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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Shen's Bloody Sunday

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Shen's Bloody Sunday

To write that Shenendehowa boys varsity coach Jim Carrese was a little upset after his Plainsmen baseball squad exited the first round of the Section II tournament for the fifth time would be an understatement.

No one likes to lose.

The teams I covered don't like to lose, their opponents don't like to fall to them and I sure as hell hate to wake up and find out that I got beat out on a story.

All of them more bitter if they could have been avoided.

That's what will age Carrese a little more during the off season, because it all could have been avoided.

Maybe.

Starting pitcher Jeff Carter had the right stuff, even though he gave up three runs int he second, he was still capable of earning the win.

He went 1-2-3 in the third and fourth innings and faced only four batters in the fifth. But by that point he was at 93 pitches and his day was done.

You can't put the loss on Carter, Shen's No. 1 all season long.

Carrese referred to his squad as "counter punchers" throughout the year on their way to a 20-4 record, but on Sunday they all looked like bar room brawlers, swinging for the fences on the first chance they had and into a stiff wind.

Carrese implored, explained, downright begged his batters to show patience when they went to the plate against Niskayuna's Chris Tylson in the bottom half of the fourth inning.

Result: 3 outs on 7 pitches.

He covered the issue again in the bottom of the fifth.

Result: 3 outs on 8 pitches.

Someone finally issued a memo that the Shen player's could understand and they scratched out a run in the sixth, sending five batters to the plate and all but one batter went deep into the count.

Too late kids.

Shen exits the first round of the playoffs, a No. 1 seed, a 20-win season and an embarrassing exit that will haunt the players and their coach...again.

"For the life of me after coaching for 29 years I don't have an answer," Carrese mustered. One of the several quotes he gave me after the game, most of them seething.

Normally I would just keep them tucked in my notebook and save the kids the public humiliation, but after standing behind the dugout for the entire game and being within earshot for the failure to listen to their coach, it seemed appropriate to run them.

The players will move on, play summer ball and a lot will play in college, putting "Shen's Bloody Sunday" behind them (Don't worry we didn't run that in the paper), but Carrese and his staff will have to live with it.

So will the next group that earns a spot in the playoffs, always questioned until they get out of the first round, advance and then, possibly, someday, win a Section II title.

Only then will the demons be exercised, because it didn't happen today.

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