Coach Paul DeLuca believes his Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake baseball team can make a move forward both in the Suburban Council and beyond after last season’s .500 league finish and trip to the Section II Class A semifinals.
That is, if the pitching comes through.
The Spartans return 12 seniors, including Division I-bound shortstop Bret Dennis and centerfielder Keatin Flint, and a healthy staff ace in Corey Parks.
“The offense looks good. The defense looks good. The big question is pitching. Who fills in the rotation behind Parks?” DeLuca said. “We need guys to step up and eat some innings. Our pitching has got to come through.”
Parks, who is headed to Division II power Franklin Pierce, went 3-2 in limited innings last season
after taking a line drive off his right pitching elbow in his first start.
Seniors Devin Stark and Kyle Pinkerton and junior Rory Little are the top pitching candidates behind Parks.
“We hope to get that situated. I think it’s going to come together,” said DeLuca. “If it doesn’t, it becomes a long season.”
Burnt Hills’ 2010 season included an 8-8 mark in the Suburban Council, tops among the three Class A teams in the circuit, and its best mark since going 12-6 in 1998.
“Our league is strong, top to bottom,” said DeLuca. “There are a lot of Division I kids out there, but I’ll take my chances.”
“We’re a Class A team, and 90 percent of the time, they’ll look at us as an easy game,” said Flint. “I like that.”
Flint led BH-BL last season with a .430 average, three homers, 13 stolen bases and a .516 on-base percentage. Dennis hit .378 with three homers and 20 RBI, senior outfielder Mike Brienze hit .381 and senior outfielder Dan Buff batted .338 with a team-high 37 RBI.
“On paper, it looks good, but that doesn’t mean a thing,” said DeLuca. “We’ve got to get it done on the field.”
Burnt Hills went 13-9 overall last season, finishing up with a sectional win over Glens Falls before a semifinal loss to eventual Class A champion Ichabod Crane. The Spartans won the Class A title in 2005.
“I think we have a shot at going all the way in the sectionals,” said Flint, who has helped BH-BL win Section II Class A titles in football and basketball. “Ichabod Crane had a good team last year, and we ran into a hot pitcher that day. Maybe this will be our year.”
Mike Black has resigned as Niskayuna High School’s varsity boys’ basketball coach after seven seasons.
“I can relate with his decision. He wants to spend more time with his family,” said Niskayuna athletic director Larry Gillooly. “He has a young family. He’s a family man. He understands that every minute he’s away, he’ll never get it back.”
Black recently ended his 15th season with the Niskayuna basketball program, coaching its freshman team for one season and its
junior varsity for seven more before taking over the varsity for Mark Treanor.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life, professionally. I thoroughly enjoyed it. What I’ll miss the most are the kids. The kids at Niskayuna are special,” said the 41-year-old Black. “The reason I stepped down is because I have two young ones [son and daughter], and I wanted to have a little more time with them.”
Black’s first varsity team in 2004-05 earned a share of the Suburban Council Gold Division championship with Guilderland after beating the Dutchmen on the final night of league play (Niskayuna’s last league title before that came in 1995-96). That edition finished at 13-9, which included a Section II Class AA tournament win over Albany.
Niskayuna placed second in the Gold Division the following season, beat Averill Park and Shaker to win its division in the league tournament, and also picked up a sectional victory against Amsterdam as part of its 14-8 record.
“We had some great victories,” said Black, a physical education teacher at the high school. “I’ve got some good memories.”
Niskayuna won or shared the Suburban Council team sportsmanship award in each of Black’s seven seasons.
“He’s a good leader and a good coach,” said Gillooly. “His teams represented our school very well.”
Black guided the Silver Warriors to an 8-11 mark in his final season, and a 63-82 overall record.
brothers no. 7
Christian Brothers Academy
(23-1) finished the season with a
No. 7 Class AA boys’ basketball ranking by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
CBA was ranked No. 1 when it lost to Jamestown in overtime, 61-56, in the semifinals of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament.
Other ranked Section II teams are Shenendehowa (Class AA, No. 17, 19-2), Mohonasen (Class A, No. 20, 17-5), Scotia-Glenville (Class A, No. 21, 19-2), Watervliet (Class B, No. 20, 18-5), Greenwich (Class C, No. 5, 19-5), Lake George (Class C, No. 10, 20-2), Fort Plain (Class C, No. 14, 18-3), Argyle (Class C, No. 15, 18-2) and Germantown (Class D, No. 10, 16-7).
Mount Vernon (Class AA, 23-5), Long Island Lutheran (Class A, 23-4), Collegiate (Class B, 22-8), Friends Academy (Class C, 17-4) and New York Mills (Class D, 24-0) are ranked No. 1.
State runner-up Averill Park (Class A, 13-12) and Voorheesville (Class C, 16-8) are both ranked No. 4 on the girls’ side, and Hoosic Valley (Class B, 22-3) is ranked No. 6.
Other ranked Section II teams are Shaker (Class AA, No. 11, 20-3), Shenendehowa (Class AA, No. 13, 20-1), Colonie (Class AA, No. 24, 19-3), Mohonasen (Class A, No. 23, 12-9), Scotia-Glenville (Class A, tie No. 25, 19-1), Watervliet (Class B, No. 16, 18-4), Maple Hill (Class B, No. 18, 20-1), Cambridge (Class C, No. 21, 16-6), Greenwich (Class C, No. 22, 15-6), Fort Edward (Class D, No. 11, 12-9), Fort Ann (Class D, No. 13, 17-5) and Heatly (Class D, No. 15, 17-3).
Nazareth (Class AA, 29-3), Archbishop Molloy (Class A, 18-13), Long Island Lutheran (Class B, 21-5), Gananda (Class C, 25-0) and Coleman Catholic (Class D, 19-2) are ranked No. 1.
Shenendehowa was ranked 34th in the final national high school team rankings by Amateur Wrestling News, one of three New York schools to make the final-40 poll. Longwood was ranked 29th, and Spencerport came in at 38.
The Plainsmen were ranked 35th and Longwood 40th in the final InterMat poll, and Rob Weeks’ team got an honorable mention nod from The Open Mat, the only New York school in that poll’s rankings.
Duanesburg senior Nick Gwiazdowski is the only Section II wrestler to be ranked nationally, holding down the No.3 spot at 215 in the InterMat, The Open Ma and Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine.
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