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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: August 2010

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.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

8-year-old Cal Ripken Baseball Mid-Atlantic Regional gets underway

Three Capital Region teams are in action this weekend at the 8-year-old Cal Ripken Baseball Mid-Atlantic Regional at the Spring Baseball Complex in Troy.
The Clifton Park Lightning - the Eastern New York State champions, Saratoga Americans - Eastern New York State runner-up and host team - Spring Renegades will take on the best from Maryland to New York in three days of pool play and two days of elimination contests.
This is it for the youngsters, there is no World Series in the Babe Ruth League, Inc. organization at this level.

8-year-old Cal Ripken Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament bracket

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Shenendehowa sports physicals Aug. 9 and 11

CLIFTON PARK – Fall sports physicals will be held 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday Aug. 9 and Wednesday Aug. 11 in the High School East New Gym.

Physical examinations are required for students participating in interscholastic sports. Proof of physicals must be presented before students may practice. Two options are available for a sports physical, completed at school by the school physician (please download form at or by the student’s own doctor with completed private physician sports physical form.


Saratoga Youth Hockey A-level coaches announced

Saratoga Youth Hockey has announced its A-level coaches for the upcoming season:
Mite A – Scott Swenson
Squirt A – Andy Pemrick
Pee Wee A – Jeff Whiteside
Bantam A – Martin Whitman
Midget 16U (Before) – Jeff Whiteside

Midget 16U (Before) tryouts will be held Monday Aug. 23 from 8 to 9:30 p.m., Thursday Aug. 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and Friday Aug. 27 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Weibel Avenue Rink.
The 16U before team season will run through September & October and is setup for players who intend to play High School Hockey. Registration information will be available prior to tryouts.

Registration will take place on September 7 and 8 in the Weibel lobby. The registration paperwork will be available on the website in mid-August.

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Burnt Hills athletic physicals Aug. 23

BURNT HILLS – New York State requires all students to have a current physical, each calendar year, to be eligible to participate in a school sport. Your student-athlete can get a physical at the Burnt Hills High School free of charge from noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 23.

Physicals will be offered in the high school nurse’s office for all incoming athletes at the modified, freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels.

Parental permission is required. Either bring a parent the day of the physicals or pick up a physical permission form in the high school main office prior to August 23 for a parent to complete and sign.

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Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa hockey meeting Aug. 11

Hockey players currently enrolled in or entering Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake or Ballston Spa High School are invited to attend an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11 at the Burnt Hill Library located at 2 Lawmar Lane in Burnt Hills.

The combined Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa varsity ice hockey team is primarily funded by booster club fundraising, attending this meeting could assist families in limiting their out-of-pocket expenses.

Attendees will learn about the varsity schedule, tryouts, pre-season conditioning, monetary responsibilities, tournament information and more.

If you are unable to attend the August 11 informational meeting, please email so that information can be emailed to you.

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Saratoga Americans run past Colonie, 6-4, in 10/11 sectionals

COLONIE — The Saratoga American Little League 10- and 11-year-old squad ran itself out of one inning, but didn’t run out of pitching or batters Sunday afternoon, beating District 13 champions Colonie, 6-4, on the road.
“Even after we ran ourselves out of that first inning we weren’t going to stop,” Saratoga American manager Peter D’Aloia said. “This team was built on base running, pitching and defense and that’s what got us through today.”

The Americans hit the Cook Park Complex in Colonie running, scoring two early runs in the first inning after consecutive singles by Luke Fauler and Nick Kondo. Shane Barringer came up big at the plate with his two-run double to centerfield and Austin Patterson showed that the team was getting into the head of its opponent when he reached on an error by the first baseman.

But Saratoga got a little too greedy as Barringer was picked off on a double steal attempt, tagged out at home and Colonie’s catcher, Taylor Pfaff was quick enough to fire to second base to nab Patterson for the inning-ending double play.

Colonie responded from a disappointing first at-bat where two runners were forced out on sharp defensive plays by the Americans and tied the contest up with the long ball.

Kenny Szesnat led off the top of the second getting hit by a pitch before No. 8 batter Greg Mazzie drilled a two-run home run deep and over the centerfield scoreboard for a 2-2 tie.

The Americans pulled ahead on Colin Bradley’s double to right field followed immediately by Will Navin’s RBI double over second to take a 3-2 lead. Saratoga tired to push the lead again, sending Navin home on Fauler’s double to center, but he too was cut down on the relay throw to home, nabbed at the plate.

