Duanesburg baseball coach Chris Wyanski felt his Eagles came to Collins Park Friday with an emotional hangover, the residual effect of their stunning victory over state champion Fort Plain two days before.
“I don’t think we were mentally ready to do what we needed to do,” Wyanski said. “The game was done, and all of a sudden, it was a close game.”
The Eagles, however, did enough good things to prevail on an off day, which is the sign of a high-caliber team. They built a five-run lead before holding off pesky Schenectady Christian, 6-4, in a Western Athletic Conference game pitting two of the top teams from the Southern Division.
Ben Lynch had a double, two singles and two runs batted in, and Will McMullen worked through a seventh-inning threat as the Eagles (11-3, 13-4) ended the Falcons’ (9-5, 9-6) five-game winning streak, and gained a share of the Southern Division lead with Canajoharie.
“We did what it took. It wasn’t our best game, but it was an important game,” said Wyanski, whose Eagles have never lost to the Falcons. “We played a big game Wednesday [ending Fort Plain’s
23-game winning streak with a 3-1 win] and came back and won this one. If we lost this one, it would have sent a negative message to the whole team.”
Schenectady Christian sent a message Duanesburg’s way when George Amedore belted his first varsity home run in the fifth inning, and the Falcons added three more in the sixth to make it a 5-4 contest.
“They’re having a good year,” Lynch, a junior right fielder, said of the Falcons. “They kept coming at us, and we kept battling them.”
Back-to-back doubles by Wes Coppolo and Lynch in the top of the seventh gave Duanesburg a 6-4 advantage, yet Schenectady Christian didn’t go away easily. Chris McCarty and Chris Stephano drew one-out walks against Duanesburg reliever Tyler Quintana, and after McMullen came on, the Eagles ace got a strikeout and gave up an infield single to Matt Gallup to fill the sacks.
Duanesburg first baseman Ben Brand snared Jon Kovel’s hard grounder and stepped on the bag to end it, giving McMullen the save for Eagles starter Nick Ferri, who went the first six innings.
“We are starting to learn how to come back. We just couldn’t get it done,” said Falcons coach Dave DeAngelis, whose team had lost at Duanesburg, 16-6, earlier in the season. “We sucked it up and played them close, but that’s a great team over there. They’re the [defending] champions of our division. We just couldn’t quite get them.”
Schenectady Christian managed just two singles before Amedore launched his homer, and the Falcons put together four more hits in the sixth to slice their deficit to one run.
Batting ninth in the order, Charles Taplin belted a one-out double and pinch-runner Tim Moore moved up on a groundout to set up Kovel’s infield RBI single. After Ian Compton walked and losing pitcher R.J. Gallup singled to load the bases, Amedore smacked a two-run single into left field. Gallup overran third base, however, and Chris Hyrny slapped on a tag to stymie the Falcons.
“That was the turning point in their favor. That let them off the hook,” said DeAngelis. “We had one of our best guys [Chris Kovel] coming up next.”
“When their kid came off the bag, our third baseman was awake enough to apply the tag,” Wyanski said. “That was an alert play.”
Duanesburg scored two runs in the first inning on Gallup’s only two walks and singles by Lynch and Jared Hayen, and in the second frame, a single by Hyrny and a double by McMullen made it 3-0. The Eagles scored two more in the fourth on a balk and Coppolo’s RBI single.
Compton had two singles for Schenectady Christian, and freshman center fielder Matt Gallup threw a runner out at home in the fifth to keep the score at 5-0.
“Schenectady Christian has a nice run going,” said Wyanski. “Every time we play them, they’re better and better and better. The gave us a test today.”
The four-year-old Schenectady Christian varsity — with only three seniors in Stephano, Steve Garrasi and German exchange student Magnus Balters — came into the game riding a perfect May, having beaten Mayfield, Middleburgh and Sharon Springs earlier this week, and Galway and Canajoharie last week.
“We beat Mayfield and Canajoharie for the first time,” said DeAngelis, the team’s third-year coach. “We’re growing. We’re getting better, and we have high hopes.
“We got to the [Section II Class D] semifinals my first year and we got beat in the final last year. We’d like to win one more this year. There’s good teams out there, but we want to get out of the section.”
Duanesburg 210 200 1 — 6 10 0
Schenectady Christ. 000 013 0 — 4 8 2
Ferri, Quintana (7), McMullen (7) and Kennedy; R. Gallup and G. Amedore.
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