Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dirty Dozen at Waterford and CCHS

Call the Catholic Central and Waterford-Halfmoon baseball teams the 'Dirty Dozen,' because these are teams on a mission. And, of course, they've both got just 12 players on the rosters.

Catholic Central High School sophomore Mike Sunkes throws a pitch during Saturday's game against Waterford-Halfmoon. Rain washed out the game with the Crusaders leading 6-0 in the third inning. Sunkes, a Waterford native, was pitching against his former Little League teammates. (Photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

Catholic Central High School head coach Don Glennan joked that he calls his team the Dirty Dozen after Saturday's game was rained out because the 12 players on his lineup card everyday aren't afraid to do whatever it takes to win baseball games.

Waterford-Halfmoon head coach Mike Robbins, who took over for longtime Fordians leader Bob Jesmain this spring, also has just 12 players on his roster.

"We have guys that play everywhere and guys that play multiple positions," said Robbins, who played his high school ball at Catholic Central. "We have five or six pitchers that are gutting it out on the mound who aren’t typically pitchers."

On one hand, coaches do not want to leave their pitchers in too far beyond the mythic 100-pitch mark for health and safety reasons. On the other hand, schedules call for teams to play four or five games per week, which lengthens the leash for pitchers, no matter the score.

"Yeah, it’s a challenge sometimes when your starter doesn’t go all the way," said Catholic Central sophomore Mike Sunkes, a Waterford native who pitched against his former Little League teammates prior to the rain washed out the title game of the sixth annual Waterford Invitational Tournament Saturday afternoon.

"You have some problems trying to fill in because you have guys pitching the next day and you’re trying to save their arms," Sunkes continued. "You have to get people that don’t normally pitch all the time to come in and pitch. We’ve done it and it’s worked out so far."

"It’s tough because people have to step up in big spots and everyone has to pitch in when they can and people have to come up with the big hits," Lennon said. "It’s tough for us."

Waterford-Halfmoon shortstop Zac Lennon catches a ball from catcher David Fletcher as Catholic Central's Bryce McMahon steals second base during the second inning of Saturday's game at Waterford High School. CCHS led 6-0 in the third inning, but the game was called due to the heavy rain that hit the area in spurts all day Saturday.

Try as they might, the Waterford ground crew just wasn't going to make the field playable after a rain delay in the third inning of Saturday's championship game.

Catholic Central's Matt Miller ripped a long fly ball to dead center in the second inning, as did Rory Sweeney, but Waterford's Dylan Gardner made warning track catches to rob both of them of home runs.

Mike Sunkes, Bryce McMahon and Brett Fenton hit RBI singles in the second inning, which was capped by a Nolan Driscoll RBI triple down the right field line.

Northville High and Heatly were also supposed to participate in the tournament, but did not appear Saturday. Northville's program dissolved Thursday as another small school team just didn't have the players necessary to finish out the season. Heatly declined an invitation to play Waterford at 1 p.m.

It's going to be a big week for Troy-area high school baseball.

Catholic Central needs two more wins to qualify for the postseason and five Big 10 games left to play. The Crusaders play three games in three days starting Wednesday. CCHS' game against Troy High, originally scheduled for Monday, has been moved to Thursday to accommodate CCHS' awards dinner on Monday.

Staying in the Big 10, La Salle and CBA will square off Thursday night under the lights at Joe Bruno Stadium. The winner likely takes home the Big 10 Conference title.

Wednesday, Lansingburgh travels to Schalmont for an important Colonial Council game. Right now, the Knights trail the Sabres by one game in the standings.

Out in the country, Columbia travels to Averill Park on Tuesday as the Blue Devils continue their quest for a playoff berth.

Greenwich travels to Hoosick Falls for an important Wasaren League game Thursday afternoon.

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