The Americans showed their hitting prowess when Alex Hite rebounded from his first inning strikeout and drilled a fastball over the left field wall, plating Patterson who reached on a single through the left side for a 5-2 lead.

“It was a better pitch selection,” Hite said. “Both bad at-bats (two strikeouts on the day) there were high pitches that I swung at. The home run, I had a good pitch and I hit it. I was looking for a fastball.”

Colonie matched-up well with Saratoga, hanging with the Blue Shirts when Josh Paszkowski drove in pinch-hitter Coby Brickner and Greg Mazzie with his one-out double to left field, cutting the lead, 5-4.

The Americans tacked on an insurance run in the fourth after Bradley reached on a single, advanced on a passed ball and came around to score on Kondo’s infield single for the 6-4 lead.

Bradley went 3-for-3 on the day with two runs scored in the No. 7 spot.

“I knew I had to get on base,” Bradley said. “They’re a real good team. I wasn’t nervous coming in, but there was stress because I knew it would be close.”

With the lead in hand, but not guaranteed, D’Aloia again gambled, limiting his pitcher’s pitch counts to keep them available for Tuesday’s sectional crossover and potential championship later in the week.

Kondo was pulled after reaching 35 pitches, going 3 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and two runs. He struck out two and didn’t walk a batter. Navin was inserted for 1 2/3 innings, allowing a hit and two runs. He walked two and struck out one batter.

Barringer, who struggled with his control on Saturday afternoon against Rondout Valley closed out the contest, allowing one runner to reach on a two-out single, but saw him cut down on his late steal attempt.

“I was surprised because I wasn’t throwing as hard as I could, I was just trying to throw strikes,” Barringer said. “They were after my inside-outside fastball. My strikeout came when I jammed them.”

He helped himself mentally with a strong day at the plate, putting the Americans on top early with his two-run double in the first inning.

“I was looking to hit a fastball down the middle,” Barringer said. “I got it into the gap.”

While Saratoga was the aggressor, Colonie took a more conservative approach to its offense, surprising D’Aloia.

“We had heard that they scouted us yesterday,” D’Aloia said. “Alex Hite has a cannon behind the plate and he’s tough to run against.

“Will Messier earned our game ball with his defense,” D’Aloia. “He turned a double play at short yesterday and had two great plays that saved us today. I think they saw that too.”

The Americans secured the No. 1 seed in their pool and will face the No. 2 seed in the opposite pool, 6 p.m. Tuesday at East Side Rec. Their opponent could be any of three opponents, District 12’s Rotterdam, District 14’s Twin Town or District 16 Kinderhook. Elimination games today will determine who will advance to face Saratoga.

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Clifton Park Mustangs need extras to beat 8-yr-old Saratoga Americans

TROY — The Saratoga Americans had to return to the Spring Baseball Complex in Troy to complete some unfinished business Saturday morning, finishing off Spring and almost stealing a contest away from rival Clifton Park in eight innings.

Saratoga (1-1) arrived back at the 8-year-old Cal Ripken Eastern New York State tournament with their bats awake, drilling Spring for five runs in the fifth inning and cruising to an 11-4 win.

Later in the morning the Americans allowed rival the Clifton Park Mustangs to score three runs in the top of the sixth before knotting the contest at five runs apiece with two of the their own in the bottom of the sixth to knot the contest at five apiece. Clifton Park (2-0) scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning on Ben Lavery’s inside-the-park home run, keying the 8-5 win.

After being tied at two-runs Saratoga took a 3-2 lead.

Clifton Park bounced back with three runs of its own and was looking for more after Troy Malcolm was forced out at the plate for the first out of the inning.

Help wasn’t far behind as Brendan Fallon scored after reaching on a single and moving around after Jack Flaherty reached on an infield single and Lavery reached on a fielder’s choice. Ryan Collins drove in Fallon with his RBI single.

Adam McCarville drove in Flaherty with his sacrifice fly that was caught deep in center and Jonathan DeChalus plated Lauer with his RBI single for the 5-3 lead.

With their backs against the wall, Saratoga came back to tie the game with two of its own in the bottom half of the sixth.

The two teams didn’t budge in the seventh inning but the Mustangs rode high in the top of the eighth on the bat and heels of Lavery.

