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Baseball pairings: Patriots draw old rival

Baseball pairings: Patriots draw old rival

Schenectady has only a handful of guys who have played in a sectional baseball game before. “I’ll ta

Schenectady has only a handful of guys who have played in a sectional baseball game before.

“I’ll talk to them today about it, how everything changes in the sectionals when you play one and done,” Patriots coach John Isabella said before Monday’s practice. “There’s a lot on the line, and we will have to do a few things a little better if we want to move on.”

Schenectady hasn’t done that in some time. Fact is, the last time the Patriots prevailed in a postseason game was 2007, Isabella’s first year in charge, when his team knocked off Ballston Spa and Columbia to reach the Class AA semifinals.

“We’re hoping we can make a little noise, unlike the last couple of years,” said Isabella.

Schenectady already has made some ruckus with a 12-4 league mark, good for a second-place Big 10 tie with Troy. The 12 league wins are the most during Isabella’s run with Schenectady, and this is his first group that defeated every league team.

“It’s been a real nice year for us, and we did it with only three seniors playing,” said Isabella.

Schenectady completed league play with a two-game sweep of Amsterdam and landed the No. 4 Class AA seed for the Section II tournament. With that seed comes a home game Thursday at 4 against neighboring rival Niskayuna (No. 5, 11-6).

“We hit the ball hard. We’re solid in the field and our pitching is solid,” said Niskayuna coach John Furey. “I’m comfortable where we are. We’re a little young, but we’re much better now than we were.”

Niskayuna beat Schenectady, 6-0, in the last sectional meeting between the schools in a 2012 first-round game.

“We’ve played Niskayuna forever, and they’re always tough. We scrimmage them every year and we’ve played them in the past,” said Isabella. “They take advantage of little things if you leave it on a plate for them.”

Schenectady (13-6 overall) can help its cause by doing some little things right.

“We’ve got to move players over, and we’ve got to eliminate errors, keep the outs to three in an inning,” said Isabella. “We have to show up and put up our best effort.”

Jordan Bernacet has been sensational this season for the Patriots with a .536 batting average and a 6-0 pitching record. The junior blanked Amsterdam on two hits Wednesday in a 6-0 win, and he’ll get the ball Thursday opposite either Tommy Favata or College of Saint Rose-bound Ryan Feeney.

“We’ve played our best with him [Bernacet] on the mound,” said Isabella. “He’s so cool and confident, and he gives the other guys confidence.”

Shenendehowa (15-1, 19-1) is the defending champion and No. 1 Class AA seed, and sits on the same side of the bracket as Schenectady and Niskayuna. The Plainsmen host the winner of today’s Guilderland (No. 9, 9-7, 11-9) at Saratoga Springs (No. 8, 9-7, 13-7) play-in game Thursday.

“You can have a few holes on your team, and if those guys come through, you’re right there,” said Furey.

Three other defending champions have secured No. 1 seeds — Queensbury (14-0, 15-4) in Class A, Schalmont (14-1, 19-1) in Class BB and Fort Ann (9-1, 9-1) in Class D. Schalmont won the Class B flag last year, and the division has been split this year because of the large number of teams.

“The A’s are packed,” said Scotia-Glenville coach John Striffler, whose Tartans (No. 4, 11-3, 13-6) host Amsterdam (No. 5, 9-7, 12-7) Thursday. “There are no easy games. That’s why it’s sectionals.”

Scotia-Glenville beat Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and No. 1 seed Lansingburgh last year before losing to Queensbury in the Class A title game. Troy (No. 2, 12-4, 15-4) and Lansingburgh (No. 3, 12-2, 14-4) are seeded ahead of the Tartans for this season’s event.

“Pitching, hitting, fielding, you’ve got to be unblemished,” said Striffler. “You want to be peaking at the right time.”

Saratoga Central Catholic (No. 2, 14-1, 16-3), Hudson (No. 3, 13-1, 13-1), Schuylerville (No. 4, 12-2, 15-2) and Albany Academy (No. 5, 12-3, 14-3) join Schalmont in the top-heavy Class BB mix.

“It’s a very competitive group,” said Saratoga Catholic coach Phonsey Lambert, whose Saints claimed four Class B titles from 2007-11. “Really, if you look, there’s no team that couldn’t win it.”

How about the young Saints? They outlasted rival Fort Plain for the Western Athletic Conference Northern Division crown as a stepping stone toward the playoffs.

“We are a big mystery,” said Lambert. “We’re so young. We start five sophomores and a freshman. We have some talent, but it’s untested.”

Corinth (8-2, 11-4) in Class B and Rensselaer (11-0, 11-1) in Class C are the other No. 1 seeds. Rensselaer is ahead of Whitehall (No. 2, 10-1, 12-2), Fort Plain (No. 3, 13-2, 14-2), Lake George (No. 4, 9-1, 9-3) and Hoosick Falls (No. 5, 12-2, 17-3) in another deep pool.

