High School Notes: Lanni steps down as Colonie baseball coach

Greg Lanni has stepped down as Colonie High School’s varsity baseball coach after 14 seasons due to
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Greg Lanni has stepped down as Colonie High School’s varsity baseball coach after 14 seasons due to personal reasons, but could be back in uniform for the 2010 season.

“I’m taking a year leave, but the door is open if I want to come back,” said the 48-year-old, a physical education instructor at Sand Creek Middle School. “We’ll decide next year. There might be other options out there, too. You never know. We’ll see.”

Lanni coached baseball at Col­onie for 20 years, guiding mod­ified and freshman teams before his move to the varsity level.

“It takes a lot out of you. You go, go, go. I’m going to take some time to regroup,” said Lanni. “Nothing is wrong. I just need to take a step back and kind of recharge the batteries.”

Lanni led the Garnet Raiders to the 2006 state Class AA champ­ionship game and a 22-4 record. Col­onie won its first Section II title since 1989 that year with a 2-1, nine-inning win over Shenendehowa, and later beat Liverpool in the regionals and Fairport in the state semifinals before bowing to Massapequa.

“That 2006 team had so many good players, and they seemed to mix so well. We had our horses and our role players, and they all got the job done,” said Lanni. “That was a fun group to be with.”

Lanni led Colonie to 197 wins, and had three outright Suburban Council division champions and three other teams that shared league titles. His 2000 team lost in the Section II Class A final to Col­umbia, and his 1998, 2002 and 2005 teams reached sectional semifinals. His 2000 and 2005 teams both finished with 19 victories.

“I’m going to miss the games. The competition,” said Lanni, whose Garnet Raiders went 14-10 overall last spring, including a 7-7 league mark. “And I’m going to miss the kids, of course. We’ve had a lot of great kids come through here.”

Early in his coaching career. Lanni

notched 37 wins in a two-year stint with the Catholic Central varsity, raising his career total to 234.

Among the varsity baseball coaching candidates for the 2009 campaign are Kevin Halburian, Colonie’s longtime junior varsity coach.

woods with 402

Hoosick Falls quarterback Kevin Woods passed for 402 yards, the third-highest total in Section II history, in Friday night’s 34-19 Class C win over Cambridge.

Woods originally was credited with 340 yards. When the Hoosick Falls staff viewed the game tape, it was discovered that a 62-yard touchdown run by Dan Okerman was actually a 62-yard screen pass. Woods finished 19-for-28 with five touchdown strikes.

Brian Grastorf of Niskayuna passed for a Section II-record 436 yards in 2005 against Schenectady, and Mohonasen’s Ralph Barone passed for 405 yards in 1987 against Chatham.

baez contributes

Schenectady sophomore James Baez proved to be a fine com­plement to star tailback Marc Thompson Friday night, rushing for 80 yards on 10 carries in a 36-7 Class AA victory over Shenen­dehowa at Larry Mulvaney Field.

Baez’s yardage total was inadvertently credited to another Schenectady player in Saturday’s Gazette.

Baez ran for 35 yards on his first attempt, and later had a 21-yard burst to help set up a touchdown by Marcus Brandon.

Thompson scored on a 55-yard run three plays into the game, and Brandon recovered a fumble soon after to quell one of Shenen­dehowa’s few offensive threats.

“That was huge. That gave us a big lift,” Schenectady quarterback Nick Ottati said of Thompson’s

55-yard burst. “All it was was a little seam, and not too many guys are going to catch him down the sideline.”

Thompson returned an interception 58 yards for a first-quarter touchdown, and Brandon caught a 19-yard TD pass from Ottati in the second quarter — on a fourth-and-eight play with 23 seconds left — to help extend the Patriots’ lead to

22-0. Thompson and Herman Seise added second-half touchdowns.

milestone win

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls’ volleyball team notched another milestone win on Shenen­dehowa’s court Thursday, extending its Suburban Council winning streak to 250 matches with a 25-9, 25-14, 25-20 three-game sweep.

Burnt Hills won its 200th league match at Shenendehowa in September 2004, also in three games.

“That’s the neat thing about sports,” said Spartans coach Gary Bynon. “Ironic things like that happen.”

Shenendehowa was the last team to beat Burnt Hills in league play, 15-10, 15-9, in October 1990. The Spartans beat Colonie the next day, 15-11, 15-5, to begin their streak. The Spartans went 14-1 in the league that year, and captured their third of 20 consecutive SC division championships.

“No one on this team was born when the streak started,” said Bynon, whose 14-member group includes nine underclassmen. “This is the first team to have that.”

Burnt Hills will look to extend its streak Tuesday at Colonie. The Spartans travel to Ballston Spa Thursday, and will compete in the Baldwinsville tournament Saturday.

During the course of the streak, Burnt Hills has won 13 Section II banners and nine regional titles. Six times, the Spartans have reached state championship matches, winnning in 2002, 2004 and 2005, and finishing second in 1999, 2006 and 2007.

All of Burnt Hills’ matches are scheduled to be played on the road due to problems with the gym floors at the district’s schools.

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