Shenendehowa vs. Saratoga Springs: Blue Streaks strike late for SC win (with photo gallery)

The Sar­atoga Springs baseball team was in desperate need of a spark Wednesday afternoon when Nate F
Saratoga baserunner Alex Lushkevich beats the ball and the attempted tag by Shenendehowa’s Dan Lenny in fifth-inning action Wednesday afternoon.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Saratoga baserunner Alex Lushkevich beats the ball and the attempted tag by Shenendehowa’s Dan Lenny in fifth-inning action Wednesday afternoon.

The Sar­atoga Springs baseball team was in desperate need of a spark Wednesday afternoon when Nate Foster drew a leadoff walk in the seventh inning and Luke Fauler doubled off Shenendehowa’s right-field fence.

“That was the biggest hit of the game. That was huge,” Shenendehowa coach Jim Carrese said of Fauler’s hard drive. “That made a statement that they were not going to quit.”

Foster and Fauler both scored to tie the game, and the Blue Streaks pushed four runs across in the eighth to beat the Suburban Council North Division champions, 9-5, in a back-and-forth league finale played in a near-constant mist.

Kyle Willmott had the big blow in the eighth, a tie-breaking two-run single, and Matt Coleman went the distance as the Blue Streaks earned a season split with their longtime rival.

“All I ask of the kids is to make plays and put themselves in a pos­ition to have a chance. They did that,” said Saratoga coach Dean Bailey. “This is great for the kids. Great for their confidence.”

Coleman allowed nine hits and three earned runs while striking out three and walking none. He also had a game-high three hits, including an RBI single in the eighth.

“I was tired, but it was my game,” said Coleman. “I wanted to finish it up.”

The Saint Rose-bound senior righty worked around a leadoff single in the seventh and an error in the eighth to hold off the state’s No. 9-ranked Class AA team, and improve his personal record to 7-2.

“I can’t say enough about Matt. All year long, he’s a been a warrior,” said Willmott, a junior center fielder. “Shenendehowa pounds the ball, and to shut down a team like that, that’s a great effort.”

“Matt has been a big part of our success,” Bailey added. “He did a great job for us again. I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of all the kids that backed him up.”

Colin Grande’s two-run single had given Shenendehowa (14-2, 15-3) a 5-3, sixth-inning lead. John Craig and Brandon Cogswell drove in runs earlier in the game for the Plainsmen, and left fielder Matt Dempsey made two diving catches and threw a runner out at home plate in support of starter John Prendergast.

“Shenendehowa is such a good team,” said Bailey. “They force you to pick up your game.”

Saratoga (10-6, 11-8) did just that after Shenendehowa’s David Wix­ted and Brandon Galluppi singled in the sixth, pulled off a double steal and raced home on Grande’s two-out single.

“I thought that was the momentum that was going to carry us to the win,” said Carrese. “They came back on us three times. Give them credit. Tip your cap to them.”

Zach Forbes singled to start the Saratoga eighth, Foster hit a one-out infield single, and after Cogswell walked Fauler to fill the bases, Willmott smacked his two-run single to left. Coleman added an RBI single off reliever Ross Halpern, and the Blue Streaks tacked on their final run on a wild pitch.

“I didn’t feel a lot of pressure,” said Willmott, who finished with two singles and also stole a base. “I was relaxed, and jumped on his [Cogswell] first pitch.”

Foster scored on a wild pitch by Shenendehowa’s first reliever, Andrew Kalish, after Fauler’s clutch double in the seventh. After a walk, a groundout and an intentional walk loaded the bases, Fauler came home on Ryan Vaughn’s groundout to tie the game at 5-5.

Kalish doubled in the Shenendehowa first and later scored on Cogswell’s sacrifice fly, and Craig hit an RBI single in the third. Sar­atoga scored three runs in the fifth, with Fauler hitting an RBI double and throwing errors allowing two more to cross home.

Shenendehowa got its third run in the home fifth on a throwing error after singles by Kalish and Scott Buniak.

Saratoga Springs 000 030 24 — 9 12 3

Shenendehowa 101 012 00 — 5  9 3

Coleman and Forbes; Prendergast, Kal­ish (7), Cogswell (8), Halpern (8) and Galluppi.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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