Gotta go to Mo: Scotty Mo keeps the Royals alive in UNYS Connie Mack tourney
SCHENECTADY -- Scott Morrissey will be the first to admit that when it comes to pitching, he’s no expert.
But by mixing speeds, changing locations and pounding first pitch strikes, the Lansingburgh Royals’ crafty southpaw kept his Connie Mack team in the mix for another day.
In an elimination game against the South Colonie Raiders, Morrissey, who had pitched just six innings in relief 2010, college and summer ball included, spun a four-hitter, striking out nine in a 2-1 victory for the Royals at Central Park’s ‘C’ Diamond.
"I just get out there and throw it as hard as I can," Morrissey said. "I really don’t know what I’m doing as a pitcher. But with wood bats you have to put a good swing on the ball to get a hit. Most kids are going to get themselves out. You throw strikes and eliminate walks and that’s half the battle right there."
Today, Lansingburgh will face undefeated Clifton Park in the championship round of the Upper New York State Connie Mack Tournament, which begins at 3 p.m. on Central Park’s ‘B’ Diamond. Should Clifton Park win that game, the Yankees claim the championship. If Lansingburgh wins, a winners-take-all game will be played at 5:30.
Clifton Park 6, Lansingburgh 2
East Greenbush 9, Halfmoon 7 (nine innings)
Lansingburgh 2, Colonie 1
‘B’ Diamond, Central Park Schenectady
Game two (if necessary), 5:30 p.m.
Morrissey walked one – he did also hit Colonie’s Nick Valletta, the first batter in the first inning, with a pitch – and threw first pitch strikes to 17 of the 27 batters he faced. From the second inning through the sixth, he allowed just two baserunners, one on an error and the other on the walk, both of which occurred in the third.
"The biggest thing you preach it all year long is first pitch strikes," said Lansingburgh head coach Ernie Ryan. "You get ahead of the hitter, like he did the whole game, and you’re in control. Behind, and they’re in control.
"The kid has guts," continued Ryan. "He’s pitched six innings all year long. When you get in a tournament and you play four games in two days, you use whaterver arms you got. He’s a great kid. You can’t ask for any more than what he gave you."
Colonie threatened in the first inning, as Jake Mullen scored on a passed ball and Chris Kalica and Justin Harris followed with back-to-back singles, putting runners on the corners with one out. Harris broke for second and the Royals chased him in a pickle until Kalica took off for home.
Lansingburgh shortstop Dan Bergami gunned him down at the plate and Morrissey struck out Colonie’s Christian Fitzgerald to end the inning.
"In that situation, we were trying to get a run across and they didn’t buckle," said Colonie head coach Ed Kelly, who was standing in the third base coach’s box at the time. "They were prepared for it and we weren’t able to get the run across. Who knows? It was a run we needed at the time."
In the top of the second inning, Lansingburgh’s Zach Gardner walked and Mark Tracey, the next batter, was hit by a pitch. Zach Carle delivered an RBI single and Morrissey drove in Tracey, the go-ahead run, on a sacrifice fly.
A Lansingburgh native and a graduate of La Salle Institute, Morrissey played 60% of the games in center field for Clarkson University this spring, but did not throw a single pitch. A long-time member of the South Troy Dodgers organization, Morrissey (pictured below) came back to the Royals for the flexible schedule that allows him to work for his home-improvement business in his spare time.
"I got a lot of playing time as a freshman," he said. "I could have played South Troy. I played with them for four years and they know what they’re doing over there. They run a good organization and they put kids in college. But that’s not what I was looking for this summer. I was already settled into school and everything. With work and the jobs I do and everything, the Royals were a better fit for me."
Colonie head coach Ed Kelly was proud of the effort Eric Birdsall put forth on the mound in his return from a month-long injury respite. Birdsall also went the distance, allowing just one earned run on 97 pitches.
Colonie's Nick Valletta and Chris Kalica will be representing the Adirondack region in the upcoming Empire State Games. Kalica will also be suiting up soon for the Bayside Yankees, who picked him up after seeing him play in last week's Connie Mack World Series qualifier, hosted by the South Troy Dodgers.
"That’s my goal, obviously, to help kids," Kelly said. "Whether it be college or to further their careers. To be quite honest with you, I'm just a pit stop. I just try to make them better."
One of the interesting parts about watching the Upper New York State Tournament is seeing which teams added which players after the regular season. Players whose teams did not qualify for the postseason are eligible to be drafted by the teams still alive.
Clifton Park snagged former Guilderland High star Luke Stark with the first pick. He threw five quality innings against the Royals to lead the Yankees to a 6-2 win.
Lansingburgh, however, could not grab arms, having more pressing needs. Catcher Dave Russo is battling an injured ankle and can only play left field. The Royals also needed a shortstop, so they picked up Dan Bergami to play short and D.J. Lyons to handle the catching duties.
Former Cambridge High stars Zak Hunt and Zach Carle will take to the hill for the Royals today against Clifton Park, which had defeated Lansingburgh 6-2 in earlier action Friday.
One scary note for Royals fans: Ernie Ryan claims that he's been jinxed by Clifton Park, the regular season league champions.
"I can't remember ever beating them," he said.
Still, the Royals never know what kind of performance they'll get on the mound. Morrissey's gem Friday night was proof of that.
