James Blanchfield had it figured out a long time ago.
Not so much where he wanted to go to college, but why.
“It’s all about trying to do my best,” the Schenectady High School senior said. “It’s about meeting my potential.”
Sports will still be part of Blanchfield’s life. But the next step is all about the academics.
The three-year varsity ice hockey and lacrosse participant will be spending the next several years at Harvard University of the Ivy League striving for, above all, academic excellence. With an interest in economics and film, he also considered Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Brown and Pennsylvania among others.
“My parents [Beatrice Tsao and Mark Blanchfield] were very open to what I wanted to do,” the soon-to-be 18-year-old said. “We looked at a lot of colleges.”
Blanchfield applied early and Harvard accepted the 4.0-plus student, a member of Schenectady’s International Baccalaureate program, in mid-November. He recently visited the school for an accepted student’s weekend to “get his feet wet.”
“My parents went there,” Blanchfield said. “I had always known about it. It was always in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t sure until I really started looking into it. I like the location and the size, and it’s got Division I sports.”
Blanchfield’s aim is to play ice hockey at Harvard at the club level while keeping a strong focus on the books.
“That wasn’t anything I even considered,” Blanchfield said of playing big-time collegiate hockey. “I want to keep it up, though. Sports have always been part of my life. Club isn’t slouch.”
Blanchfield joined the Niskayuna/Schenectady ice hockey team as a sophomore after previously playing with the Clifton Park Dynamo travel team. This past season he was selected to the All-Section II Team for his standout play between the pipes.
“He was our version of James Schnepf,” Schenectady varsity lacrosse coach Matt Marotta in reference to his former All-American goaltender. “He stopped a lot of shots for them.”
Blanchfield is taking them this spring for the Patriots lacrosse team while running with fellow midfielders Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Canty on Schenectady’s No. 1 line.
“I’ve had him since he was a freshman,” Marotta said. “He’s an awesome kid. He’s 100 percent when he’s with us, and obviously when he’s doing his school work and other things. I wish we had more kids like him.”
Blanchfield is one of those Schenectady kids you don’t hear enough about.
Everyone needs a little help, even when you’re perfect.
Columbia’s Justin Dessureau got that from some of his teammates, which allowed the senior righty to sift clean through Troy’s lineup in a 4-0 Suburban Council win last week — 21 up, 21 down.
“Our catcher blocked a few strike threes in the dirt,” Columbia coach Chris Dedrick said. “If any of them get by, the perfect game is over.”
Shortstop Nate Cotton and right fielder Andrew Harris flagged down Troy’s best bids for hits.
“Our shortstop made a diving play on a soft liner up the middle,” Dedrick said. “Our right fielder made a really good play in the gap. Other than that, it was pretty routine.”
Dessureau struck out eight in the first no-hitter for Columbia since 2013, when A.J. Maney and Kevin Smith combined to blank Colonie in a 2-0 win. The Blue Devils last no-hitter before that is believed to be Greg Bobersky’s gem against Mohonasen in an 11-0 win in 1996.
“I’m in my eighth year and I’ve had two,” Dedrick said. “It’s hard to get, especially in the Suburban Council.”
Dedrick said Dessureau consistently got ahead in the count and mixed his fastball and curve well.
“It was tough to adjust to his change of speed,” Dedrick said. “He was really fantastic. It was fun to watch.”
SPARTANS DO IT AGAIN
When Queensbury senior Ryan Flansburg held Hudson Falls hitless Friday in a 10-0 Foothills Council win, it marked the Spartans’ third no-hit pitching performance in a span of 11 games.
Aaron Cook and Pat Conway combined to no-hit Broadalbin-Perth in Queensbury’s season-starting 17-1 win. In a Class A regional final last season, Kyle Chambers authored a no-hitter when the Spartans beat Peru 6-0.
Since 2012, Queensbury has had at least one no-hitter every year. In 2013, Charlie Peltz threw three of them in consecutive starts.
Last Thursday was a big day for baseball milestones.
Duke Beck became the all-time wins leader among Wasaren League coaches with 368 when his Greenwich varsity scored four seventh-inning runs in a 4-3 triumph against Tamarac. Beck’s run at Greenwich began in 1996 and includes six Section II titles and a state championship in 1997. Former Schuylerville coach Hal Foster stepped down in 1998 with 367 wins.
“Having played in this league and coached in it for a while, it means a lot to me,” Beck said.
Albany Academy baseball coach Dave Rider reached triple-digits in a second sport when his Cadets topped LaSalle 2-0 in Colonial Council game. Rider’s ice hockey teams at Albany Academy won 427 games from 1979-2009. Brooks Knapek pitched a five-hitter for his second straight complete-game shutout.
Senior Brad Smith pitched four innings of hitless relief to earn his 20th high school win when Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville beat Mayfield 12-2 in a Western Athletic Conference game.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake senior lacrosse player Will Clark scored six goals in Thursday’s 14-5 win over CBA, giving the Endicott College-bound attackman 24 goals in a four-game stretch.
That streak started with an eight-goal outing in a win against Ballston Spa when Clark tied the school record he established last season. He followed that up his second seven-goal game this season in a win Schenectady, and notched three more when the Spartans topped Albany.