BALLSTON SPA — While a group of youngsters wearing Ballston Spa uniforms were running around the softball field Saturday at Moreau Recreational Park, a bunch more were yelling their support from outside of the fences.
"In our game the other day, you could see a bunch of yellow jerseys out there," Ballston Spa softball coach Amanda Fified said. "It was an unbelievable feeling."
The Scotties baseball team had defeated Whitesboro 4-2 in a state Class A quarterfinal game earlier Saturday at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam before taking a trip to cheer on their schoolmates in their game as they posted a 5-1 victory over Jamesville-DeWitt.
Both teams are headed to the state final four for their respective sports later this week.
"They support each other," Ballston Spa baseball coach Curtis Nobles said of the two teams. "Obviously, the Gold connection is there, but all of the other kids are friends. It's been a unit."
The Golds, senior Luke and sophomore Ana, are the only brother-sister combination on the two championship teams that have forged a combined 43-5 record, but the bond between the groups is certainly a tight one.
"We've known each other forever," junior third baseman Paige Davis said. "We go to school together. We're friends on and off the field."
Nobles and Fifield push the family atmosphere. In this case, it is an extended one.
"Even though it's not by blood, we're still sisters and brothers," Fifield said. "You don't see that at some other schools. It's always kind of been that way here. And as coaches, we support each other, too."
The softball team was following the baseball team's state quarterfinal progress through social media before its game later Saturday.
"We were all getting updates when we were doing batting practice and on the way there," Fifield said. "When we were a couple of miles from the field, we found out they had won."
Donovan Rhoden hit a go-ahead, two-run home run against Whitesboro that made it 3-2 in the sixth, and Jake Manderson went the distance on a three-hitter. Lauren Kersch pitched a three-hitter, Gold homered and Davis and Megan McMahon had RBI singles for the softball team in its win over Jamesville-DeWitt.
"We're all playing for the same thing," said Luke Gold. "We've been supporting each other the whole way."
Fifield gave her team last Thursday off when she traveled to Canton to scout a regional game between Fayetteville-Manlius and Franklin Academy. Her team wanted stay sharp with practice and it did so, but at 6 in the morning. That afternoon, the softballers were on a bus headed north to Salmon River to back the baseball team in its sub-regional game against Massena.
"We were talking about it the night before. We wanted to get a practice in, and we really wanted to support the baseball team, so we decided to do both," Davis said. "We know they'd do the same thing for us."
Manderson, Gold and Chance Checca homered, and Nick Reed scattered six hits, in the baseball team's six-inning, 10-0 win over Massena.
"The softball team doing that, that shows a lot," said Manderson, a senior catcher and pitcher. "That shows how loyal they are to us, and that's a great feeling. And they weren't the only ones there. We had 45, 50 other kids there."
The baseball and softball teams celebrated their wins Saturday evening at the Gold residence.
"We do everything together," Manderson said. "We're like their brothers. They're like our sisters."
Both Ballston Spa teams will be playing teams from Sayville in their state semifinal games. The Sayville teams, from Long Island, are also great backers of each other.
"We have a very tight-knit community and school district," Sayville athletic director Dennis Maloney said. "They're all good friends that root for each other and support each other, and that's a great thing to see."
The Ballston Spa baseball team will meet Sayville Friday at 5 p.m. at Union-Endicott High School in Binghamton in a state semifinal. The other semi at U-E at 2 p.m. will match Maine-Endwell against Canandaigua. Saturday's championship game is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Binghamton University.
The Ballston Spa softball team will head back to Moreau Recreational Park Saturday for a 9 a.m. semifinal with Sayville, while, at the same time, Walter Panas and Williamsville East will square off. Saturday's title game is set for 1:30 p.m.
"The baseball team is leaving Friday and our girls will be in front of the school to send them off," Fifield said. "Pom poms and all."