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

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Saratoga Americans run past Colonie, 6-4, in 10/11 sectionals

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, 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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