Driscoll, Dodgers steal one from Albany, win UNYS Mantle title
SCHENECTADY -- Nolan Driscoll might not be the biggest speed demon on the South Troy Dodgers’ 16-and-under Mickey Mantle team, but his steal of home plate proved to be a momentum-shifting moment in Sunday’s Upper New York State championship game against the Albany Falcons.
Driscoll stood on third base after hitting an RBI double that tied the score in the fifth inning. Matt Sand, the next batter, reached first after being hit by a pitch. Sand broke for second base and Albany pitcher Kyle Rafferty fired the ball across the diamond, allowing Driscoll to scamper home with the go-ahead run.
Sand added a two-run insurance triple in the sixth inning and South Troy pitchers Peyton Houghtaling and Tim Burek combined to scatter three runs over seven inning as the Dodgers posted a 7-3 victory on Central Park’s ‘C’ Diamond.
South Troy clinched the Upper New York State title, but both the Dodgers and the Falcons will advance to the North Atlantic Mickey Mantle regionals in Waterbury, Conn. beginning Thursday.
Albany defeated the Halfmoon Mariners, 12-11, in a topsy-turvy semifinal earlier Sunday to clinch at least the No. 2 position in the Upper New York State Tournament, which granted an automatic berth to the regionals.
Driscoll, pictured above, a rising senior at Catholic Central High School, swiped one of seven South Troy stolen bases in the game, but his was no doubt the biggest of them all.
"I saw him (Rafferty) turn around and he didn’t look at me, so I figured I might as well break," said Driscoll. "So when he threw the ball…when Matty got picked off, it was almost a blessing in disguise. I kind of got lucky and scored and that was a momentum swing."
South Troy managed just six hits off the Albany pitching duo of Kyle Rafferty and Conner Hartigan, but the Dodgers drew seven walks and made the most of four Falcons fielding errors.
In an opening round game Thursday, Albany defeated South Troy, 8-6. The Dodgers fought their way back through the loser’s bracket and had to hold off a furious Albany rally in the seventh inning.
The Falcons stroked four straight singles off Burek to open the final frame, but with the bases loaded and one run in, Gabriel Smith ripped a line drive directly at Burke, who flipped to first baseman Dylan Collett for an easy double play.
"We had confidence in our pitching and in our defense, but Nolan came up big, for sure," said South Troy head coach Brian Theilemann. "He’s a leader and I knew that I had a good feeling that if he got us going, the rest of the team would follow."
It’s been another banner year for the South Troy program from the Connie Mack to the Sandy Koufax levels, thanks largely to the talent sitting in each dugout. Goal-setting is also part of the reason why this Mickey Mantle team is one strong weekend away from playing in the American Amateur Baseball Congress World Series in the in McKinney, Texas.
"We come into every season not to win a league title, but we come into a season with the expectations of going to the World Series," Theilemann said. "That’s what we do. We put together a team we think is capable of going to the World Series. I think this team is very capable."
Mickey Mantle cleanup hitter Matt Sand, pictured above, a rising junior at Christian Brothers Academy, is following in some big footsteps. His older brother, Chris Sand, guided the Dodgers’ Connie Mack team to a World Series appearance in 2009.
"My brother, he says it every day. ‘How bad do you want to get to Texas?’
"We’re working hard and that’s motivating us," continued Matt Sand. "And it’s going pretty well, so we want to keep it up."
"We knew we wanted to win a state title," said Driscoll. "We came here not only to win this title, but to win regionals and go to Texas. This is just one step. We didn’t just want to come in second and be like all the other teams. We wanted to show that we were the best in the state."
Click on this box score, and all the pictures in this post for that matter, to see a full-sized image.
The Dodgers certainly were not the only team in action Sunday. Here is your local roundup:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Once again, the Troy Renegades have proved themselves against some of the best teams in the nation.
Troy’s 15-and-under baseball team defeated the Tennessee Baseball Club in the championship game of the National Amateur Baseball Federation Classic, 6-3.
