Surprising Falcons roll into state semifinals, 18-2

The Schenectady Christian School Falcons, who are in their fifth season as a varsity program, are tw

Putting baseball, the state tournament and Schenectady Christian School baseball in the same sentence six years ago would have raised a few eyebrows.

That’s because their program didn’t exist.

The Falcons, who are in their fifth season as a varsity program, are two wins away from their first state championship after easing past Clifton-Pine of Section X, 18-2, in the Class D regional final Wednesday at Bleecker Stadium.

First-year coach Chad Bowman laughed when asked if he thought his team was a state championship contender in the beginning of the year.

“Our goals initially were to be a winning club,” said Bowman. “We never talked about even going to states.”

Schenectady Christian showed why it deserves to be one of the four remaining teams in the state — a balanced attack.

R.J. Gallup, Ian Compton and Steve Carter combined on a two-hitter, and the offense pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of six errors by the Eagles.

Matt Gallup, who led the Falcons with two doubles, a triple and four RBI, said the journey to the state tournament has been exciting and unexpected.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “We’re rolling right now.”

The Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and quickly added two more in the second when R.J. Gallup singled home Charles Taplin, and Matt Gallup smacked an RBI triple down the right-field line to plate R.J. Gallup.

The offense put the game out of reach after scoring 11 runs in the third and fourth innings, highlighted by a bases-clearing triple by Taplin.

Bowman was pleased with the production in his lineup, from top to bottom.

Leadoff hitter R.J. Gallup reached base in each of his six plate appearances, Compton and catcher George Amedore combined for five RBI from the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in order and Taplin, the No. 9 hitter, went game 3-for-5 with three RBI.

“I’m usually not a good hitter, so it feels great,” Taplin said.

Bowman said he had high expectations for Taplin in the beginning of the year, but the second baseman found himself toward the bottom of the lineup as his struggles began.

“Charles has been great, and he’s really improved as the season’s progressed,” Bowman said. “He started off a little bit rough . . . and he really gives us a second lead-off now.”

While the offense continued to pound the Eagles pitching, it was the pitching by Schenectady Christian that was most impressive.

The Eagles didn’t have a base runner until the fifth inning when Robert White walked, and didn’t record a hit until Gordon Whitney’s single in the sixth.

Clifton-Fine scored its only runs in the sixth inning on a fielder’s choice by Casey Forkey that scored Whitney, and an RBI single by Drew Gearsbeck.

With a 10-run lead, Bowman pulled Gallup after three innings to preserve him for the semifinals.

“R.J. threw only 30 pitches today, it’s almost a bullpen session for him,” he said. “That was a real advantage today.”

Aside from a midseason slump when the Falcons lost five out of six games, Bowman said his team is playing some of its best baseball.

“I like the grit our team has,” he said. “That’s their strength — that the kids are going to fight — and I don’t question whether they are going to come out and compete.”

The Falcons, riding a wave of confidence, travel to Binghamton to take on Livingston Manor of Section IX at 10 a.m. in the state semifinals at Union-Endicott high school. The winner will advance to the championship game at 4 p.m. to take on either Hamilton of Section III or Arkport of Section V.

“Confidence is bred through achievement,” he said. “I would expect the teams that we have next . . . probably will be another step up, so we’ll have to continue to raise the bar and meet that level.”

Clifton-Fine 000 002 0 — 2 2 6

Schenectady Christian 226 503 x — 18 13 1

Forkey, White (3), Shaul (6) and Dolan; R Gallup, Compton (4), Carter (7) and Amedore.

Categories: High School Sports

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