SARATOGA SPRINGS — Averill Park’s first trip through the lineup against Scotia-Glenville pitcher Aidan Streeter during Monday night’s Section II Class A baseball semifinal didn’t result in much success.
The second time around? That went significantly better for the Warriors.
The third time around? Even better.
“I think that helps me a lot, personally,” Averill Park shortstop Nicholas Galuski said. “Once I’ve seen a pitcher one at-bat, the next one’s a lot easier.”
On Averill Park’s second trip through the lineup, Galuski followed Michael Wormuth’s double with a game-tying RBI single in the top of the third inning. The next time around, Galuski’s RBI single — with an error allowing another run to score — keyed a four-run fourth that put the Warriors in front for good en route to an 8-3 victory at East Side Recreational Park.
Averill Park will face Mohonasen, an 8-7 winner over Troy in Monday’s first Class A semifinal, in the championship game Friday at 4 p.m. at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy.
Averill Park (No. 5 seed, 16-6 overall) gave starting pitcher Mazzeo more than enough breathing room to work with, as the junior pitcher limited Scotia-Glenville (No. 1, 12-7) to a run on two hits over five-plus innings.
Mazzeo struck out eight and twice escaped crucial jams — in the first and fifth — while only surrendering one run.
“This is the best I’ve felt in a while,” Mazzeo said. “Early in the season, I couldn’t really pitch a lot of innings, because my elbow hurt. I came out today, and it felt good. . . . Yesterday, I threw a bullpen and I felt great. I actually just started to throw my slider yesterday, and I threw it all game [tonight] and it worked well. Just had it going from last night.”
“He pitched really well,” Galuski said. “He pretty much carried us.”
Scotia-Glenville had a chance for a big inning in the first thanks to an error and a pair of walks, but could only scratch out one run as Kyle Brown scored on the back end of a double steal after Derek Robinson was thrown out at second.
“There was a little bit of luck in there, too,” Mazzeo said of his escape. “But, hey, that’s baseball.”
“Their kid [Mazzeo] pitched well,” Scotia-Glenville coach John Striffler said. “It was tough to get timing off of that.”
While the Tartans struggled against Mazzeo, Averill Park consistently found gaps — and got a few good breaks. Matt Dejulio had a looping double just drop in to lead off the decisive top of the fourth, and a two-run sixth was kickstarted when Alex Yash hit a pop-up to left-center that the entire Scotia-Glenville outfield — and Striffler — lost in the lights before it fell for a double.
“They hit them where they ain’t, so to speak,” Striffler said.
Ethan Nardacci had three singles for Averill Park, while Galuski, Yash and Koval collected two hits apiece. Wormuth doubled, drove in two runs and scored two out of the leadoff spot.
Brown singled twice for the Tartans, while Robinson and Colin Greely each had RBI singles during a mini-rally in the bottom of the seventh that saw Scotia-Glenville bring the potential tying run into the on-deck circle before Averill Park reliever Hunter Willett ended things with a strikeout.
It put an end to a resurgent season for Scotia-Glenville, which fought its way to a Foothills Council championship during the regular season.
“It was a great season,” Striffler said. “In very competitive Section II baseball, being a semifinalist is nothing to be ashamed about.”
Averill Park 001 412 0 — 8 12 1
Scotia-Glenville 100 000 2 — 3 8 2