, who graduated from Voorheesville, finished sixth at the state meet in the 400-meter with a personal-best time of 58.13. She’ll run for Division I Providence College next fall.
Saccocio, now a senior at Voorheesville, got attention with his pole-vaulting skills this spring. He won a Colonial Council title, a Section II title, and also finished first at the esteemed William F. Eddy Meet. Saccocio didn’t have the best showing at states, but he’ll most definitely get another try next year.
Some moments shore bright in a rainy spring and cold winter season while others were clouded with frustration.
The Guilderland boys’ tennis team won a Class AA championship after being the runner-up six different times since 2004;
After getting to the Class C finals in 2010, the BKW girls’ basketball team brought back the same roster, but couldn’t get past Cambridge in the semifinals. Regardless, Tom Galvin has a solid club up there on the Hill. Liz Harvey, who was among the top five in Section II scoring, still has two years of high school left;
Lack of snowfall frustrated the cross-country ski team from Guilderland;
The BKW boys’ basketball team underachieved, again. “We’re trying to hold our heads above water,” Head Coach Andy Wright said after two consecutive 30-point losses during the season. “But, it’s not looking good;”
The Guilderland gymnastics team had an excellent showing at sectionals, but lost to Saratoga once again;
Guilderland joined forces with Mohonasen for the hockey season. It ended with an 11-to-0 loss to Saratoga in the quarterfinal round;
BKW wrestling had its best season in 2011 since forming a team in 2004. The Bulldogs finished third in a loaded Class D field and had four wrestlers place in the top eight of the state qualifiers; and
Guilderland’s Kevin Bates, now a graduate, wrestled his way to a Class A championship at 119-pounds.