Monday, July 26, 2010

Faces in the Crowd; midsummer news and notes

Here is an extended look at the teams that will likely be featured in our Faces in the Crowd segment this Sunday in The Record.

Sorensco Falcons Senior Babe Ruth

The Sorensco Falcons won the Eastern New York Senior Babe Ruth Championship at the Halfmoon Town Park in late July. The Falcons lost their first game in the tournament, but rallied, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 65-12. The Falcons had to beat the winner's bracket champion NE South two times in a row to take the title.

Led by the pitching efforts of Matt Busdiecker and James Vooris, the Falcons gave up just two runs in the final two games. The state title was capped off by a walk-off, three-run home run by Justin Rebhun, which gave the Falcons a 12-1 mercy rule win in the championship game.

The Falcons finished the year with a record of 19-12 and a State Championship banner to hang at Sorensco Babe Ruth.

Team photo: Standing (L-R): Coach Brian Fredericks, Tim Murdick, Zach Vandenburg, Matt Busdiecker, James Vooris, Ben Tidd, John Stanley, Coach Rich Tidd, Mgr Dan Renaud.
Kneeling (L-R): Ryan Clarke, Dan Williams, Steve Casavant, Justin Rebhun, Dillon Bethoney, Jeff Williams.
Not Pictured: Nick Faxon, Zac Larson.

New York Outkast 18-and-under softball

The New York Outkast 18U softball team won the inaugural 18U Cooperstown Classic this weekend in incredible fashion, going undefeated on Sunday despite playing the entire tournament with just nine girls.

After going 1-2 on Saturday, the Outkast reeled off three straight back-to-back wins Sunday to make the championship game. They knocked off Saratoga Thunder B 9-1 to start the day, then defeated the CNY Wildcats 4-2 and the Pittsburgh Power 8-6. Both of those wins avenged losses to those teams the day before. The Outkast overcame a 6-3 deficit in the dramatic comeback against the Power.

Since the tournament was double elimination, the Outkast met Pittsburgh again in the final. The Outkast pounded out 11 hits and got quality pitching to win 8-2 and take the title. The team had 43 hits over the four wins on Sunday.

Tournament MVP: Outkast Pitcher/OF Nikki Colamaria (Saratoga Springs): Colamaria, a rising senior, pitched 19 innings over the course of three games Sunday after the Outkast's other pitcher, Emily Fleming, injured her hand. She went 3-0 on Sunday with a 2.95 ERA and received the MVP medal in the ceremony after the championship game. She also made a diving catch in right field against in the 8-6 win over Pittsburgh, and delivered seven hits at the plate this weekend.

The other members of the Outkast (in the order of where they hit in the lineup):

SS, Shana Cooper (Cohoes): Hit .286 (6-21) and drew seven walks over the seven games. Also made a catch running into foul territory Sunday against the Wildcats while running into a wooden wall, stirring up memories of the famous catch made by Derek Jeter diving into the stands against the Red Sox.

OF, Meghan Matan (HVCC/Shaker): Hit .444 (12-27), .643 (9-14) on Sunday. She finished a home run short of the cycle in the 4-2 win against the Wildcats. Had four doubles and one triple.

P/OF, Emily Fleming (Saratoga Springs): Was 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA on the mound before injuring her hand on a play at the plate. She had at least one hit in every game on Sunday, and made many plays in right field after the injury.

1B, Bridgette Plummer (Utica College/Schuylerville): Hit .520 (13-25) over the weekend, with three doubles and 12 RBI. Broke a 6-6 tie in the first game against Pittsburgh Sunday with a two-run single in the top of the sixth.

C, Meagan Fleming (Saratoga Springs): Hit .280 (7-25) and caught all seven games for the Outkast over the two days. Went 3-4 with an RBI in the title game. Her ability to throw out baserunners stealing was crucial in keeping opposing teams out of scoring position.

2B, Ally Koney (Shenendehowa): Hit .458 (11-24) with a double and a triple, including going 2-3 in the championship game. Started the four-run rally in the first game against the Power with a leadoff single.

