BALLSTON SPA — For the first time since 1973, Ballston Spa won a Section II championship in baseball.
That was Saturday.
It was thrilling victory, an exciting night and a well-deserved accomplishment for a program that had built itself up in recent years.
Now, it’s in the past.
“We were definitely excited to win that, but we all came back and refocused this week,” Ballston Spa senior Jake Manderson said Wednesday, a day before the Scotties’ 5 p.m. Class A first-round game in the state tournament against Section X’s Massena at Salmon River. “We’re ready to play again.”
Like the rest of Section II’s champions, Ballston Spa had little time to celebrate winning an area crown before reading for what’s up next. That’s OK with head coach Curtis Nobles’ squad, which sees its Section II title as another step toward the program’s ultimate goal this season.
“If we want to make a run, we have to do everything right in the big spots,” Ballston Spa senior Luke Gold said. “We believe that when we play our best game, we’re one of the best teams in the state.”
There is little reason to doubt that. The Scotties bring a 20-2 record into the state tournament after a regular season spent competing primarily against Class AA schools in the Suburban Council, and still have plenty left motivating them to continue working hard each day they get to play together.
“This is the best team I’ve ever been a part of,” Manderson said. “It would be really fun to keep it going.”
Massena brings a 14-1 record into Thursday’s game, and its winner will play Section III’s Whitesboro in Saturday’s state quarterfinals. If Ballston Spa advances to that round, that game will take place at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam.
“We have high expectations. We’re not going to take [Massena] lightly,” Gold said. “We’re making sure we’re ready to go and play our best game.”
IN OTHER ACTION
In other first-round action Thursday of the state baseball tournament, Schuylerville will play Section VII’s Northeastern Clinton in a 4 p.m. Class B game at The Christian Plumeri Sports Complex in Albany, while Class C’s Fort Plain plays at 5 p.m. against Section X’s Norwood-Norfolk at Canton.
A pair of Section II softball teams play Thursday in first-round games of the state tournament, too. Ichabod Crane takes on Section X’s Ogdensburg Free Academy in a 5 p.m. Class B game at SUNY Potsdam, while Chatham meets Section VII’s Ticonderoga at 4:30 p.m. at Moreau Recreational Park.