Shenendehowa delivered a quick blow, and Miles Kelly never let Guilderland get off the mat.
The Plainsmen scored four runs in the first inning, Branden Cogswell homered in the second and Kelly surrendered one hit in an 8-1 victory over the 2010 state Class AA finalists Friday at Dutchmen Field in Keenholts Park.
“Our approach is to throw strike one, catch the baseball and get an early lead for our pitcher,” said Shenendehowa coach Jim Carrese. “We’ve been able to do that.”
Kelly worked the first six innings, and five of his teammates smacked run-scoring singles in Shenendehowa’s third Suburban Council win in two days, and fourth triumph this week. The Plainsmen (6-1, 6-1) beat Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Monday and swept Ballston Spa and Columbia Thursday before dealing Guilderland (4-3, 4-4) its fourth consecutive loss.
“We’re not hitting. We don’t have a good approach at the plate right now,” said Guilderland coach Doug LaValley. “We lost a lot of experience at the plate from last year. We’re not getting productive at-bats.”
Shenendehowa is, and Friday’s eight runs give the league’s defending North Division champs 33 this week.
“We’re playing with a freshman, three sophomores, three juniors and two seniors in our lineup,” said Carrese. “It’s the youngest team we’ve put on the field, but I like this team, and we’re starting to jell.”
“The team has been hitting well,” said Cogswell, a Virginia-bound shortstop who had two RBI, stole a base and scored three times. “We’re not going to go down looking. We’re going to put the ball in play.”
The Plainsmen did plenty of that in the first inning, and got a little help from Guilderland, in building its 4-0 lead against Dutchmen ace Vinny Tamburello. Ninth-grader Justin Yurchak, Matt Buckley and Mike Cuttita capped the uprising with run-scoring singles.
“I was pretty confident after getting that run support,” said Kelly, a junior righty. “It’s just a good feeling when you get that.”
Kelly struck out four and walked a pair in earning his second varsity win, the first coming on a complete-game three-hit shutout against Averill Park. He gave up a two-out, fourth-inning double down the left field line to Conor Hurley before retiring the final seven batters he faced.
“He was a catcher in our program,” Carrese said of Kelly. “[Pitching coach] Keith Lansley saw something in him, and said ‘Let’s get the shin guards off him and get him on the mound.’ The project started back in September, and there’s the end product.”
Guilderland scored its lone run off Kelly in the home first when Harry Brodsky drew a leadoff walk, stole second and third, and came home on Devin Fisher’s sacrifice fly.
“My change was working very well, and I was spotting my fastball,” Kelly said. “The change was the difference. They didn’t know what was coming.”
Mike Englert pitched a perfect seventh for Shenendehowa, getting the first out when Nick Giunta snared Eric Golderman’s drive just in front of the left-field fence. Earlier, Cogswell turned six grounders into outs, and Cuttita caught a runner stealing in support of Kelly.
“We’re a pitch-to-contact staff. No one in our rotation is going to strike out 16,” said Carrese. “We are catching the baseball. We have been able to execute on defense.”
Guilderland failed to do so in the first inning after Colin Grande reached on a bunt single, with Tamburello bobbling Sam Halpern’s bunt for an error, and second baseman Mike Doynow mishandling Cogswell’s grounder for another.
John Craig followed with a bases-loaded RBI infield single, and, after Tamburello got a strikeout, Yurchak, Buckley and Cuttita brought home runs with line drives to the outfield.
“You’ve got to make plays,” said LaValley. “You can’t give them extra outs.”
Cogswell belted his fourth home run of the season over the right field fence on an 0-2 count to make it 5-1.
“He [Tamburello} threw three curves in a row,” said Cogswell. “He tried to get one by me, and I got the barrel on the ball and hit it pretty good.”
Tamburello hit a batter and walked four in the third inning before giving way to Matt Trestick. Two-out walks to Halpern and Cogswell brought home runs.
“There’s not much to say,” said Tamburello, Guilderland’s star postseason hurler last season. “Before the game I was pumped. A couple of things happened in the first inning and that got me off my rhythm.”
Giunta made it 8-1 in the sixth with an RBI single.
Shenendehowa 412 001 0 — 8 7 2
Guilderland 100 000 0 — 1 1 3
Kelly, Englert (7) and Cuttita; Tamburello, Trestick (3), Valletta (7) and Faragon.