Thursday, April 30, 2009

Frozen Bengals, frozen ropes, weird Wasaren, 'Burgh baseball and Uncle Sam softball

Hoosic Valley senior pitcher Carlee Chapko winds up during Thursday's Wasaren League game at Tamarac High School. Chapko struck out 11 (six went down looking) and the Indians' bats came alive, pounding out 19 hits in a 16-2 victory over the Bengals. (All photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Hoosic Valley shortstop Sam Anderson rounds the bases after crushing a home run to left field in Thursday's victory over Tamarac. Anderson's blast not only cleared the fence, but it went sailing a good 20 yards over the set of bleachers set up beyond the wall. Anderson added a sacrifice fly, scored three runs and drove in two for the Indians.

Hoosic Valley catcher Eileen Farrell (4) trots into second base as Tamarac second baseman Kari Squadrito gathers the ball. Farrell, along with Chrissy Sanderson, doubled twice and finished with four hits. She's also been instrumental in helping Chapko become more of a pitcher than a thrower, working on changing pitch locations and speed.

Tamarac had defeated Schuylerville - ranked No. 2 in the state at the time - last week, but the Bengals just didn't show up ready to play today. Hoosic Valley smacked one line drive after another into the outfield in a relentless attack. Eight of the Indians' nine players in the starting lineup finished with at least one hit and one RBI apiece.

Hoosic Valley (4-3, 6-3) stumbled a bit to begin the season, but have been coming on strong ever since many of the players returned from the basketball team's run to the state Final Four in March. They've also had to create a new identity without Jen Minueau, their former ace, who is making a name for herself now on the collegiate level at Fordham.

"We started off with a few losses and then we said, ‘OK, Jen’s not here,’" said Sanderson. "I guess this kind of proves we can win without her, even though she was great with this team. I think we have a lot of good players."

"The Wasaren is a weird league," Sanderson continued. "Everybody has beaten top teams and the lower teams are getting up and up. It’s just weird."

Tamarac starter Jon Matala struck out five Hoosic Valley batters en route to an 11-6 come-from-behind victory for the Bengals on Thursday, also at Tamarac High School.

Connor Whalen’s pinch-hit RBI single put the Bengals ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning as Tamarac scored six runs in the frame to stage a come-from-behind Wasaren League victory.
Freshman Kyle Bestle’s RBI double tied the game for Tamarac (2-4, 6-7) and Brad Ryan hit a two-run home run and his twin brother Chris Ryan added a double and a single.
Jim Sheeran doubled and singled for Hoosic Valley (3-4, 4-4).

Jordan Zareski pitches for Lansingburgh in the Knights' victory over Cohoes on Wednesday. The Knights, who are 7-0 in the Colonial Council and 10-1 overall, are ranked No. 4 in the state.

Lansingburgh's Ryan McGrath runs the bases in Wednesday's victory over Cohoes. Read Chris Fitz Gerald's recap of the game by clicking here.

The Knights have been a fun story this year, as they feature an exciting mix of veterans (Zareski, Scott Fane, Jon Yetto, Frank Castiglione), newcomers (T.J. McLaughlin) and youngsters (McGrath and Mark Tracey among them).

We will have to wait and see what happens the rest of the way but this team has set itself up nicely for a run at the Colonial Council title under first year head coach Joe Henkel.

Troy senior shortstop Shannon Jones fires to first in a non-league game at Averill Park on Tuesday. The longtime center fielder is spending her first season in the infield.

Troy sophomore pitcher Liz Bellevile follows through during her complete game shutout victory over the Lady Warriors. After a victory over Taconic Hills on Thursday, the Flying Horses are off to an 8-2 start.

The Flying Horses have won three straight Big 10 regular season championships but the biggest pride games on their schedule every year come in the annual Uncle Sam Tournament, to be played this Saturday at Knickerbacker Park in North Troy. Troy has captured four consecutive Uncle Sam Tournament titles.

Troy, Catholic Central, Lansingburgh and Tamarac will again participate in the tenth annual competition.

It's a great event under the lights in Knickerbacker Park and all four teams have a legitimate shot at the title. Lansingburgh is tied with Mechanicville atop the Colonial Council standings and Catholic Central and Troy and knotted at 4-0 in the Big 10. Tamarac defeated a very good Schuylerville team before falling to Rensselaer County rival Hoosic Valley on Thursday afternoon.

Whatever happens, we're bound to see four quality non-league softball games with bragging rights in the Collar City on the line. Who do you think will win?

Which team will win the 2009 Uncle Sam Softball Tournament?
Catholic Central
Troy free polls

Opening round games begin at 4:45 p.m. and the championship and consolation games should start sometime between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 2.

A year ago, Catholic Central handed Lansingburgh its first loss of the season in the opening round but was blanked by the Flying Horses in the title game.

Troy High hosts Catholic Central in their first league meeting of the season on Monday, so it will be interesting to see what happens if they clash on Saturday.

Past Champions of the Uncle Sam Softball Tournament

Lansingburgh 9, Catholic Central 6

Lansingburgh 17, Hoosick Falls 2

Lansingburgh 3, Troy 1

Lansingburgh 9, Troy 0

Catholic Central 4, Troy 2

Troy 4, Lansingburgh 3

Troy 15, Lansingburgh 0

Troy 6, Catholic Central 2

Troy 6, Catholic Central 0

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