Too many nasty curveballs from Saratoga Catholic pitcher Billy McDonough, too many clutch hits by the Saints and way too many Mechanicville errors resulted in a one-sided 11-3 Saints’ triumph Saturday in the Section II Class B semifinals at The College of Saint Rose’s Bob Bellizzi Field.
McDonough was sharp all afternoon, and went the distance despite tiring in the seventh inning. He struck out eight, walked just one and scattered eight hits to send the Saints to their fifth Class B final. Saratoga Catholic (20-2) also reached the 20-win plateau for the seventh time since 2000.
“Billy’s got the guts of a burglar on the mound,” said Saratoga Catholic coach Phonsey Lambert. “Last year, we faced 23-1 Chatham in the finals, and we started Billy. He got us through the first five innings, just like we knew he would. We knew we would be in the game with him on the mound. He’s a smart pitcher. Today, he threw his curve for strikes, and that was the key. Also, I think we proved we can hit the curveball ourselves, and we also proved we could hit lefties.”
Mechanicville (16-7) started lefty Sam DeCelle, who broke off some fine curves himself in the first two innings. But after the Red Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the third on a double by Adam Kraszewski and a single to center by DeCelle, Saratoga Catholic took advantage of some defensive miscues to break the game open.
In the bottom of the third, Brad Scammel walked and Dale Long ripped a liner off Mechanicville first baseman Alex Grayson’s glove. Grayson chased the ball down and made an errant throw to third, allowing Scammel to score. The Red Raiders’ left fielder then tried to throw Long out at third, but the ball got loose, and Long came all the way around to score. After Jack Keller was hit by a pitch, Dylan Anderson tripled to center to score a run, and then Chris Pescetti plated Anderson with a grounder to second to give the Saints a 4-1 lead.
Saratoga Catholc stretched its lead to 6-1 with the help of another Mechanicville error and an RBI single by Keller.
A two-run double by Long and another RBI single by Keller off Mechanicville reliever Dylan Guido gave the Saints a comfortable 9-1 advantage, and they tacked on two more in the sixth on an RBI double by McDonough and a sacrifice fly by Scammel.
Mechanicville picked up two more runs in the seventh on a single by Tyler Cook, an RBI double by Kraszewski and a groundout by DeCelle.
“I’m so proud of my guys,” said Lambert. “We lost five big-time players who started for us last year, and to get to this level again is a credit to these guys. They didn’t want to be denied from having a chance to defend their title.”
“My curve was my out pitch today,” said McDonough. “I knew they [the Raiders] had some good hitters, and I didn’t take anyone lightly. I think my curve kept them off balance”
Mechanicville coach Tom McBride admitted his team’s defensive lapses hurt the Raiders’ chances.
“We’ve been telling the guys all week that it would take talent and determination to win, and I knew we had both of them, but that the key was execution. We couldn’t afford to have that nightmare inning, but unfortunately, we did have that nightmare inning, and it hurt us, especially against an outstanding team like Saratoga Catholic. We just didn’t execute, but we had a lot of good moments this season, and I’m happy with the way we played all year.”
Mechanicville 001 000 2 — 3 8 4
Saratoga Catholic 004 232 x — 11 13 1
DeCelle, Guido (4), Gaetano (6) and Hipwell; McDonough and Keller.