Wednesday, May 20, 2009

High School baseball 2009 postseason preview

With the Section II seeding meeting coming up next Wednesday, let's take a look at who the favorites will be in each of the five classifications. Feel free to sound off in the comments and tell me who I missed.

Class AA
1. Columbia
The Blue Devils have a great mix of experience, power, team defense and most importantly, pitching. With a week to rest up, Columbia has the best chance to win the title if their arms (Gaige, Gaule and Ryan Lucas) can come up sharp in a postseason game.
2. Any of the Big 10 teams
Albany, La Salle, Christian Brothers Academy, Amsterdam, Troy and Schenectady have all proven that they can hang tough with one another and any of them should be a tough out for a Suburban Council team.
La Salle has a lot of experience and a power-packed lineup and Albany's Mike Hughes is simply unhittable when he has it going on.
(We will find out Friday who wins the league title. CBA plays host to Troy and Albany hosts Amsterdam. Should CBA and Albany both win, they would be tied for first at 12-4. Should they both lose, it's a four-way tie with La Salle and Amsterdam at 11-5.)
3. Shenendehowa
The Plainsmen on the other hand, do not have a lot of experience but found a way to win the Suburban Council North Division. Bryan Marotta and Tyler Dehmer, batterymates, have done a great job keeping Shenendehowa in contention for yet another season.
4. Shaker
The Blue Bison got off to a great start to the season and have lost some steam in recent weeks but pitchers Brian Cary and Derek Gardella could be dominant in a postseason setting.
5. Queensbury
The Spartans ran away in the Foothills Council this season, but they'll be hard-pressed to hang with any of the teams from the immediate Capital Region.

Class A Class A is always one of the hardest to predict because there are only 11 such teams in the whole section and they rarely cross paths during the regular season. Eight teams will fill out the bracket, although it looks like only four teams finished with .500 or better records during the regular season.
1. Lansingburgh

The Knights were the class of the Colonial Council in 2009 and with pitchers Jordan Zareski and T.J. McLaughlin leading the way, Lansingburgh is on track to play a game at home at Joe Bruno Stadium.
It's been a magical season for first-year head coach Joe Henkel, who took over for Lansingburgh legend Dave Bestle, who hopped over to Tamarac to coach his son Kyle.
Henkel has instituted a happy-go-lucky attitude that has kept the team loose throughout all the ups and downs of the season, which have been mostly ups so far.
2. Schalmont
Sabres were the next-best team in the Colonial this year and they have the lineup and the pitching to be competitive.
I only saw them play once ( a 7-1 loss at Lansingburgh) but I know they have the resume to be a contender.
3. Ichabod Crane
I know the Patroon is a strong baseball league and the Riders have had success in the past, but they'll have to play against other Class A teams which compete against bigger schools all the time rather than smaller schools. This team has a lot to prove against opponents its own size.
4. Glens Falls
The Indians were near the top of the Foothills Council this year and could be a darkhorse favorite.

Class B
1. Granville
The Golden Horde, aside from a loss to Cambridge, have been unstoppable this year.
They ran into eventual state runner-up Chatham in last year's Section II playoffs and that could likely be a title game matchup yet again.
2. Chatham
Should the Panthers run into Granville, it would be one of the most anticipated games this season (they are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the state, respectively).
Brian Gauthier shut down Ichabod Crane in a Patroon Conference game recently, so we know he can go toe-to-toe with the big dogs.
3. Saratoga Central Catholic
Another team with a very good record that falls outside our coverage area, so I can't offer too much insight into their club.
Feel free, however, to check out this article on the Saints' aces written by Nate Rider at The Saratogian.
4. Watervliet
The Cannoneers have all the tools to be a great team and they've shown it in flashes this season.
Caleb Gleason can give Watervliet a great start on the mound, mixing power and deception, and anchors a solid lineup.
Tom Ebenhoch provides a dangerous left-handed bat and always seems to pitch well in relief, so keep the Cannoneers on your postseason radar.

Class CC
1. Maple Hill
They have plenty of talented players (Jaime Schultz and Nick Papas among them) and that should make them the favorites in this tournament. Having to play four games against Ichabod and Chatham should have toughened them up, too.
2. Cambridge
The Indians solved Granville, so they must be on to something, although they also lost twice to Hoosic Valley.
3. Lake George
The Warriors posted a decent record in Adirondack League action but will get a dose of reality in the playoffs.
4. Hoosic Valley
If you want an us-against-the-world team, this is it. A lot of seniors out of 11 players and a team on a hot streak, look out if Chad Houle has the heater working.

Class C
1. Fort Plain
They're on the other side of the world from Rensselaer County, but I'm aware of the history and the tradition in Fort Plain, so they, of course, look like the favorites.
2. Greenwich
Neil Fryer can deal, as many Wasaren League teams found out this season. And with a hard-throwing pitcher in a win-or-go-home scenario, the outlook is positive for the Witches.
3. Waterford-Halfmoon
The Fordians smashed their way to another CHVL title this year but they might have a tough time against schools with experience against bigger and better competition than the Class D schools on Waterford's regular season schedule.
4. Duanesburg
The Eagles are ranked No. 13 in the latest state poll, so that must mean something.

