Bob Anderson stayed true to character and never mentioned it in his pep talk leading up to Schalmont’s season-opening Colonial Council baseball game with Watervliet Thursday.
There was no talk of a milestone among the veteran Sabres, either, as they warmed up earlier with country music blaring over a loudspeaker.
“No need. We all knew it was a special day,” said Schalmont senior Greg Musk. “We knew what was on the line, and we came out and played hard.”
The Sabres played exceptionally well, too. They bunched runs early and gave up next to nothing in beating the Cannoneers, 10-0, for Anderson’s 300th coaching win at Bruce Bouck Memorial Field.
Musk pitched a one-hitter and faced the minumum 21 batters, and also doubled to kick-start a four-run first inning and a three-run second.
“Not getting it last year, that was tough. That would have been nice,” Anderson said of a 3-1, nine-inning loss to Ogdensburg Free Academy in the state regionals. “To wait all winter long and then get delayed, it’s just nice to be playing baseball.”
After two scrimmages and five games were postponed, Anderson’s 20th season with the Schalmont varsity couldn’t have started better. Musk was perfect through the first two innings, and the Sabres struck quickly, with John Pascarella drilling a two-run triple and Chris Hamilton and Joe Wignot delivering RBI doubles in the early burst.
“Two monsters to start,” said Watervliet coach Pete Strand, whose Cannoneers lost to defending Section II C champion Voorheesville Wednesday before bowing to the reigning area Class B titlists Thursday. “Two good ball clubs.”
Schalmont has been fielding quality clubs for years, with eight of the last nine winning 15 games or more. The Sabres won 20 games last season, which included the program’s first regional triumph over Beekmantown. Musk got the decision in that contest.
“[Assistant coach] John Casso has been with me every year except the first year,” said Anderson. “A lot of help. A lot of good players. That’s how you get 300.”
Anderson became the second Schalmont coach to notch 300 wins. Bruce Bouck, who Anderson played for, reached that milestone in 1989 and passed away soon after.
“Bruce meant a lot to me,” said Anderson. “It’s nice to be equal with him, but it’s tugging at me a little because he was Schalmont baseball.”
Musk was thinking about his coach when he took the mound. The lefty struck out 10, walked none, gave up a third-inning single to C.J. Gaudette and hit Taylor Dockstader with a pitch in the fourth. Musk picked Gaudette off, and Dockstader was caught stealing on a strong throw by Anthony Yezzo.
“Throw strikes and get coach his 300th win,” said Musk. “My fastball was workintg, my curve was off and on, and I mixed in a few knuckleballs.”
“That was special,” Anderson said of Musk, who went 3-for-4 and scored three times. “He’s been with me for four years. I had his brother. His mom is the team mom. I’m proud of the way he led us to start the season.”
Watervliet 000 000 0 — 0 1 2
Schalmont 432 100 x — 10 12 0
McCumber, Sandoval (5) and Dockstader; Musk and Yezzo.