Saturday, July 17, 2010

A perfect storm: Clifton Park outlast Royals, rain delay, to win UNYS Connie Mack title

The Clifton Park Yankees didn't lose a game in the Upper New York State Connie Mack Tournament this past week, clinching a berth to the North Atlantic Regionals with an 8-2 victory over the Lansingburgh Royals.

Lansingburgh Royals starting pitcher Zak Hunt throws a pitch against Clifton Park Saturday afternoon in Schenectady's Central Park. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

SCHENECTADY -- The Clifton Park Yankees didn’t storm the field and pile on top of each other once the game was over, but that didn’t mean they weren’t glad to have won the 2010 Upper New York State Connie Mack baseball tournament Saturday afternoon over the Lansingburgh Royals.

"The rain kind of ruined our excitement toward the end of the game," said Clifton Park rightfielder and leadoff hitter Dave Wixted. "We’re still happy about it, obviously."

Wixted (pictured above) smacked a three-run triple down the right field line as part of Clifton Park’s six-run fourth inning. Yankees starting pitcher Matt Dempsey returned to the mound after a thundershower delayed the game for about 45 minutes, finishing his complete game and leading the Yankees to an 8-2 victory on Central Park’s ‘B’ Diamond.

Clifton Park, which won all five games it played in the UNYS Tournament, clinched a berth in the American Amateur Baseball Congress North Atlantic Regional, hosted by the South Troy Dodgers, which begins Thursday in Troy. The winner of the regional tournament earns a trip to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M. in August.

The Yankees finished in a first place tie (16-4) with Colonie in the Eastern New York Travel Baseball regular season standings.

"My arm was really tired, but I had thrown six, so I wanted to finish the game," Dempsey (pictured below) said. "I didn’t want to stop there because of the rain."

The Yankees mounted a two-out rally in the fourth against Lansingburgh starting pitcher Zak Hunt, who had loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a bunt single hit by Scott Buniak. Wixted, who will play at Clarkson University next year, cleared the bases. Andrew Kalish followed with a single and Dan Lenney followed that with a triple of his own, knocking Hunt from the game.

Clifton Park first baseman Johnny Craig added a pair of RBI. The Yankees’ No. 1 through 4 hitters went 5-for-16 in the game, driving in all eight runs.

Lansingburgh Royals shortstop Dan Bergami makes a throw to first base during Saturday's game against the Clifton Park Yankees.

Dempsey, a rising senior southpaw at Shenendehowa High School, allowed seven hits and struck out four, scattering two runs while throwing 106 pitches.

Lansingburgh Royals head coach Ernie Ryan admits his teams feels a bit jinxed by the Yankees – he can’t remember the last time his team was able to defeat the Yankees – but he was still pleased by a second-place finish to end the season.

"I just told the kids, ‘last year we were third, this year we were second and next year we win it," Ryan said.

Lansingburgh’s two losses in the double elimination tournament both came at the hands of the Yankees. Clifton Park posted a 6-2 victory over the Royals Friday afternoon.

Dave Russo (pictured below), a two-year veteran for the Royals, embodied some of the struggles the team fought through in 2010. A sprained ankle forced him out from his regular position behind the plate and into left field. In the postseason draft, the Royals, with no catcher, had to pass up available pitchers to select D.J. Lyons, who played catcher for the Columbia County team that did not qualify for the tournament.

Part of the reason for the Royals success is the influence of head coach Ernie Ryan, a 40-year veteran on the local coaching scene, although he did spend some time in the 1990s in Georgia.

"Ernie is a great coach," Russo said. "He lets everyone do their own thing, really, but he keeps everyone together and keeps everyone nice and loose. All the kids came from good high school programs and all came together and played really well."

The Royals started the season with an 18-man roster, but by the end of Saturday’s game, due to injuries and defections, only 11 of the original players remaining.

"It’s a pretty good finish for us, I think," said Russo. "The team really pulled together and it’s pretty good to get a runner-up trophy. Hopefully next year they’ll win it for us."

Russo went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in Saturday’s game.

"I’m not disappointed. I’m not disappointed at all," Ryan said. "We played respectable. We won three games as the fourth seed out of our league and we were the runner-up."

