AMSTERDAM — In four of seven innings, Averill Park was held hitless by Amsterdam in their Section II Class A baseball tournament quarterfinal game Friday at Rao Family Stadium at Shuttleworth Park.
However, the fifth-seeded Warriors were able to put three hits on the board in the second and fifth innings, where they scored all four of their runs in a 4-0 victory over the fourth-seeded Rams.
“We stung a couple, and they made the plays,” Averill Park coach George Brooks said. “We could have gotten frustrated, but we stayed focused and came up with some clutch hits when we needed them.”
Amsterdam struck out just once, but the Warriors’ defense was flawless, playing error-free ball and turning three double plays.
“Their defense was great. They shut it down on us,” Amsterdam coach Rob Hisert said. “We only struck out once, so we put the ball in play. They played well defensively.”
Averill Park starter Aidan McCue scattered four hits, walked two and hit two batters to earn the complete-game win.
“That’s essentially his game. He pitches to contact, and the defense gets the outs behind him,” Brooks said.
After a scoreless first inning, the Warriors got three straight two-out singles to plate the first runs of the games.
Jake Kellar, Matt DeJulio and Mike Wormuth all had two-out singles for Averill Park. Kellar’s single scored McCue, who had reached after getting hit by a pitch. DeJulio and Kellar scored on a single by Wormuth to make it 3-0.
“They had some hits that fell in, and we gave them some opportunities,” Hisert said. “They took advantage of those opportunities.”
Amsterdam registered its first hit of the game when Manny Santos led off the fourth with a single to left. Santos then stole second and third. The Rams put two runners on when Noah Marshall reached on an infield single. However, he was thrown out trying to steal second for the second out of the inning.
Ryan Reagan drew a two-out walk for Amsterdam, but Averill Park got out of the inning when McCue got Brady Foss to fly out to center.
“We stayed aggressive on the bases, but that was part of the learning curve,” Hisert said.
Averill Park added to its lead in the top of the fifth when Alex Yash scored on a two-out wild pitch after initially reaching on a single.
Brady Mazzeo and McCue added singles in the inning, but Amsterdam held the Warriors to one run to trail 4-0 after five innings.
“Both teams hit the ball. Their hits fell in and ours didn’t,” Hisert said. “Sometimes you just lose the game.”
Averill Park got a two-out triple in the top of the seventh from Steve Koval, but Amsterdam starter Noah Marshall escaped the inning by getting a groundout from Mazzeo.
In its final at-bat, Amsterdam got one-out singles from Reagan and Foss, but Averill Park turned its third and final double play to end the game.
This time, it was Willett who fielded a ground ball hit by the Rams’ Jake Nasadowski and landed on the seat of his pants before throwing to shortstop Nick Galuski at second for the first out. Galuski then fired to first for the game-ending out.
“Our defense played well today,” Brooks said. “I would have liked to have had a few more hits, but we made the most of the ones we had.”
Marshall allowed seven hits, struck out two, walked two and hit another batter in seven innings of work for Amsterdam.
“Their pitcher did a fantastic job of working to keep us off balance,” Brooks said of Marshall’s effort.
Averill Park (15-6 overall) advances to the Class A semifinals to face top-seeded Scotia-Glenville on Monday at East Side Rec in Saratoga Springs.
“All of the teams left are good teams,” Brooks said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to do the best we can and see what happens.”
Amsterdam finished its season with an 11-7 overall record.
“We only have five seniors,” Hisert said. “We have a lot of guys coming back. We’re excited about the future.”
Averill Park 030 010 0 — 4 7 0
Amsterdam 000 000 0 — 0 4 1