Devon Brooks pitched a one-hitter — giving up a seventh-inning single — and struck out six as Schoharie defeated Duanesburg, 12-2, in a tune-up for the sectionals. Richie Martino drove in four runs with three singles, Steven Brooks had a triple and two RBI and Mitch Barton chipped in with two singles and two RBI.

CLASS AA

First round

Today

No. 9 Guilderland (9-7, 11-9) at No. 8 Saratoga Springs (9-7, 13-7), 4:15.

Quarterfinals (4 p.m.)

Thursday

Guilderland/Saratoga Springs at No. 1 Shenendehowa (15-1, 19-1); No. 5 Niskayuna (10-6, 11-6) at No. 4 Schenectady (12-4, 13-6); No. 6 LaSalle (11-5, 11-8) at No. 3 Columbia (12-4, 13-6); No. 7 Shaker (10-6, 13-7) at No. 2 CBA (14-2, 14-6).

Semifinals

Saturday (4, 7 p.m.)

At Joe Bruno Stadium.

Championship

Friday, May 30 (7 p.m.)

At Joe Bruno Stadium.

———

CLASS A

Quarterfinals

Thursday (4 p.m.)

No. 8 Averill Park (5-11, 9-11) at No. 1 Queensbury (14-0, 15-4); No. 5 Amsterdam (9-7, 12-7) at No. 4 Scotia-Glenville (11-3, 13-6); No. 6 Glens Falls (9-5, 14-5); No. 7 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (9-7, 10-9) at No. 2 Troy (12-4, 15-4).

Semifinals

Saturday (1, 4 p.m.)

At Saint Rose.

Championship

Friday, May 30 (4 p.m.)

At Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

———

CLASS BB

First round

Today (4 p.m.)

No. 9 Cairo-Durham (7-7, 11-8) at No. 8 Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (7-7); No. 11 Cohoes (7-7, 8-11) at No. 6 Johnstown (9-5, 11-7); No. 10 Broadalbin-Perth (4-10, 6-13) at No. 7 Catskill (7-7, 10-7).

Quarterfinals

Thursday (4 p.m.)

Cairo-Durham/Cohoes at No. 1 Schalmont (14-1, 19-1); No. 5 Albany Academy (12-3, 14-3) at No. 4 Schuylerville (12-2, 15-2); Cohoes/Johnstown at No. 3 Hudson (13-1); Broadalbin-Perth/Catskill at No. 2 Saratoga Central Catholic (14-1, 16-3).

Semifinals

Saturday (1, 4 p.m.)

At Bleecker Stadium.

Championship

Wednesday, May 28 (7 p.m.)

At Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

———

CLASS B

Quarterfinals

Thursday (4 p.m.)

No. 8 Tamarac (5-9, 6-10) at No. 1 Corinth (8-2, 11-4); No. 5 Fonda-Fultonville (7-8, 10-10) at No. 4 Stillwater (7-7, 7-8); No. 6 Voorheesville (7-8, 10-10) at No. 3 Hoosick Falls (7-7, 9-8); No. 7 Mechanicville (6-8, 7-10) at No. 2 Chatham (10-4, 14-6).

Semifinals

Saturday (1, 4 p.m.)

At Veterans Park.

Championship

Wednesday, May 28 (4 p.m.)

At Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

———

CLASS BB-B PLAYOFF

Saturday, May 31 (1 p.m.)

At Saint Rose.

———

CLASS C

First round

Today

No. 9 Schoharie (7-5, 7-5) at No. 8 Waterford-Halfmoon (7-5, 11-7); No. 11 Hadley-Luzerne (5-6) at No. 6 Maple Hill (9-5, 11-6); No. 10 Greenwich (8-6, 10-6) at No. 7 Galway (9-6).

Quarterfinals

Thursday (4 p.m.)

Schoharie/Waterford-Halfmoon at No. 1 Rensselaer (11-0, 11-1); No. 5 Hoosic Valley (12-2, 17-3) at No. 4 Lake George (9-1, 9-3); Hadley-Luzerne/Maple Hill at No. 3 Fort Plain (13-2, 14-2); Greenwich/Galway at No. 2 Whitehall (10-1, 12-1).

Semifinals

Saturday (1, 4 p.m.)

At Shuttleworth Park.

Championship

Thursday, May 29 (7 p.m.)

At Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

———

CLASS D

Quarterfinals

Thursday (4 p.m.)

No. 1 Fort Ann (9-1), bye; No. 5 Salem (6-5, 6-6) at No. 4 Mekeel Christian Academy (8-6, 10-10); No. 6 Germantown (5-6, 7-9) at No. 3 Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville (10-5); No. 7 Warrensburg (5-6, 7-7) at No. 2 Loudonville Christian School (9-3, 10-4).

Semifinals

Saturday (1, 4 p.m.)

At East Field.

Championship

Thursday, May 29 (4 p.m.)

At Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

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