Friday, May 8, 2009

Air Jordan - Zareski gets 11 Schalmont hitters whiffing in Colonial victory

Lansingburgh High School senior pitcher Jordan Zareski struck out seven of the first eight batters he faced, en route to an 11 strikeout performance in a 7-1 victory for the Knights Friday afternoon at Lansingburgh High School. (All photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

The Knights scored four runs for him in the bottom of the first inning, which was all the run support he would need.

"I love having runs to come out to," Zareski said. "Any time a pitcher can get runs, it boosts his confidence so much to throw his stuff and throw the pitches that he knows he can get over and get guys out with. And I love Frank (Castiglione) in that top spot, it really helps."

Frank Castiglione went 4-for-4 - falling a home run shy of hitting for the cycle at Lansingburgh's quirky, fenceless home field - and Lansingburgh head coach Joe Henkel said it was perhaps one of the best performances at the plate he'd seen this year.

"Jordan was just mowing people down and he really helped our defense because he kept us on our toes the whole game," Castiglione said. "And he wasn’t throwing balls. None of our pitchers were throwing balls (Friday) and that helps our defense, which eventually brought our bats through."

Lansingburgh shortstop Scott Fane catches a pop-up during Friday's win. The Knights' magic number is now down to three, meaning any combination of Lansingburgh wins or Schalmont losses totaling three will clinch the 2009 Colonial Council title for Lansingburgh.

Dave Bestle, who is now coaching the Tamarac High varsity team, guided Lansingburgh to five Colonial Council titles during the previous 15 seasons he spent in North Troy.

Schalmont shortstop Kyle McKelvey (right) makes a throw to first base behind Lansingburgh baserunner Mark Tracey (21) during the third inning of Friday's game. McKelvey threw Jake Luce out at first and Tracey was stuck on second.

The Knights have done a great job this year (10-1 in league, 14-2 overall) thanks to a group of underclassmen. Freshman Ryan McGrath doubled twice, driving in three runs, and was robbed of a base hit when Schalmont pitcher Nick Hughes made a great stab on a hard-hit line drive right up the middle in the second inning.

Catcher Jon Yetto also called a great game behind the plate and Henkel lauded him for the defense, which he says has saved the Knights many a run this season. He's also very studious after games, taking notes on which hitters were most dangerous during the game, trying to figure out why.

"(Yetto) comes out and he calls every single play in the field," Henkel said. "He has probably improved about 150% from last year and he's probably the premier catcher defensively in the league."

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