Ballston Spa overpowers Sayville

Shenendehowa advances in Class AA
Ballston Spa first baseman Donovan Rhoden records an out in Friday's state semifinal against Sayville.
Ballston Spa first baseman Donovan Rhoden records an out in Friday's state semifinal against Sayville.

Categories: High School Sports, Schenectady County, Sports, Your Niskayuna

BINGHAMTON — Jake Manderson didn’t point toward the outfield fence a la Babe Ruth, but he did call his shot, and he didn’t waste any time delivering.

Manderson ripped the second home run in a six-run sixth inning that gave Ballston Spa a mercy-rule shortened 10-0 victory over Long Island champion Sayville in a state Class A semifinal game Friday at Union-Endicott High School.

Luke Gold clubbed his second homer just before Manderson’s first-pitch deep drive in a power surge that propelled the Scotties (23-2) into their first New York final Saturday against Maine-Endwell (Section IV, 15-4).

“Before I went up there I told Donovan [Rhoden], ‘I’m going to end it right now,’ ” Manderson said.

Gold hit a pair of two-run home runs, Manderson had a double with his home run and pitched two-hit ball for his third playoff win, and Ballston Spa’s defense turned two double plays behind the tall senior righty.

“He’s been so good for us,” Gold said of Manderson’s mound work. “He’s been stepping up.”

All of the Scotties have stepped up in a six-game postseason win streak that has them on the verge of a New York championship. Ballston Spa had never competed in the state playoffs before this season. Last year, the Scotties came close, only to lose to Columbia in the Section II Class AA title tilt.

“First time in the state final,” Manderson said while beaming. “It’s a blessing.”

“I visualized this in August,” Ballston Spa coach Curtis Nobles said. “After we lost to Columbia, we took a little time off, and then we worked. We didn’t take days off. We worked.”

Manderson never bothered to work the count against Sayville reliever Eric Foster, turning his first offering into the game-ending homer over the left field fence.

“I knew he’d be coming with a fastball. Probably throw a strike,” Manderson said. “I put a good swing on it.”

Gold did as well at the outset of the game. Evan Fox singled on Brock Murtha’s first pitch and, after Gold took two strikes from the junior lefty, he drilled an offering just left of the 410-foot sign in center field.

“I was just trying to get our team kick-started and get us pointed in the right direction,” Gold said.

Murtha had pitched a no-hitter when Sayville (Section XI, 21-7-1) defeated W.T. Clark 1-0 for its first overall Long Island championship.

“He throws strikes,” Nobles said of Murtha, who has committed to Notre Dame. “Taking pitches wasn’t on our agenda. That was not part of the game plan. I wanted my guys to be aggressive.”

Manderson was just that at the plate, and on the mound. He gave up singles in the fourth and sixth, struck out seven and walked three in his second postseason shutout. Manderson hurled a two-hitter in a 4-0 sectional semifinal win over Queensbury, and spun a three-hitter and allowed one earned run in a 4-2 regional win over Whitesboro.

“He [Manderson] is very efficient. He throws first-pitch strikes,” Nobles said. “He keeps pitches down and gets double play balls. Most of all, he’s a competitor.”

Manderson doubled in the third inning and scored on a single by Rhoden, who later scored on a wild pitch for a 4-0 lead.

“We knew they [Sayville] were a good offensive team,” Gold said. “To get those two in the first and third, that helped our momentum.”

Coleman Hinman singled with one down in the sixth and Anthony DeVizzio reached on an error. Michael Poirier followed with a two-run double, Fox hit an RBI single, and Gold launched his second long homer, this one to left. Manderson connected moments later.

“That was awesome,” Gold said. “We got guys on and had a couple of big swings to get them in.”

“I’m not totally surprised,” Nobles said of Ballston Spa’s long ball show. “I pitch to these guys every day. In BP they were hitting some deep shots. They can hit.”

Sayville only had one base runner reach third. That was Murtha, who started the fourth with a single, took second on a one-out wild pitch, and stole third with two down. Manderson recorded a strikeout to get out of the inning.

Ballston Spa and Maine-Endwell will play Saturday at 10 a.m. at Binghamton University. Maine-Endwell posted a 5-4 semifinal win over Canandaigua (Section V, 17-8) earlier Friday.


Brendan Disonell pitched a four-hitter with 14 strikeouts, and Shenendehowa scored all four of its runs in the fourth inning to knock off 2018 state Class AA champion Massapequa (Section VIII, 22-5) 4-1 in a semifinal at Binghamton University.

“This was their third straight year there,” Shenendehowa coach Greg Christodulu. “They were the state champs. They were favored and they were supposed to win, but we had a special guy on the mound today.”

Disonell, a senior, had Massapequa batters off balance throughout his complete-game performance in which he walked one.

“His curve is as good as it’s been,” Christodulu said. “Some of their swings and misses were by two feet. He had them baffled. With each batter, you could see he was taking their spirit away.”

Disonell also brought home a run with a suicide squeeze, and an error enabled another run to score on the play. The four-run fourth also included an RBI single by Thomas Krill.

Shenendehowa (18-7) will take on McQuaid (Section V, 23-2) Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Class AA final at Union-Endicott High School. McQuaid moved on with a 4-3 win over Suffern (Section I, 22-6-1).

Jake Reinisch went 2 for 3 for Shenendehowa, which won its only state baseball title in 2016. Evan Jones will get the starting pitching nod for the Plainsmen Saturday.


With a comeback 6-3 win against Medina (Section VI, 21-3), Schuylerville (18-7) clinched its spot in its first-ever state championship game. Schuylerville will play in Saturday’s 1 p.m. Class B final at Binghamton University against Center Moriches (Section XI, 24-0). Center Moriches edged Susquehanna Valley (Section IV, 19-2) in its semifinal 5-3.

Schuylerville advanced after falling behind 2-0 through the top of the fourth inning. Schuylerville scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, though, and Nate Preston’s RBI single put the Black Horses ahead 3-2 until Media answered with a run the next inning.

Then, in the bottom half of the sixth inning, Schuylerville loaded the bases and Colton Weatherwax put the Black Horses ahead for good with a three-RBI double.

Whitehall (16-2) forged a 5-0 win over South Kortright (Section IV, 16-3) in Class D semifinal play, and Brocton (Section VI, 10-7) beat Lisbon (Section X, 13-4) in the other semi 10-0. Whitehall and Brocton meet Saturday at 1 p.m. at Union-Endicott.



Massapequa 000 001 0 — 1 4 4

Shenendehowa 000 400 x — 4 3 2



Sayville 000 000 — 0 2 1

Ballston Spa 202 006 — 10 10 1



Medina 100 101 0 — 3 5 0

Schuylerville 000 213 X — 6 9 0



So. Kortright 000 000 0 — 0 2 2

Whitehall 100 040 x — 5 5 0

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

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