Class D
1. Fort Ann
The Cardinals are the only ranked team from Section II and had a solid year in the Adirondack League.
2. Loudonville Christian
At last report, the Eagles were 10-3 overall, so they should put up a good fight in the Section II tournament.

--
Here are the latest state polls and I'll put up a softball version of this in the coming days.
Baseball
2009 NYSSWA rankings (through May 17)
Rank Class AA Record Prev
===== ==================== ===== =====
1. Vestal-4 18-1 1.
2. MacArthur-8 17-1-2 3.
3. Arlington-1 15-2 5.
4. Smithtown West-11 17-2 15.
5. Webster Thomas-5 15-3 2.
6. Kingston-9 17-3 9.
7. Auburn-3 15-3 14.
8. Suffern-1 12-3 18.
9. Columbia-2 13-3 8.
10. Connetquot-11 18-4 16.
11. Mamaroneck-1 13-4-1 10.
12. Liverpool-3 15-4 4.
13. Ithaca-4 14-4 17.
14. Frontier-6 12-4 11.
15. Newburgh Free Academy-9 14-4 13.
16. Hilton-5 14-4 NR
17. Clarence-6 12-4 NR
18. Commack-11 18-4 NR
19. East Meadow-8 16-5 NR
20. Shenendehowa-2 14-6 20.









Class A Record
===== ==================== ===== =====
1. Lakeland-1 14-1 1.
2. Pittsford Sutherland-5 17-2 3.
3. Maine-Endwell-4 14-3 2.
4. Lansingburgh-2 18-2 4.
5. Clarke-8 15-2-1 5.
6. Hauppauge-11 19-3 7.
7. Albion-6 16-1 9.
8. Cornwall-9 15-3 8.
9. John Glenn-11 20-1 11.
10. Island Trees-8 14-4-2 13.
11. Syracuse CBA-3 12-4 NR
12. Victor-5 15-5 NR
13. Red Hook-9 13-3 12.
14. Hendrick Hudson-1 11-5 14.
15. Grand Island-6 12-5 NR
16. Iroquois-6 13-5 17.
17. Miller Place-11 16-4 18.
18. Camden-3 12-3 NR
19. Malone-10 8-4 NR
20. Burnt Hills-2 8-13 NR









Class B Record
===== ==================== ===== =====
1. Somers JFK-1 15-1 1.
2. Chatham-2 21-1 3.
3. Granville-2 17-1 2.
4. Windsor-4 17-1 5.
5. Cold Spring Harbor-8 17-2 4.
6. Dunkirk-6 18-3 8.
7. Wayland-Cohocton-5 13-3 12.
8. Westhill-3 15-2 17.
9. Ogdensburg-10 9-1 6.
10. Plattsburgh-7 9-1 19.
11. Southampton-11 15-6 10.
12. Nanuet-1 13-2-1 11.
13. East Aurora-6 15-2 16.
14. Bath-5 12-2 NR
15. Beekmantown-7 10-2 9.
16. Holland Patent-3 14-5 14.
17. Pine Plains9 12-4 13.
18. Dobbs Ferry-1 13-1 NR
19. Dryden-4 14-4 NR
20. Southold/Greenport-11 15-6 NR









Class C Record
===== ==================== ===== =====
1. Keio-1 12-1 1.
2. Ticonderoga-7 11-0 3.
3. Oakfield-Alabama-5 16-2 5.
4. Fort Plain-2 17-2 6.
5. Little Falls-3 15-2 2.
6. Brushton-Moira-10 9-1 9.
7. Elmira Heights Edison-4 17-2 4.
8. Candor-4 14-2 7.
9. Canisteo-Greenwood-5 13-1 11.
10. Tuxedo-9 12-2 14.
11. Frewsburg-6 14-4 8.
12. Frankfort-Schuyler-3 16-4 10.
13. Duanesburg-2 15-5 NR
14. Newfield-4 16-3 16.
15. Pierson/Bridgehampton-11 13-8 17.
16. Blind Brook-1 9-4 13.
17. Norwood-Norfolk-10 9-5 NR
18. Cattaraugus-Little Valley-6 13-5 15.
19. Oyster Bay-8 10-9 18.
20. Port Jefferson-11 10-11 19.









Class D Record
===== ==================== ===== =====
1. Bolivar-Richburg-5 14-1 1.
2. Schroon Lake-7 11-0 5.
3. South Kortright-4 12-0 9.
4. Harrisville-10 13-2 4.
5. Fort Ann-2 12-2 6.
6. Indian Lake/Long Lake-7 9-0 7.
7. Hamilton-3 14-3 3.
8. S.S. Seward-9 15-5 10.
9. Jefferson-4 12-1 NR
10. Chateaugay-10 9-1 11.
11. Arkport-5 11-1 14.
12. North Collins-6 11-3 8.
13. Hancock-4 13-4 NR
14. Pine Valley-6 13-4 15.
15. Afton-4 11-5 2.
16. New York Mills-3 15-5 13.
17. Geneva DeSales-5 15-5 NR
18. Clifton-Fine-10 9-2 NR
19. West Valley-6 11-4 NR
20. Smithtown Christian-11 6-13 NR

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