Long bus rides. Unfamiliar opponents. Final exams. Nothing stopped Albany Academy from securing a spot in the state baseball semifinals.
One day after a long bus ride to Canton for a regional semifinal, the Cadets easily dispatched Section VII champion Saranac, 11-0, Wednesday at Bleecker Stadium.
The regional final win put Dave Rider’s 17-5 Cadets in a Saturday morning state Class B semifinal in the Binghamton area against Section I champion Briarcliff.
“We drove 41⁄2 hours yesterday. We didn’t pull into school until 12:30,” Rider said. “I slept in my office today. I don’t know what the kids were doing.
“We also have a lot of kids still taking final exams. As a coach, it’s not the ideal condition to get ready.”
Not to worry.
Junior right-hander Ben Brown threw a three-hitter, senior shortstop Justin Brock went 4-for-4 and scored three runs and senior third baseman Tyler Hynes had an RBI single and a two-run double. The Cadets took a quick 4-0 lead and made it even easier on themselves by adding two more runs in the second inning and five in the fourth as they batted around.
Hynes’ RBI single, a two-run double from Ian Bennett and a run-scoring groundout by Robert Lasch gave Academy a 4-0 lead after one inning. All nine starters had at hit, drove in a run or scored a run.
It was more than enough for Brown.
“I felt good, really in a rhythm,” he said. “It’s exciting. An Academy team has never won a regional final.”
“Not knowing these teams, it’s interesting. You’ve got to come in with an open mind and be ready to go every game,” said Brock, who was in the middle of all three rallies. “That was the first time all year everybody swung the bat like that.”
“I was very, very pleased with the offense,” said Rider. “It’s been a couple of weeks since we swung the bats like that. That was nice.”
“You try to get out and jump on them early, we were fortunate and did that,” said Hynes. “It makes it a lot easier when you’re playing with a big lead.”
Brown made it even easier. He retired 11 in a row and 15 of the last 16 Chiefs he faced.
“Ben pitched well,” said Hynes, who has committed to play hockey at Union College beginning with the 2013-14 season. “Once he gets in that rhythm, he’s tough.”
“He’s capable of throwing those kind of games,” Rider said. “He’s efficient, he throws strikes. He kept pounding the zone and throwing strikes.”
Brown’s efficiency allows Rider to start Ted Smallwood in Saturday’s semi, with everyone else rested and available.
“You’re thinking, ‘How long should I let him go?’ ” Rider said. “You know you’ve got to win this game. Fortunately, he didn’t overthrow.”
“It was brutal,” said Hynes of the schedule. “I think we’re going to sleep good tonight. It makes it better when you know you’re going to Binghamton.”
Blackbirds also win
Voorheesville beat Section VII’s Ticonderoga, 19-0, in its Class C regional final at SUNY-Plattsburgh, giving the Colonial Council two teams in the state final four.
The 19-5 Blackbirds finished with 20 hits and scored in every inning in earning the first regional baseball title in school history,
Kevin Connolly led the way with six runs batted in. J.D. Springer knocked in five, and both Mike Hennessey and Zach Childs delivered three more runs.
“These guys are so excited,” said Blackbirds coach Kyle Turski. “They won the school’s first Section II title, first regional title. Now they’re going to the states.”
Fort Ann also was an easy winner, downing Section X’s Parishville-Hopkinton, 13-2, in a Class D regional final.
Glens Falls saw its Class A regional final with Section III’s New Hartford postponed due to unplayable conditions at Delutis Field in Rome. The teams will try again today at 4:30.
ALBANY ACADEMY 11, SARANAC 0
Saranac 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
Albany Academy 420 500 x — 11 13 1
Rascoe, Favreau (3) and Weightman; Brown and Eglow.
Voorheesville 111 352 6 — 19 20 0
Ticonderoga 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Scaccia, Nicols (6) and Chiseri; Lenhast, Wright (4), Woods (5) and Bush.