With Malcom and Fallon both reaching on walks, Lavery drilled a one-out drive to deep centerfield plating both of his teammates. With assistant coach Mike Flaherty sending him home the entire way, whipping his arms around in the third base coach’s box, Clifton Park took the 8-5 lead.

The younger Flaherty closed out the win, giving up a single to Chudy before getting the next three batters out.

“He runs the gamut between hot and cold,” Clifton Park manager John Collins said. “He’s one of our starters and hadn’t pitched in two days. Sure enough, he came through.”

The Mustang revival came at the hands of the top of the Clifton Park order, positions that had been almost dormant early in the contest.

“We started to hit, we’ve been in a slump,” Hart said. “We started to get his when we needed them when the chips were down.”

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Clifton Park Lightning claim 8-yr-old Cal Ripken Eastern New York State title

TROY — It was a game for all of the marbles…well sort of.

The Saratoga Americans and Clifton Park Lightning 8-year-old Cal Ripken teams had already earned a berth in next week’s Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament hosted by Spring Baseball so Wednesday night’s game was about seeding and the title of Eastern New York State Champion.

So the two squads did what they have been doing all year…playing like major leaguers.

In a back and forth contest with stellar defense, aggressive base running and a nail-biting save opportunity, Clifton Park was crowned the champion after a 4-3 win over Saratoga.

Both teams stayed with their original game plans, with Saratoga running and Clifton Park showing more arms on the pitcher’s mound than a stadium wave from the crowd.

The Americans were cut down twice early on at third and at second place before finally plating Jacob Young who reached with a one-out walk in the third. He moved over on Lucci Bonacio’s infield single, raced to third after a wild pitch and came home to score on Anthony Sudigala’s grounder back to the pitcher for the early 1-0 lead.

Clifton Park responded with a three run third, keyed on Drew Signor’s centerfield gap triple that rolled to the fence, driving in Christian Echivarria, Joe Meyer and Sean Konarski.

“I thought it was a triple and then it hit the fence and I thought ‘home, home,” Signor said.

He flew around the base paths, but a late decision allowed him to be thrown out at home on a laser from the cut-off man.

“I thought my coach was going to stop me to come back (to third),” Signor said. “I started to slow down and then ran again.”

While Clifton Park made their mark with one swing the of the bat, the Americans continued to chip away at the leaders.

Nate Chudy reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced on a walk to Peter O’Toole walk and Connor Hart fielder’s choice. He cut the lead, 3-2, scoring on a Max Ott grounder that was thrown away by the second baseman.

Clifton Park kept the pressure on when Kellan Kennedy reached on an infield single, stole second and moved to third on Meyer’s grounder back to the mound. Sean Konarski finished his 3-for-3 evening with an RBI double to left field for the eventual game-winner.

“I was just looking to make contact,” Konarski said. “I knew we needed another run. They mercy’d (10-run mercy-rule victory) us the first time we played them and we beat them by one run the other time. We wanted to be the state champion.”

Up, 4-2, the Saratoga Americans remained hungry for a title and a bigger trophy to take home in their final at-bats.

Aidan Holmes reached with a one-out single before Christian Kondo walked and came home on O’Toole’s RBI single just inside the third base line, putting the Americans on the doorstep, 4-3.

Connor Hart walked to load the bases and put the pressure on Clifton Park reliever Kyle Malmberg.

With the count in the batter’s favor, 2-0, he enticed a slow grounder up the first base line that Anthony Cordes snagged and then raced back to the bag for the out and the title.

“I was really relaxed at the beginning with no outs,” Malmberg said. “I walked a couple and with two outs I knew if I walked in the run it would tie it or lose in extra innings.”

Both squads advance to next week’s Mid-Atlantic Regional beginning Aug. 5 at the Spring Baseball Complex, but won’t see each other unless both reach the semifinals Aug. 8.

“They kept us off balance with their pitching and we didn’t have the bats against their battery,” Saratoga American manager Chris Hart said. “We tried to play Saratoga baseball.

“We threw two out at the plate and knew we would make plays and they would make plays,” Hart said. “We had men on third with two outs. We’ll be back in a week.”

It’s been a long season for the Lightning, but has paid off.

“It’s amazing how mature these kids are,” Clifton Park manager Paul Reinisch said. “Two outs and a man on third, throws from the outfield, they throw like high schoolers.”

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