3B, Kylie Benoit (Catholic Central): Hit .389 (7-18) with four runs scored and laid down two important sacrifice bunts. Fielded a tough play in the hole and fired to first for the final out of the championship game.

CF, Alex Staroba (Guilderland): Hit .333 (7-21) with four doubles and six RBI while making many tough plays in centerfield. Her two-run double in the championship game was the "dagger," as it gave the Outkast a five-run cushion against a tough team.

Almost every player fought an injury at one point or another this weekend, but they fought through it with no subs to bring home the title. The two Flemings and Benoit have been a part of the Outkast for four years, while Cooper, Koney and Staroba have been on the team for the past three.

Team photo: Top Row, from left: Ally Koney, Bridgette Plummer, Meghan Matan, Meagan Fleming
Bottom Row: from left: Kylie Benoit, Nikki Colamaria, Alex Staroba, Shana Cooper, Emily Fleming

Saratoga Sparks 14-and-under AAU basketball

The Saratoga Sparks 14-and-under basketball team took sixth place in the 2010 AAU Girls Basketball National Championship Tournament held July 6-10 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. The team is comprised of Section II freshmen players who finished their regular AAU season undefeated with 30 wins. At the National Tournament, the Sparks were 5-3 against a field of the 40 best teams in the United States. The Sparks advanced all the way to the Elite Eight round.

The Sparks had qualified for the Nationals by winning the East Coast Super Regional tournament in Windsor, Conn. They also became one of only two local girls AAU team to ever win the prestigious GymRat Challenge Tournament held earlier in the year at Siena College.

At the Nationals they beat teams from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and two from Pennsylvania. Outstanding players at the tournament were: Sydney Rosales and Madison Rowland, who scored a total of 87 and 83 points respectively; Madsion Rowland, who swiped 39 steals; Cassie Broadhead with 42 rebounds; and Ailaiya Demand, who scored a team high 25 assists and, whose two free throws with 0.8 seconds left gave the Sparks a one point victory.

The team is lead by head coach Anthony Mingione and assistant coach Serita Holland, who have put together this formidable team in only four short months. Most of the team members had not played together prior to the season.

Players on the team were: Kelsey Cowell of Mohanasen; Sidney Rosales and Jackie Welch of Colonie; Katherine Small of Holy Names; Madison Rowland of Shaker; Alyx Gleason, Brittany Lefebvre and Alyssia Marsal of Shenendehowa; Ailayia Demand and Lashana Tolliver of Watervliet; Sidney Hansen of Ballston Spa, and, Cassie Broadhead of Scotia.

The trip to the Nationals was made possible in large part by contributions by area residents and businesses. More information on the National Tournament can be found at and the Saratoga Sparks Girls AAU Basketball website is

Notes: It's an incredibly busy time of year, so here are a few hit-and-run topics.
  • Twin Town Little League is hosting the New York State 10-and-11-year-old Little League tournament from August 7-10. All games will be played at the Twin Town complex on Williams Road in North Greenbush. Time Warner Cable is in negotiations to broadcast the games on television.
  • The District 14 Little League tournament continues Monday night. A sectional championship game will be played Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in Chatham as the road to Williamsport continues.
  • Albany's Krank Park will play host to the Little League Softball Eastern Regional from July 31 to August 8. 11 state champions and a local host team will battle it out for a berth in the Little League Softball World Series, which is played in Portland, Ore.
  • Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School baseball coach Paul DeLuca writes to say that Spartans shortstop Bret Dennis, who has verbally committed to St. John's University, is playing for the Bayside Yankees in the CABA World Series in Charleston, S.C. this week.
  • The 10-and-under Spring Renegades baseball team is competing in a regional tournament this weekend in New Jersey with hopes of advancing to the World Series, which will be played in Puerto Rico. This team won the nine-and-under World Series last summer in Oklahoma.
  • The eight-and-under New York State Cal Ripken championship will be played Wednesday at Spring Youth Baseball in Troy.
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