Click on the box score (or any image in this post, for that matter) for a full-size image.

The Affordable Photo Pros were taking pictures from most of the games this weekend and to view some of their galleries, you can click here.

Here are the scores from Round Four of the UNYS Mickey Mantle Tournament, which was played Saturday morning in Schenectady's Central Park:
So Troy 9, Adirondack A's 0: Adrindack eliminated.
Halfmoon 12, So Colonie 1.
Albany 5, Brockville, CAN 4: Brockville eliminated.

Round Five Schedule today at Central Park A Diamond:
South Troy 5, Halfmoon 3
Albany 8, Colonie 4

South Troy, Albany and Halfmoon were all 4-1 after Round Five. South Troy drew a random bye.

Albany and Halfmoon will play at Noon on Central Park's 'C' Diamond and South Troy will face the winner in the championship game at 3 p.m.

Note: Top TWO teams will win bid to North Atlantic Regional in Waterbury, Conn. beginning 7/22. By virtue of bye in Round Six, South Troy clinched a berth in the regional.

Aaaand the rest of your local roundup:

LATHAM -- The South Troy Dodgers under-14 team were just where they wanted to be on in the North Atlantic Regionals on Saturday afternoon at Boght Field.
With a 5-4 lead late in the game against the Brooklyn Youth Service, the Dodgers seemed to be in good shape.
Brooklyn came back to win 12-8 and put the Dodgers on the brink of elimination.
Later in the day, the Dodgers battled back to defeat the Brooklyn Bonnies 14-4 to advance to today’s championship round.
Mike Mannix had two doubles and drove in three runs and Mike Herrington doubled and drove in three runs, for South Troy.
The Dodgers have to beat Brooklyn Youth Service twice today to win the tournament. The first game is at 12 p.m.
NABF Under-15 Classic
Troy Renegades 10, White House, Tenn. 0: Charlie Farrell threw a complete game shutout for the Renegades.
Jason Gallacchi hit a two-run home run and Joe Foran had two triples, including a bases-loaded triple for Troy, which plays Frederick (Md.) today at 12 p.m. in the semifinals.
Greg Hotaling had a two-run single and Ryan McGrath had a double for the Renegades.
Under-15 Pony Tournament
Waterford 6, Twin Town Devilcats 2: Chris Carmel pitched a complete game, three-hitter to lead Waterford to the victory.
Austin Sanning went 4-for-4 with a double and four RBI, while Ed Clairmont added two hits and two RBI for the victors.
Waterford plays today at 12:30, at Kelts Field against the Syracuse Red Storm.
District 14 11-12-year-old ‘A’ Round Robin
Lansingburgh 14, Rensselaer 1: Ryan Savoy pitched a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts and Joe Vandenburgh backed him with a home run and a single.
Sean Mannis and Jake Martell added two singles apiece for Lansingburgh.
District 14 11-12-year-old ‘B’ tournament
Cohoes 11, Brunswick 7: Josh Giller and John McKnight both went 3-for-5 and George Parent and Brandon Scully added two hits apiece for Cohoes in a victory over Brunswick. Jordan West earned the win on the mound for Cohoes.
Brunswick’s Nolan Senecal went 3-for-4 with a double.
Twin Town Blue 6, Twin Town Red 5: Anthony Cioffi pitched a complete game and Sierra Jaeger hit two singles aand drove in two runs for Twin Town Blue in a victory over Twin Town Red.
Thomas Culnan hit two singles and drove in two runs for Twin Town Blue.
District 14 9-10-year-old ‘A’ tournament
Brunswick 6, Lansingburgh 3: Piddy McGrath and Matt Ashley had two hits for Brunswick in the victory.
Albany Twilight League
Albany Athletics 6, Blue Slate Bluehawks 0: Athletics righthander Bill Lawton threw six innings of two-hit ball and fanned eight batters leading the Albany Athletics to a victory over Haack Division foe Blue Slate Blue Hawks.
The A's won their 11th straight league game and clinched a berth in the Twilight League playoffs and the AABC Upper NY State Tournament.

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