TROY — For the first time, the Section 2 Class AA championship series is headed to a third game.
Shenendehowa’s bats came alive on Friday night at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium to defeat Saratoga Springs 10-2 in the second game of the championship series.
“It’s so cool,” said Shenendehowa starting pitcher James Redick on pushing the series to the third game. “I think it’s so great that we play a three-game series. It really allows the best team to move on. I’m so excited for Sunday.”
Saratoga Springs started off the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, using a leadoff single by Raul Rodriguez, a walk to Ben McKinley and an RBI single by Pat McKinley to take a 1-0 lead.
Shenendehowa responded by scoring 10 consecutive runs over the next five innings, taking control of Game 2.
“It was a little bit of a hiccup in the first inning,” said Redick. “I honestly think that ball hit a rock or something, that was the craziest hop I’ve seen in a long time. I knew we were going to come back and that our bats would come out and get the job done.”
Shenendehowa’s two runs in the second inning came with two outs, on a costly fielding error by Saratoga Springs. Jason Clawson and Evan Kochanskyj tacked on RBI singles in the third inning, as the Plainsmen took a 4-1 lead.
Austin Caldwell joined in on the hit-parade with RBI single for Shenendehowa in the fourth. In the fifth inning, Thomas Hall doubled off the top of the left field wall, nearly missing a home run. He settled for an RBI and a 6-1 Plainsmen lead.
Clawson blew the game open in the sixth inning with a three-run triple, who then scored on a sacrifice fly by Kochanskyj, as Shenendehowa led 10-1.
“We had a strategy,” said Redick, Shenendehowa’s ace, who was held back to start the second game of the series. “It’s a best-of-three series, and it was definitely the right move. It’s awesome to get the win.
“We had Shields pitching [Game 1], and I think he had a sub-1 ERA in 29 innings going into that game. He’s been unbelievable. I don’t think it was holding me back, as much as it was showing the depth of our pitching rotation. We have so many guys who can get the job done, and I think that’s where we have a leg up on ‘Toga. Obviously, Michael [Mack] has been unbelievable this year, Pitcher of the Year and he totally deserves it, but when it comes to the whole team, I think we have a deeper squad.”
Redick went six innings, allowing five hits and one earned run. He struck out nine and walked three to earn the win.
Redick, a junior Fordham commit, is now 7-0 this year with a 0.98 ERA over 42 2-3 innings.
The Blue Streaks took advantage of an error in the sixth inning, getting their second run across, but it was too little, too late.
Zach Messier recorded the final three outs in the victory for Shenendehowa.
Caldwell and Kochanskyj each had two hits for Shenendehowa, while Clawson had two hits and four RBIs.
Ben McKinley and Pat McKinley each had two hits for Saratoga Springs. Christian Mello took the loss for the Blue Streaks after going 3 1-3 innings. He was charged with five runs, two of which were earned.
The top two AA seeds will return to The Joe on Sunday at 7 p.m. for the third game of the series, in a winner-take-all contest.
“This is what the three game series is all about,” said Shenendehowa coach Greg Christodulu. “You’ve still got to come out and play good baseball and play good defense. Then you have to take advantage of your opportunities.”
Friday’s win snapped a four-game losing streak to Saratoga Springs for the Plainsmen, dating back to the Class AA semifinals last season.
“Today was a great confidence builder,” Christodulu said. “We had to find a way to beat Saratoga, and we did tonight. It was a good plan that we put together and we’re going to have to come up with a plan on Sunday to beat their number one guy.”
Saratoga Springs will likely start junior ace Michael Mack, while Shenendhowa has penciled in senior Nino Salati.
“We’ve had a ton of at-bats against Mike,” Redick said. “He’s thrown 14 innings against us and Nino’s been good all year. We’ve got all the trust in the world in him.”
Shenendehowa 022 114 0 — 10 9 1
Saratoga Springs 100 001 0 — 2 6 2
COLUMBIA DEFEATS ALBANY ACADEMY IN 10TH FOR CLASS A CROWN
Columbia mounted a late comeback in the Section 2 Class A championship game against Albany Academy, eventually overcoming the Cadets in a 10-inning thriller.
The Blue Devils used a two-run single by Steven Heller in the top of the seventh to tie the game 3-3 , forcing extra innings.
Columbia had RBI singles in the top of the 10th from John DelGrosso and Korin Laurilla, as they took a 5-3 lead.
Andrew Gabriel, who tossed the final two innings for Columbia, was able to secure the Class A title for the Blue Devils, who got to celebrate after Jacob Skarlis secured a pop-up at second base to end the game.
Geneo Savoca pitched the first seven innings of the game for Albany Academy, allowing three runs on six hits, while recording nine strikeouts. Scott Hanson pitched three innings in relief for the Cadets, allowing the two runs in the top of the 10th.
Skarlis went five innings in the start for Columbia, allowing three runs. Elias Conway struck out five over three scoreless innings of relief, before Gabriel took over.
Conway also went 3 for 5 at the plate, while Gabriel and Laurilla each had two hits and an RBI.
Savoca, Ty Kimbler and Nico DiSanto all had two hits apiece for Albany Academy.