For the Broadalbin-Perth baseball team, just getting into the playoffs isn’t the measuring stick anymore.
There were years in recent memory that the Patriots’ season-long strategy was based around scrounging up just enough wins to make sure they’d qualified for the Section II Class B tournament.
With the area playoffs eschewing qualification standards for an open format this spring, that’s not a concern for coach R.J. Pingitore and the Patriots — but not because of that change. The program’s evolved beyond that, he said, from hoping to pick off just enough wins in the Foothills Council that they’d qualify for the postseason to challenging for league and, hopefully, Section II championships.
“We’ve kind of gotten away from trying to squeak in,” Pingitore said Monday following Broadalbin-Perth’s game at Scotia-Glenville. “Really, we have bigger goals for ourselves. We want to win a sectional championship. We want to win a Foothills championship.”
To that end, Pingitore set up an extraordinarily ambitious schedule for this season.
In a spring season compacted by changes in the high school sports calendar brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic, Pingitore crammed 20 regular-season contests — 13 Foothills Council games, plus seven non-league matchups — into a 30-day stretch.
And, in scheduling those non-league games, Pingitore didn’t tread lightly. He purposely sought out games against contenders from larger classifications like Class AA’s Saratoga Springs and Class A’s Albany Academy, along with Class B tests against the likes of Fonda-Fultonville, Coxsackie-Athens and Schalmont.
“We really wanted to battle-test ourselves,” said Pingitore, a 2012 Broadalbin-Perth graduate. “We really wanted to test ourselves to see what team we really have, so when it comes to sectional time, we’ve seen better arms and we’ve seen the best teams around.”
It’s an experience that the team is relishing.
“It gets us ready for what we’ve got coming in sectionals,” junior infielder and pitcher Mike Magliocca said. “We’re seeing those bigger schools, better players. Overall, it’s a better schedule for us to get ready.”
After a year away from high school baseball due to the cancellation of the 2020 season, the Patriots don’t have any objections to the breakneck pace of this season.
“It’s definitely different,” senior infielder and pitcher Ryan Visco said, “but I kind of like it.”
“A lot of games, not many practices,” Magliocca said. “We don’t get many [practice] swings, but a lot of game time.”
So far, the Patriots have thrived under the demanding schedule. The team’s four losses are all to teams from larger classifications — Saratoga Springs, Albany Academy, South Glens Falls and Scotia-Glenville. When playing teams from their own classification, the Patriots have been perfect, thanks largely to its offense.
B-P has scored at least 10 runs in seven of its nine wins, with Magliocca, sophomore Ryan Savoie and seniors Visco and Jake Terwilliger leading the lineup.
There are still ups and downs. After starting 9-2 overall and 6-1 in Foothills play, Broadalbin-Perth ran into a familiar bump in the road Monday with a 6-5 walk-off loss to a Scotia-Glenville program that’s often haunted the Patriots.
Magliocca said that the team hoped to use Monday’s frustrating result as motivation as they navigate the final two weeks of the regular season — especially with a home rematch against Scotia-Glenville slated for Wednesday.
“We can move past this one and just think about the next one,” the junior said. “Hopefully, we can keep it rolling until sectionals — and get it going through sectionals.”
That, Pingitore said, is exactly the point of the schedule he signed his team up for.
“The overall goal,” he said, “is to be in position at the end of the year to win a Class B championship.”