Friday, May 7, 2010

'Burgh is just warming up; Knights top Academy, 12-1

Lansingburgh High's bats came alive early as the Knights used six extra base hits to defeat Albany Academy 12-1 in Colonial Council action Friday afternoon in Albany.

Lansingburgh left fielder Ryan McGrath claps upon reaching third base after launching a first inning triple to center field in Friday's 12-1 victory at Albany Academy. McGrath finished the game with four runs scored. (All photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

It was a bat parade for the Knights Friday afternoon at Albany Academy.
Here's the blow-by-blow down the scorecard.

Frank Castiglone: single, triple, two runs, one RBI
Jarrod Nash: double, triple, two runs, two RBI
Ryan McGarth: triple, walk, two singles, four runs, two RBI
Jake Shaw: 4-for-4, two doubles, three RBI
Mark Tracey: RBI single in the fifth inning
Jake Luce: hit by a pitch
Bob Gould: RBI single in the third inning, closed out a perfect seventh inning on seven pitches.
Dom Cioffi: two runs, single, walk
Kynan Vandenburgh: single and run scored

Oh, and let's not forget T.J. McLaughlin on the mound, who used 77 pitches to hold the Cadets to one run on six hits and one walk through six innings.

The Knights are on fire and it couldn't have happened at a better time for the team, which holds a 10-1, 10-4 record. They host Ravena Monday before traveling to Rotterdam on Wednesday to take on Colonial Council leading Schalmont (10-0, 12-2).

"I think a lot of the kids are feeding off one another right now," said Lansingburgh head coach Joe Henkel. "I think they’re figuring out how to win ballgames. We’re getting some leadership with those guys. Plus, they’re hungry. I think they realize now they can win the league. A few weeks ago after the Schalmont loss, I think there was a lot of doubt over whether we could play with them."

FYI, should Lansingburgh and Schalmont finish the regular season with identical records, they would share the 2010 Colonial Council regular season title. A playoff game would not be played.

For the full story on how a new stretching routine has helped the Knights find their groove, be sure to check out Saturday's edition of The Record.

Lansingburgh senior pitcher T.J. McLaughlin throws a pitch during Friday's game. Always economical, McLaughlin breezed through six innings on 77 pitches, allowing one run on six hits and one walk.

The thing that most strikes me about this Lansingburgh team is how much fun they're having playing the game. Joe Henkle was clowning around down the third base line showing the signs, mocking how one of his assistants flashes the signs too quickly in practice.

Anytime I try to interview some of the players after the games, a few always congregate behind me, trying to get the player on the hot seat to lose it laughing.

I think part of this stems from Lansingburgh's shocking postseason exit against No. 8 seeded Mohonasen a season ago. The Knights have used that game as a lesson to take the season one game at a time.

"Mostly before every one of my starts he’ll (Henkel) bring up the Mohon game and talk about it and make sure I stay ahead in the count and I’m on my game," McLaughlin said.

It's also been a great season for high school baseball in Troy.

La Salle is tied for the lead in the Big 10 and Troy (7-3, 7-4) is also playing well. Catholic Central (6-5, 8-5) has been a very pleasant surprise and may even qualify for the postseason for the first time in a long time.

Lansingburgh (10-1, 10-4) just might be the hottest right now, although La Salle is also charging hard down the stretch.

No, that's not artificial turf. Lansingburgh's Frank Castiglione fields a ground ball on Albany Academy's all-grass infield Friday afternoon in a 12-1 victory. Castiglione added a triple and two runs scored at the plate.

It's also been a pretty good year for the baseball program at Lansingburgh, as the varsity team is the only one with a loss so far.

The JV Knights are 11-0 and the modified team, led by head coach Eric Kennedy, is 7-0.

Here is a short video from the game. I had some technical difficulties shooting interviews, so I apologize for the brief nature of the clip.

Click the image to see a full-size box score.

In other baseball news, Waterford-Halfmoon is hosting its annual Waterford Invitational Tournament on Saturday, although due to budget cuts, the traditional wood bat format has been scrapped. In case of rain Saturday (that's the forecast) the games will be played Sunday. Here is the schedule:
2010 Waterford Invitational Baseball Tournament
Game at Waterford Town Field
Heatly vs. Catholic Central, 10 a.m.
Games at Waterford High School
Waterford vs. Northville, 10 a.m.
Consolation game, 1 p.m.
Championship game, 4 p.m.

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