Joe Foran hit a solo home run – one of the three he hit in the tournament – and Greg Hotaling pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts for Troy in the championship game. Ryan McGrath added three doubles and Jason Gallacchi doubled and drove in two runs as the Renegades used a four-run third inning to pull away.
In a semifinal victory against Frederick Hustlers, Greg Ruddy delivered the game-winning RBI single to lift the Renegades to a 3-2 victory.
As 13-year-olds, this team won an American Amateur Baseball Congress World Series in Michigan.
The Renegades return to Troy this week and will compete in an AABC tournament to be played at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Robinson Field beginning Thursday.
17-and-under Connie Mack North Atlantic Regional
South Troy advances to World Series: The South Troy Dodgers defeat¬ed the East Greenbush DevilCats, 7-1, behind a complete game effort from Steve Basile to clinch a berth in the World Series in Albuquerque, N.M. starting July 26.
Mike Doyle paced the Dodgers on the mound in an earlier victory over the West Genesee Wildcats.
PONY 15U tournament
Waterford 5, Syracuse 3: Connor Johnson went 2-for-3 with three RBI and Mike Stanton added a double a single and one run drive in for Waterford in a victory over the Syracuse Red Storm.
Waterford will play in the championship game at 3 p.m. today at Kelts Field against the winner of a semifinal between Brunswick and Syracuse.
Sandy Koufax 14U North Atlantic Regional
South Troy Dodgers split, eliminated: The Dodgers won game one against the Brooklyn Youth Service, 12-8, but lost the championship game by the same score and were eliminated from the North Atlantic regionals played at the Boght Area Baseball Complex.
South Troy’s Mike Harrington went 4-for-5 with two doubles and seven RBI in game one. He added two doubles and two RBI in the second game.
Greg Kelley went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI in South Troy’s win. J.T. Sawyer was the winning pitcher, striking out four in seven innings.
In game two, Tom Carrigan went 1-for-3 with a triple and three RBI. South Troy finished the season 36-11.
Brooklyn Youth Service moves on to the Sandy Koufax World Series in Surprise, Ariz.
Cal Ripken 12U state tournament
Spring Scorpions 8, Beekman 6: Bryan Seabury went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI and Ryan Ruddy went 2-for-3 with one RBI, leading Spring to an undefeated record in Pool play.
Justin Luther went 3-for-4 with two RBI.
Winning pitcher Mel Swartz struck out four on the mound.
Spring plays Clifton Park today and the winner advances to the state title game. The winner of that game advances to the Mid-Atlantic regional in Queensbury.
Spring won the state tournament last year.
District 14 11-and-12-year old ‘A’ Round Robin
Watervliet 9, Lansingburgh 1: Winning pitcher Jimmy O’Neill hit a two-run home run and Beth Jones added a three-run hone run for Watervliet in a victory over Lansingburgh.
Danny Burns added a double and two singles, while Zach Dragon chipped in with a double. Joe Stanley hit two singles for Watervliet.
For Lansingburgh, Ryan Savoy and Joe Vandenburgh hit one single apiece. Sean Mannis led the way with two singles.
District 14 11-and-12-year old ‘B’ Round Robin
Watervliet Gray 9, Watervliet Garnet 8: Jeremy Billetts was the winning pitcher and scored the game-winning run for Watervliet Gray in a win over the Watervliet Garnet squad.
Cody McOmber hit three singles, while A.J. Edge, Evan Tambolleo and Jared Ellis and Joe Piccolo all added singles for Watervliet Gray.
For Watervliet Garnet, Brendan Treadwell hit three singles, while Anthony Houck, Mike Falzo, Mike Yetto, Colin Daignault and David Quell hit one single apiece.
District 14 9-and-10-year-old ‘A’ Round Robin
Twin Town 12, Watervliet 1: Kevin Kelly went 2-for-2 with a single and a triple and Jack Wendell went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI for Twin Town.
Armin Poole paced Watervliet with a single.
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