Scotties win behind, and for, Swingruber

Senior scores four goals for his mom, who died Thursday
Ballston Spa senior Sam Swingruber points toward the sky after scoring his first goal Friday against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
Ballston Spa senior Sam Swingruber points toward the sky after scoring his first goal Friday against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.

BURNT HILLS — Sam Swingruber wasn’t made available after Ballston Spa’s lacrosse game at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Friday night. Earlier, it was obvious how much he wanted to play, and excel.

The senior, whose mother, Melissa Swingruber, died Thursday, did just that.

“He played real well,” Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake coach Tom Schwan said of the attackman. “In that respect, I’m happy for him.”

Swingruber scored the first goal of the game, and the attackmen added three more goals and an assist in an 8-0 run later on that was part of a 9-3 lightning-shortened Suburban Council win. Swingruber pointed toward the sky after that first goal 5:42 into the contest at Centennial Field.

“He was fired up,” Ballston Spa senior attackman Joe McDonald said. “Did you see him point?”

The Ballston Spa players wore tape on their helmets with the letters ‘MS’ written on it. Before the game there was a moment of silence prior to the national anthem in honor of the Melissa Swingruber.

“Tonight and for every night after this, all for you. I Love you momma,  know you’ll be watching,” Sam Swingruber posted on his Twitter account earlier Friday.

“It happened yesterday morning,” McDonald said of Melissa Swingruber’s passing. “He’s a really good friend of mine, and we were all texting him and trying to support him.”

During the first quarter, it was apparent the Ballston Spa players were trying to get the ball to Swingruber.

“That was not part of the game plan,” Ballston Spa coach Lucas Snow said. “That’s the nature of these kids.”

Snow released few details of Melissa Swingruber’s passing. He said his team was taking the loss hard.

“They are teenage boys,” Snow said. “This is a difficult thing for them to handle. I told them, ‘Whatever you do, do it with your heart.'”

Darien LaPietro gave Burnt Hills a 2-1 lead before Ballston Spa (9-2), the states No. 12 Class B team, went on its decisive run. Sam Swingruber started the spurt with a tying goal late in the first quarter, and he capped it with his last goal late in the second frame that made it 9-2.

Burnt Hills (5-8) had beaten Ballston Spa the last time the teams met 12-11 in the 2017 sectional semifinals.

“More important that a lacrosse game is a young man lost his mom,” Schwan said. “Credit him. He compartmentalized and was able to play well.”

Sam Swingruber has committed to play lacrosse at the University at Albany, where LaPietro, a junior midfielder, is also headed. LaPietro lost his mom, Ginelle Toussaint, just after Christmas in 2016.

“They may end up as roommates,” Schwan said.

Ballston Spa 2 7 – 9

Burnt Hills 2 1 – 3

Ballston Spa scoring: Bennice 1-2, Schuette 0-2, Yerou 1-1, McDonald 2-0, Swingruber 4-1, Cecala 1-0. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake scoring: Adams 2-0, LaPietro 1-1, Ropitzky 0-1.

Goalies: Ballston Spa,  Nash, 6 saves. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Serafini, 12 saves.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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