Baseball has its own language — heat, blooper, can of corn, frozen rope — that’s all acceptable to Ballston Spa baseball coach Curtis Nobles.
There is some newer baseball vernacular that he can do without, such as launch angle and exit velocity.
“The little nuances of the game — the bunt, hitting and running, slashing [at a pitch] — all the little things are getting dismissed,” Nobles said last week at the Suburban Council baseball media night at Shaker High School. “I feel not just in New York State. I feel like all over the country, a lot of high school kids are dropping [the barrel of the bat] and driving a lot more. You don’t see your traditional line-drive hitters as much as you used to.”
That less-is-more philosophy will be followed by this year’s Scotties.
“We’re not going to be a team that swings for the fences,” Nobles said. “We’re just going to try to maximize our barrel and try to find holes in the defense.”
Ballston Spa captured its first-ever state title in 2019 in Class A. Then, the 2020 season was canceled due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the Scotties’ 2021 campaign ended with a loss to Shaker in the Section II Class AA quarterfinals.
“We don’t have the bats that we had in 2019, but I feel like with . . . guys playing team offense versus individual offense, that will give us our best opportunity to win games,” Nobles said.
Ballston Spa opens up league play at Averill Park on Monday.
BURNT HILLS HOPES BIG WINS ADD UP TO POSTSEASON ADVANTAGE
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake is one of three Suburban Council schools that plays postseason baseball in Class A, while the remainder of the schools are in Class AA.
“In those big AA games we want to compete,” Burnt Hills coach Josh Hadcock said. “I know that these kids play with a lot of those players over the summer and they know how to compete. When we play those big schools, it should mean something.”
A win by Class A programs Burnt Hills, Troy or Averill Park against any of the remaining 12 Suburban Council Class AA schools can pay dividends in postseason seeding, too. The Section II baseball tournament seeding is based on a points system, and any win for a Class A team against a Class AA opponent gives the Class A school a bonus point.
“I don’t want to go to these games and say we’re little Burnt Hills, a little Class A school and we’re just happy to be here,” Hadcock said. “That’s not my mentality and that’s not the mentality of these guys. They are amped up, they want to play and they like to beat them.”
Burnt Hills opens up league play at Albany, a Class AA school, on Monday.
SHEN LOOKS FOR A LONGER POSTSEASON RUN
Last year’s quarterfinal loss to rival Saratoga Springs on its home field lingers in the minds of Shenendehowa baseball players as something they don’t want to repeat.
“It’s always on our minds. It’s really unfortunate that we had to leave that early.” senior pitcher Nick Jos said. “None of us wanted to leave that early.”
No. 10-seeded Saratoga dropped No. 2 Shenendehowa 4-2 in Clifton Park, the earliest postseason exit in 10 years under head coach Greg Christodulu for the Plainsmen.
“We left 12 runners on base in that game; every inning, we had people in scoring position,” Christodulu said. “We may not have played our best, but you have to.”
The Plainsmen return 11 seniors, all of whom were part of last year’s early exit.
“We’ve been putting in a ton of work over the winter and pre-season, setting us up to do our best in the regular season and then the playoffs,” Jos said. “At that point, we have to trust our preparation and let our play take care of where we end up.”
Shenendehowa opens up its 2022 campaign Monday against Niskayuna at Schenectady’s Central Park A Diamond.