Saturday, July 10, 2010

Raiders top College Select; Connie Mack World Series Qualifier: Day Three

Rain altered Saturday's schedule in the Connie Mack World Series Qualifier, but the South Colonie Raiders kept their hopes alive by defeating College Select, 6-3. The Raiders, however, failed to qualify for the double elimination portion of the tournament.

For Saturday's scoreboard and Sunday's schedule, scroll down.

South Colonie center fielder Nick Valletta throws to third base during the first inning of Saturday's game against College Select....

And Valletta caught College Select's Jake Deacon at third base for the final out of the inning. South Colonie's Brady Talbot, a Tamarac High product, applies the tag.

South Colonie starting pitcher Anthony LaValley throws a pitch during Saturday's game. He and Jake Mullen pitched three innings apiece (Mullen earned the win) to pitch the Raiders to victory. (All photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Third base coaches have a language of their own when it comes to relaying signs to batters and baserunners, tapping their faces, chest, arms and legs in complicated patterns.

Sometimes, Ed Kelly, head coach of the South Colonie Raiders Connie Mack team, likes to keep it simple. He sticks out his meaty index fingers, points to the corners of his mouth and gives a big goofy grin.


That message worked for Justin Harris, who on the first pitch after seeing the sign, smacked an RBI double down the left field line in the fifth inning of Saturday’s Connie Mack World Series qualifier game against College Select, breaking a tie and putting the Raiders ahead for good.

"I had a talk with him. He was out in front of the pitches early on," Kelly said. "I had to settle him down. I said you’re alright. Settle down. Smile. Let the game come to you. Don’t try to press so much."

Colonie won the game, 6-3, at South Colonie High School, but it wasn’t enough for the Raiders to advance to the double elimination portion of the tournament. Team N.Y. Scout won Pool D, leaving the South Troy Dodgers, a wildcard selection from Pool B as the lone local team remaining. Today, the Dodgers play host to the Florida Legends, three-time defending champions of the tournament, at 10 a.m. at Geer Field.

South Colonie starter Anthony LaValley was lifted after three innings having allowed just one earned run on seven hits. Jake Mullen provided three innings of relief, earning the win. Jaime June used 15 pitches in the seventh inning to pick up the save.

"I thought that, with having so many games in a couple of days, you have to go to anyone that can really throw," Mullen said. "I thought I might get in today, I got the call and I try to keep it as close as I can. If we’re in the lead, I just want to maintain it."

Second baseman Chris Kalica led the way with two hits for the Raiders, adding a double and a stolen base. He and Chris Kearney pitched South Colonie to victories over the Jack Cust Diamondjacks and the Long Island Tigers on Friday.

Although the game featured six errors – three on both sides – Harris made the play of the day behind the plate in the bottom of the fifth.

With the bases loaded and one out, Mullen threw a pitch that bounced in the dirt in front of Harris. He reached out with his bare hand to grab it, but it skipped to the backstop, where it ricocheted off a post right back to Harris. He looked to flip the ball to Mullen, but the pitcher was not close enough to the plate, so Harris dove and tagged Matt Mastroianni out in the nick of time.

"To catch the ball and have the wherewithal to know that the pitcher was late in covering and take a dive at the plate, it’s just a great, heads-up play in my opinion," Kelly said. "I don’t know how many catchers would make that play."

The Upper New York State Connie Mack Tournament begins Wednesday in Schenectady’s Central Park and the Raiders are hoping their experience in the World Series Qualifier has prepared them for the Empire State’s finest.

"We want to kind of use this as a template to compare yourself with where you are with all the big teams," Mullen said. "And kind of use these games as momentum for the states and do very well there."

Jake Mullen (above) and Justin Harris (below) played well for the Raiders Saturday and will lead the team into the Upper New York State Connie Mack Tournament beginning Wednesday in Schenectady.

Saturday's Connie Mack World Series Qualifier Tournament Scoreboard
Pool A (At St. Rose’s Bob Bellizzi Field, Albany)
Kalamazoo Maroons vs. World Yacht Clippers - forfeited
South Troy Dodgers 17s vs. Florida Legends - forfeited

Pool B (At Geer Field, Troy)
Cincy Flames 2, Devilcats baseball (East Greenbush) 0
South Troy Dodgers vs. Team N.Y. Nationals - forfeited

Pool C (At Clifton Common, Clifton Park)
Frozen Ropes Titans 4, Richmond County Baseball Club 3
Upstate Vipers vs. Clifton Park Yankees, Noon - forfeited

Pool D (At South Colonie High School)
South Colonie Raiders 6, College Select 3
Team N.Y. Scout 4, Jack Cust Diamondjacks 3

Sunday's double elimination round schedule
First round games at 10 a.m.
Frozen Ropes Titans vs. Cincy Flames at the College of Saint Rose's Bob Bellizzi Field, Albany
Florida Legends vs. South Troy Dodgers at Geer Field, Troy
Team N.Y. Scout vs. Richmond County Baseball Club at South Colonie High School, Colonie

Note: Second round games to be determined based on first round results

We also have a Sunday Profile on former South Troy Dodgers player Greg Holle in Sunday's edition. Holle was recently signed by the Milwaukee Brewers and will learn his minor league fate sometime next week.

To read the profile, click here.

We're also featuring the CCHS modified baseball team, Joe Mahoney and Jimmer Fredette in our weekly Faces in the Crowd section. To see those faces, click here. If you have news you'd like to see in this feature, please send it to sports (AT) troyrecord (DOT) com.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The South Troy Dodgers, The City of Troy, and AABC Baseball were embarrassed by the umpiring today at Greer Field. The gentleman behind the plate was an absolute embarrassment. South Troy knows it, all in attendaence know it, yet it is condoned; why? These boys have worked too hard and this tourney means too much to allow this level of incompetence. It is an embarrassing disgrace to the City of Troy and if the South Troy organization or AABC do not do anything about it, they too join in the embarrassment of condoning such incompetence

July 11, 2010 at 5:35 PM 
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