With seven straight wins, Shenendehowa is playing a pretty good brand of baseball.
Here’s something for the rest of the Suburban Council to ponder. The Plainsmen believe they can perform a whole lot better, and are determined to do so.
“We want to get to the point where we’re doing everything well and win a championship,” Aaron Kalish said after Friday’s 8-0 win over Colonie. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do. Hopefully, we can keep building.”
The Plainsmen used some small ball to build a second-inning lead against the Garnet Raiders, and Matt Bloise provided the power two frames later with a two-run home run.
That was part of a big effort from the back end of Shenendehowa’s lineup. Kalish scattered four hits, and Shenendehowa turned in a superb defensive performance behind the senior righty, who faced the minimum through five innings.
“They’re probably one of the best teams in the state right now,” said Colonie coach
Kevin Halburian. “They’re pitching. They’re hitting. They don’t make errors. That’s a tough combination.”
“Coach grinds us in practice to get where we are,” said Bloise.
Shenendehowa coach Greg Christodulu, who guided his team to last season’s Section II Class AA title, intends to keep at it.
“We’re still not hitting on all cylinders. We need to communicate better. We can improve our baserunning and understanding situations. We can have better at-bats. They guys are grinding, but we need better quality at-bats,” he said. “I’m confident with our talent level. We need to follow the plan a little better.”
Shenendehowa did more than enough to extend its league mark to 5-0. Bloise lifted a sacrifice fly to go with his line-drive homer over the left-field fence, Brad Pearson had a double and two RBI, Josh Hayner had two singles and two RBI and Conner Douglas had two singles and an RBI.
“We’ve got some guys in the lower half of the lineup swinging very well,” said Christodulu.
All eight RBI and seven of Shenendehowa’s 11 hits came from the five through nine batters. Bloise batted eighth, followed by Pearson.
“We have a very deep lineup,” said Bloise, a senior right fielder. “One through three isn’t our main threat. It’s one through nine. No matter who’s up, we can produce runs.”
Kalish kept Colonie (2-3, 3-3) from doing the same when he got a bases-loaded flyout to end the contest. Kalish pitched one-hit ball through five innings and finished with three strikeouts and four walks.
“He had command of all three pitches, and he kept a good rhythm,” said Christodulu, who saw Kalish fire first-pitch strikes to 21 of 26 batters. “He was getting tired, but give credit. He reached back and finished it off.”
ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove-winning shortstop Justin Yurchak started a 6-4-3 double play to end the Colonie second, and Pearson threw out potential base stealers to end the Garnet Raiders’ third and fourth.
“Throwing guys out. Double plays. We just played very solid defense,” said Kalish. “That’s why we won the game.”
Colonie center fielder Ryan Osterhout made two fantastic grabs. The senior ran back and dove for a long drive in the first inning to rob Kyle McAlone of extra bases, and raced toward right field and sprawled for a catch in the fifth on Bloise’s sacrifice fly.
“We started him in left and moved him over because he’s got speed and range,” said Halburian. “He’s made several great catches.”
Ben Contento doubled to deep center in the seventh for Colonie’s lone extra base hit. C.J. Leisenfelder took the loss in his first varsity start.
“I think we’re going to make a run,” said Halburian, whose Garnet Raiders beat Columbia Monday and lost to Shaker Thursday. “I feel good about this team. We’ve got a lot of things going for us. We’ll be fine.”
Colonie 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Shenendehowa 010 241 x — 8 11 0
Leisenfelder, Szesnat (5), Obercon (6) and Rowland; Kalish and Pearson.