Three things to know about Game 3 of the Section 2 baseball Class AA championship series

Two baseball players react

Saratoga Springs' Pat McKinley, right, celebrates with Orion Lansing, left, after scoring the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning in the first game of the Section 2 Class AA championship series against Shenendehowa on Wednesday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

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TROY — There has never been a Game 3 of the Section 2 Class AA championship series, until now.

After Saratoga Springs took Game 1 on Wednesday, Shenendehowa roared back to take Game 2 on Friday. With the series tied, the top two Class AA seeds return to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Sunday at 7 p.m. for a winner-take-all game.

Not only will Sunday’s contest be for the Section 2 AA crown, but it will be for the I-87 Cup and the right to play in the state tournament.


In high school baseball, it’s rare to see a team play perfect defense. However, typically the team that makes the fewest mistakes is the one that comes out on top.

During Saratoga Springs’ 2022 championship run, not only did the Blue Streaks get timely hits, but they played spectacular defense.

In the first game of the series on Wednesday, Saratoga Springs edged Shenendehowa 3-2, with the difference in the game being one more mistake made by the Plainsmen.

In the second game, a costly, two-out error by the Blue Streaks allowed Shenendehowa to take the lead, opening the floodgates for a game that turned into a 10-2 blowout.


Sunday’s game is expected to feature a pitching matchup between Saratoga Springs’ ace Michael Mack and Shenendehowa’s Nino Salati.

While Mack was named the 2023 Suburban Council Pitcher of the Year for a reason, both players will give their team a chance to win.

Over the course of his junior season, Mack has gone 8-0, with six complete games. Four of those six have been complete game shutouts. He has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 89-15 and has allowed just four earned runs over 55 2-3 innings — a 0.50 ERA.

Salati has pitched 33 innings for the Plainsmen to a 1.06 ERA. In six starts, he is 2-1 with 27 strikeouts and six walks.

His only loss came to Saratoga Springs on May 5, a game the Plainsmen dropped 7-1 after making four errors.

When Mack takes the mound on Sunday, it will be the third time Shenendehowa has seen him this season, after pitching the league game on May 5 and Game 1 of the series on Wednesday. Sunday will mark the second time the Blue Streaks have seen Salati.

Both pitchers  will go into the game with a plan on how they want to attack and execute pitches. That could mean using different pitch sequences or trying to locate in different spots. Maybe they’ll attempt to add some extra motions to their windup, à la Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. Maybe the plan will simply be to continue what’s worked in the past and just go right at hitters.


Austin Caldwell, Shenendehowa’s No. 3 hitter, has collected four hits so far in the series, with two in each game.

Caldwell has a .418 batting average this season, with eight doubles and 16 RBIs. He has drawn 15 walks for a .536 on-base percentage.

On Friday, Jason Clawson went 2 for 4 with a triple and four RBIs.

Ethan Farina, who homered in Game 1, leads Shenendehowa with 29 hits. He has been hit by seven pitches this season, for a .448 on-base percentage. The only Plainsmen to have been hit by more pitches is Thomas Hall, with nine.

Ben McKinley has led Saratoga Springs with a pair of hits in each game, with four in the series. Raul Rodriguez and Pat McKinley have each collected three hits apiece.

Rodriguez has a .329 batting average this season and a .433 on-base percentage. Mack, who has a .324 batting average and .415 on-base, got the big hit in the first game of the series to provide Saratoga Springs with a 3-2 lead.

Categories: -Sports-, High School Sports, Sports

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