"I’ve never been a starter since Little League," said Morrissey. "We didn’t have anybody to throw and I told him (Ryan) I wanted the ball. I just got out there and tried to get ahead of everybody and throw strikes.
"I just got lucky, I guess," he laughed.
For full-size box scores, click on the images above.
Here is the Connie Mack bracket after two full days of action:
Here is your schedule for the Upper New York State Mickey Mantle tournament, which continues Saturday in Schenectady's Central Park at 9 a.m.:
A Diamond: Colonie Raiders (2-0) vs Halfmoon Mariners (3-0)
B Diamond: Albany Falcons (2-1) vs Brockville Bunnies (1-1)
C Diamond: So Troy Dodgers (2-1) vs Adirondack A's (1-1)
The updated Mickey Mantle bracket has been pasted below for those of you keeping score at home:
Aaand the rest of Friday's local roundup:
LATHAM - The South Troy Dodgers Sandy Koufax team won two games to advance to the North Atlantic Regionals winner’s bracket.
The Dodgers beat the Centerville Owls, 4-3, and the Western Mass., Cubs, 6-3, Friday.
Mike Harrington pitched six strong inning to lead the Dodgers past the Owls. Tyler Childrose struck out three in one inning of relief to earn the save.
Tom Carrigan hit a two-run double for the Dodgers.
Mike Manning’s two-run triple helped the Dodgers beat the Cubs.
Sandy Koufax-13-year-old Upper New York State Tournament
Royals eliminated: The Lansingburgh Royals 13-and-under Sandy Koufax baseball team entered Friday’s Upper New York State Tournament with high hopes, but those will have to be put on hold for another week.
The Burnt Hills Bobcats defeated the Royals 6-2 in an early afternoon contest before the Capital District Cyclones eliminated the Royals with a 9-1 mercy-rule victory at Chapko-Lewis Stadium.
Luke Fane went 3-for-6 with one run scored and one stolen base for the Royals in the two games. Jarred Jarosz was 3-for-5 at the plate, with a double and two steals to his credit.
The Royals plan to play in the Empire Tournament beginning Wednesday.
NABS 15 & Under World Series
Troy Renegades 8, Cleveland Express 5: The Renegades had only five hits but bunched them well to score five times in the fifth inning after the Express had taken a 5-3 lead with three in the top of the inning.
The victory evened Troy’s pool-play record at 1-1 in the event at suburban Nashvillle.
They’ll face Whitesville, Tenn.
A pair of walks got the Renegades started in the fifth inning on Friday, then winning pitcher Jason Gallacchi drilled an RBI-double.
Greg Hotaling had a two-run single in the inning and Brian McGrath tripled home a run and scored.
Chuck Parslow pitched two scoreless innings of relief for Troy to each a save.
The Renegades had dropped a 5-2 decision to the Worth Bulldogs of Nashville on Thursday. Joe Foran hit a two-run homer for Troy in that game.
District 14 11-year-old ‘A’
Twin Town 12, East Greenbush 2: Christian Testo went 4-for-4 with a home run, a dou¬ble, four runs scored and five RBI as Twin Town pushed its series lead to 3-0. Game Four will be played Monday at 6 p.m. at East Greenbush. Game Five, if necessary, will be played Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Twin Town.
Dylan Jones went 2-for-4, driving in three runs for Twin Town. Tyler Ranken went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored for winning pitcher James Rubino, who allowed three hits over three and two thirds innings pitched.
District 14 9-and-10 ‘A’ round robin
Twin Town 10, Cohoes 6: Dylan McNamara and Zach Price both doubled and scored runs for Twin Town in a victory over Cohoes.
Jake Woodard doubled and scored a run for Cohoes, while his teammate, Dan Buchanan, added a double, a single and a run.
District 14 minors, 9-and-10-year old ‘B’
Twin Town Blue 14, Lansingburgh 10: Trevor Collins doubled and drove in two runs and John Giannone tripled and drove in a run for win¬ning pitcher Matt Romano and the Twin Town Blue team.
For Lansingburgh, Ray Evans tripled and singled and Ethan Sopko hit a double.
Rensselaer 17, Cohoes 7: Hank Billetts dou¬bled twice, added a single and drove in seven runs for Rensselaer, backing winning pitcher Stephen Sousis.
Brandon Kramer hit a pair of doubles for Rensselaer.
For Cohoes, Shania Brammer hit a double and drove in two runs.
East Greenbush-Castleton 8, Twin Town Red 0: Zach Schott ( four innings pitched) and Griffin Breen (two innings) combined to shut out Twin Town Red in a victory for East Greenbush-Castleton.
Nick Butler went 2-for-3, Schott added a double and two RBI and Tyler Hanrahan went 1-for-1 with a walk, a run scored and a run driven in.
Cal Ripken 12-and-under State Tournament
Spring Scorpions 7, Queensbury 6: Trailing by five runs in the sixth inning, the Spring Scorpions mounted a tremendous come-from-behind victory over Queensbury in the 12-and-under New York State Cal Ripken Tournament in Wilton.
Kyle Houser delivered the two-run go-ahead single in his second at-bat in the inning.
Bryan Seabury pitched the entire game, striking out four, and he added a solo home run at the plate for Spring.
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