Scotia-Glenville’s bid to return to the Class A baseball championship game came down to a matter of inches Saturday.
Queensbury used two bunts to get a five-run fourth inning started, then saw a bases-loaded line drive off the bat of Scotia’s Mitch Forshey’s go directly to second baseman Kyle Gilligan in the sixth as the Spartans held on to beat the Tartans, 8-6, in an “A” semifinal at the Plumeri Sports Complex.
Reed Ferrier’s bases-loaded triple blew open a 4-3 game, and Queensbury held off a seventh-
inning Scotia rally to grab a spot in Thursday’s championship game against Glens Falls. The top-seeded Indians downed Catholic Central, 4-1.
“We dug a hole a little too deep to climb out of,” said Scotia coach John Striffler of his seventh-seeded team. “We hit the ball hard, exactly what they’re asked to do.”
Scotia finished with a 13-12
advantage in hits, but Ferrier had the biggest hit of the game.
Scotia had fought back from a two-run deficit to take a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth. Freshman pitcher Dan Zeglen walked the first hitter of the inning, and the Spartans loaded the bases on a pair of bunts.
After Zeglen walked Charlie Peltz to force in the tying run, Striffler brought in left-hander Anthony Musto to face Ferrier, who ripped a 3-2 pitch to the fence in right-center as his teammates circled the bases for a 6-3 lead.
“We went for the lefty-lefty matchup. It just didn’t work,” said Striffler, who had used his two top pitchers — Forshey and Andy Stuart — in Thursday’s quarterfinal win over Lansingburgh.
“Three walks scored, and most of their hits were on 3-2 [pitches]. It’s tough to pick your spots. You’re going to have to put the ball right down the plate when you have runners on in scoring position.”
Still, Striffler shook his head when recounting his team’s bad luck in that inning, as one bunt barely eluded the dive of catcher Ian Schoonmaker and the second resulted in a baserunner when the Scotia infield didn’t rotate quickly enough.
“They got that one bunt that popped up, and then the other one the second baseman doesn’t cover,” he said. “It’s the baseball gods.”
Ferrier had driven in a run with a groundout in the first inning.
“He’s what you need him to be,” said Queensbury coach Jay Marra of his catcher. “He’ll slap the ball around, and he’s also capable of driving the ball.”
Marra was also forced to go deeper into his staff after his ace, Charlie Peltz, shut out Amsterdam in the previous round. Sophomore Phil Wettersten relieved classmate Zach Parsons to start the fourth inning, and shut the Tartans out until the seventh.
“I was happy the way my two sophomores pitched. They hung in there and got out of some tough situations,” Marra said. “I took a shot, and they came through.
“I figured if I got three innings out of Parsons, with his junk, I’d be happy.”
Wettersten barely survived the sixth, when Scotia hit into two straight third-to-home forceouts after loading the bases. Forshey,
3-for-3 to that point, hit a shot right at Gilligan to end the inning.
“That was the one I wish I had over. That was the one I hit the hardest,” said Forshey.
A two-run double by Stuart and Chris Borden’s RBI single got
Scotia closer, but not close enough, in the seventh.
“We stuck with it, and came back in the last inning. That’s all we could ask for,” Forshey said. “We just came up short.”
Marra had other pitchers warming up in the seventh, but stuck with Wettersten.
“Phil’s got nerves of steel,” Marra said. “I’ve put him in so many tough situations. It doesn’t matter.”
The win was Queensbury’s third of the spring against Scotia. The Spartans won both Foothills Council games early in the season, and Marra remembered how well the Tartans hit the ball.
“In my mind, Scotia is the best hitting team in the league,” he said.
Forshey credits Scotia’s run to the finals last year with readying this year’s team. He fully expects the Tartans to be right back in the sectional picture in his senior year.
“It gives you an idea of how in the playoffs, every pitch, and every aspect of the game, is important,” he said.
Scotia-Glenville 002 100 3 — 6 13 0
Queensbury 110 510 x — 8 12 2
D.Zeglen, Musto (4), Stuart (5) and Schoonmaker; Parsons, Wettersten (4) and Ferrier.