The Schalmont baseball team has added another record to its ledger after a championship season that was full of them.
When the New York State Sportswriters Association recently released its all-state baseball teams, an all-time program high of six Sabres were among the Class B selections. Greg Musk was tabbed the Class B Player of the Year, and Bob Anderson was picked as the Coach of the Year.
Musk and Anderson were the first Sabres to receive those prestigious honors.
“It’s nice to receive that award, but the way I see it, that’s a team award right there,” said Anderson, whose 20th and final season with the Sabres’ varsity ended in the school’s first state championship. “It’s about the hard work the kids put in and the coaching staff put in.
“I got so much help, especially during the playoffs, when the lower-level coaches joined us on our run.”
Schalmont finished on a 22-game winning streak, notching seven victories in the postseason, and went 26-1 overall to set a program record in all three categories. Schalmont also set several offensive and pitching team records.
“After coming so close last year, to see how determined they were and how hard they worked, it was so special,” said Anderson.
Schalmont had a special group of players led by Musk, the team’s first first-team all-state pick since Ryan Wotherspoon in 2006. The senior lefty beat Ogdensburg Free Academy when Schalmont avenged a 2013 regional loss and later got the win in relief against Clinton and went the distance against Rye Neck in the state final four.
Musk set school single-season records for wins (10-0), ERA (0.39), strikeouts (107) and shutouts (five) which included a no-hitter against Chatham. Musk also batted .370 with 38 runs and was perfect on 18 steal attempts.
“His performance in the regionals and state tournament might have put him over the edge,” Anderson said of Musk’s Player of the Year award. “Well deserved.”
Second baseman Dom Toma (.474, 22 RBI, 32 runs) made the all-state second team.
“His numbers were unbelievable,” Anderson said of Toma, who was Schalmont’s co-MVP with Musk. “From where he was as a freshman to where he got as a senior, that’s a tribute to the hard work he put in.”
Pitchers Matt Capovani (8-1, 1.30 ERA) and Nick Bird (5-0, 1.31 ERA) made the all-state third and seventh teams, respectvely. First baseman/pitcher John Pascarella (2-0, .369, 26 RBI, 19 runs, 18-for-18 SB) made the all-state fourth team and shortstop Joe Wignot (.333, 16 RBI, 19 runs, 11-12 SB) made the fifth team.
“That was the key to our season,” Anderson said of his mound staff. “It’s nice to see them recognized.”
Schalmont was honored by the district’s board of education and politicians from Rotterdam, Schenectady County and the state following its memorable season. A sign commemorating the Sabres was recently put up at the high school near the one for the 2011 state title-winning girls’ soccer team.
Eagles on the road
Bethlehem’s varsity will be playing its home football games on the road, two at Union College and another at the University at Albany, due to ongoing renovations at the high school’s athletic facility.
“We’re redoing the field,” said Bethlehem coach Rick Leach. “We’re resurfacing the track, regrading the field, sodding it and putting in an irrigation system. It looks like a big mud pit right now, but it’s going to be a lot better.”
Bethlehem will play afternoon games at Union’s Frank Bailey Field in Week 1 (Sept. 6) against Albany and in Week 3 (Sept. 20) against LaSalle.
“We have a new AD [Leonard Kies]. He called around and started up a relationship with Union. They gave us a good price,” said Leach.
Bethlehem’s homecoming game will be Friday night in Week 6 (Oct. 10) against Shaker at UAlbany’s Bob Ford Field. The Eagles’ away schedule includes games at Ballston Spa, Schenectady, Colonie and Columbia.
“We had three Union dates locked in, but we wanted one game that was closer,” said Leach. “UAlbany was really helpful.”
Bethlehem is one of several Section II teams that will play in a different division this year. The Eagles have been shifted from the Class AA Empire Division to the Liberty Division to even out the league.
Niskayuna left the Liberty Division to play a Class A independent schedule, and Bethlehem joins Colonie, Columbia, LaSalle, Schenectady and Shaker.
“I brought up the demographics of it a while back. I felt is was something we should look at,” said Leach. “[Section II football officials] asked me about moving divisions and I said, ‘Sure.’ I didn’t think it would happen this year.”
Bethlehem went 3-6 last season with wins over Ballston Spa, Albany and Niskayuna.
Record setters headed to HOF
Kareem Jones of Lansingburgh and Zack Luke of Cambridge, Section II’s all-time rushing and passing leaders, are headed to the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame.
The two area record setters will be among 11 players inducted into the hall Monday at Michael’s Banquet House in Latham. The hall’s fifth class will feature 11 others, including the late Ernie Steck, who guided Albany Academy to nine undefeated seasons in a superb coaching run from 1957-82.
The late Bob Steenburgh, longtime right-hand man to 2010 hall of famer Harold “Bud” Kenyon at Guilderland and Greenwich, will be among those honored, as well.
Jones (2000-03) tops the Section II record list with 6,092 career rushing yards, 2,596 single-season yards, 666 career points, and 272 single-season points. Jones was selected the state’s top Class B player as a senior when he rushed for 200-plus yards seven times, had a Section II-record 50-point game against Broadalbin-Perth, and scored a Section II-record 43 touchdowns.
Luke (2001-04) piled up 7,290 passing yards, accumulating 2,110 as a junior and 1,820 as a senior when he shared the state’s Class D player of the year award. Luke’s 80 career touchdown passes are another Section II record.
Luke will be joined by his uncle, Cambridge coach Doug Luke, in the hall’s induction group.
2014 Induction Class
Rashad Barksdale (Hudson), David DiCaprio (Fonda-Fultonville), Galen Foster (Shenendehowa), Kareem Jones (Lansingburgh), Zack Luke (Canbridge), Al Marek (Perth), Don Mion (Colonie, UAlbany), Brian Niezgoda (Bishop Scully), Foster “Pete” Precopio (Johnstown), Ted Romanowski (Philip Schuyler), Matt Whalen (Bishop Maginn).
Tim Donnelly (Lake George), Doug Luke (Cambridge), Ernie Steck (Albany Academy).
Michael Aquini (Capital District), Dick Bailey (Adirondack), Chris Junjulas (Capital District).
Tom Mayer (Hudson Falls), Bob Steenburgh (Guilderland, Greenwich).
Service to Football
Tom Heinzelman (Section II, NYSHSFCA).
Service to Youth Football
Vince Foley (Albany), Joe Ierubino (Shenendehowa).
Shenendehowa coach and former Shaker star Jason Gifford will be among those with Section II ties honored as part of the Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Classic’s 25th anniversary celebration.
The classic, with 245 teams in scholastic, adult and masters divisions, began Monday and runs through Sunday at the North Elba Show Grounds in Lake Placid.
Gifford (midfield), who shined at Hudson Valley and Hartford, and former Columbia High School and Union College standout John Keller (attack) are part of the silver anniversary men’s all-star team that will be feted Saturday in a ceremony at Mid’s Park on Main Street in Lake Placid.
The women’s silver anniversary all-star team includes former Bethlehem and Syracuse catalysts Katie Rowan (attack) and Halley Quillinan (midfield), and Ashley Gersuk (goalkeeper), who excelled at Albany Academy and Northwestern.
Former Guilderland coach Arty Waugh (goalkeeper) will be honored in the player category as part of the classic’s Legends of Lake Placid Lacrosse tribute.