Dan Maynard had just seen a fastball he thought he should have hammered.
Moments earlier, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake coach Rob Duell had told him to find a good pitch to hit, and that might have been it. Instead, it was strike two.
He was fortunate enough to see another, though, and knew what to do with it, depositing it into deep right field for a two-run triple that tied his Spartans up with visiting Niskayuna. Two pitches later, he was trotting home on Ryan Gardy’s sacrifice fly to center in what turned into a 6-3 Burnt Hills Suburban Council win on Monday.
“That third pitch, he left a fastball up, 0-2, and I just put a contact swing on it,” Maynard said. “I hit it good, and I was thinking three out of the box, so I was busting it.”
Maynard finished 1-for-2, adding a walk for the Spartans (6-3 Suburban Council, 7-3 overall).
“The right guy up in the right situation,” Duell said. “He did a good job with his approach, got a good pitch to hit.”
The Spartans took a 1-0 lead in the first on Aaron Delano’s first of three singles, driving in Josh Quesada, who had led off by reaching on a fielding error, then stole second base.
Niskayuna began the second and third innings with runners on first and second with no outs. In the third, the Silver Warriors (7-2, 7-2) capitalized when Pat O’Brien scored on Ryan Feeney’s groundout and Tom Spataro came in on Carmen Caruso’s bloop single to left. They added another run in the fourth as O’Brien’s RBI single to left plated Mike VanHeusen.
On the mound for the Spartans, Gardy threw 81 pitches through five innings. He and the Niskayuna lineup struggled with each other, but he and the defense behind him were able to contain the Silver Warriors. Niskayuna tagged him for six hits, two walks and one batter reached on an error, but only three runs scored.
“That first pitcher, he gave us a tough time out there,” Niskayuna coach John Furey said. “We couldn’t square anything up, really. Our hits, we really just dropped them in. He gave us a good game.”
The Silver Warriors lost their second straight game.
Tommy Favata threw five innings for Niskayuna, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits.
“I thought he did a very good job,” Furey said. “Their top of the order is tough. Then Maynard just cracked one, a timely hit. Getting through that part of the order each time was a challenge.”
Burnt Hills added some insurance in the home sixth. Garrett Snyder and Nick Brennan reached on a throwing error and a walk, respectively, and were bunted over by Cody Mooney. Tyler Dowdle laid down a squeeze bunt, and relief pitcher Brian Toy’s throw to first was errant, allowing Dowdle to reach second while Snyder and Brennan scored.
Mooney worked a quick sixth inning on the mound, as well, and handed the ball over to John Clayton for the seventh. He earned the save, but he had to work for it. The bases were loaded with two out when Joe Apkarian lifted a 1-1 pitch to deep left-center.
Snyder, who stole three bases in the game, laid out for the catch.
“I’ll be honest, bases loaded, I knew John was going to get this kid,” Maynard said. “But he hit the ball, and it just stayed up there. I’m just sitting back there, Garrett’s running over, I’m yelling, ‘Go, go, go!’ But Garrett made a great diving play, saved the game. If that ball drops, it’s a totally different game.”
Niskayuna’s Spataro, Feeney and Caruso each had two hits. The Silver Warriors compiled nine in the game.
“They’re a great team,” Duell said. “They hit the ball up and down the lineup. Our pitchers did a great job today, keeping us in it, and we found a way to score. It was a good team win for us, definitely.”
Niskayuna 002 100 0 — 3 9 4
Burnt Hills 100 032 x — 6 5 1
Favata, Toy (6) and Spataro; Gardy, Mooney (6), Clayton (7) and Maynard.