BALLSTON SPA — CBA’s objective going into every baseball game is to turn little victories into a big one at the end.
“That is something we stress,” Brothers coach Casey O’Connor said after Friday’s 13-1 Suburban Council win at Ballston Spa. “We have a philosophy of winning every inning. I never won every inning and lost a game.”
CBA didn’t win them all Friday, but had the upper hand in more than enough as part of a win in a game that matched two of the league’s top teams.
CBA junior shortstop Ryan Bilka belted a grand slam, and Michael O’Shaughnessy followed with a solo shot as part of a seven-run second inning. CBA pushed five more runs across in the third.
By the time CBA was done batting in the third, six of its players had stepped to plate three times, while Ballston Spa had yet to complete a turn through its order.
“We were locked in from inning No. 1,” O’Connor said. “We didn’t score in the first, but we hit the ball hard, and we took off from there.”
CBA (6-2 league, 10-2 overall) was still smarting from Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to Averill Park when it stepped onto the Ballston Spa field.
“We came in and wanted to do some damage,” Bilka said.
Two runs were already on the board when Ballston Spa starter Andrew Kramer walked back-to-back batters to load the bases for Bilka. He took the second pitch he saw over the left-center field fence, and O’Shaughnessy homered to the opposite field in left afterward.
“When I was 12 years old, I hit a bunch,” Bilka said of his grand slam. “I never hit one on a big field. It felt great.”
Bilka batted with the bases loaded again in the third inning and hit an RBI single, and again in the sixth and popped out.
“I was honestly trying to do it again,” Bilka said of his third-inning at-bat against Ballston Spa reliever Nate Kolodziejski. “I fouled off the first two pitches, but after it got to 3-2, I didn’t try to do too much. I took what the pitcher gave me.”
And that last opportunity with the bases loaded?
“I was swinging too big,” Bilka said after finishing with three hits.
Michael Palumbo had two hits and two RBIs for the Brothers, and Luke Szepek had two hits and an RBI. Palumbo capped the third-inning outburst with a two-run single.
“At the end of the day, they outplayed us,” Ballston Spa coach Curtis Nobles said. “They were ready to play. We were not ready to play.”
CBA starter, and winner, CJ Kuentzel gave up five hits, walked one, and struck out 10 with a pair of Ks in each of the five innings he worked.
“Their starter kept our guys off-balance,” Nobles said.
Chance Checca, who played a significant role on Ballston Spa’s 2019 state Class A title-winning team as a sophomore, had two hits. The Scotties (6-3, 6-3) got their only run on a seventh-inning wild pitch.
Nobles had the final score remain on the scoreboard for quite a while after the game was over.
“We are going to take this and learn from it,” Nobles said. “That’s why I kept the score on the scoreboard. Hopefully this will resonate with the guys that they can’t just show up.”
CBA 075 000 1 — 13 13 0
Ballston Spa 000 000 1 — 1 6 3