Saints thriving, hot or cold
DELANSON Cold, wet hands generally lead to plenty of mistakes on the baseball field.
There were numerous wild pitches, hit batsmen, plenty of errors and just plain ugly plays on both sides of the field during Tuesday’s cool and rainy Western Athletic Conference matchup between Saratoga Catholic and Duanesburg.
In the end, the Saints survived the nasty conditions by riding a seven-run second inning en route to a 10-3 victory over the host Eagles.
Spa Catholic, which has managed to get in just six games this spring, improved to 6-0 in both the WAC and overall play. The Eagles dropped to 1-6 and 1-9.
The teams combined for just 11 hits. More prominent in the scoring were six walks, three hit batsmen and five errors by the Eagles.
“We spent a week down in Florida, and we played six exhibition games in great weather,” said Spa Catholic center fielder Mike Naughton, who had two hits and scored a run. “Then we come back up here. I guess you’ve got to expect tough conditions up here in the spring, but this has been very difficult. It’s hard to hold onto the ball in this kind of weather. The weather has been tough for us all spring.”
Despite the Saints’ strong start, they have not been able to play many games this spring because of the wet conditions.
“It’s a shame,” said veteran Spa Catholic coach Phonsey Lambert. “The kids lose out on the season in weather like this. It’s unfair. We’ve only got two weeks left in the season. We tried to do our best today. You just talk it through and try not to make many mistakes. I used three pitchers today, so one pitcher wouldn’t have to take all the brunt of the weather. When my starter, Pat Clare, came out of the game, his hand was so red it was unbelievable. I give a lot of credit to both teams trying to play in weather like this.”
Lambert said that despite the six victories, the Saints haven’t been able to build any momentum, especially on offense.
“It’s hard to hit in this weather,” he said. “Aluminum bats are made for temperatures of 60 degrees and warmer. It’s hard to use them when it’s this cold. It was definitely a gutty effort by both teams today.”
Duanesburg starter Gabe Gentile was flawless in the first inning, striking out the side, but he ran into plenty of trouble in the Saints’ explosive second inning.
Designated hitter Jake Moline ripped a single to right, and after Kyle Bailey popped up to Gentile, the Saints found their groove. Owen O’Reilly singled in Moline, who had stolen second. Jake Van Patten and Naughton then each singled to load the bases.
Lane Gannon walked to force in O’Reilly, and Zac Cronk was hit by a pitch to force in Van Patten.
A fielder’s choice, another bases-loaded walk to Tim Brizzell, an RBI single by Moline and a sacrifice fly by Kyle Bailey completed the scoring in the big inning.
Duanesburg scored two runs in the fourth inning on hits by Drew Rice and Elijah Casper, and two Spa Catholic errors. The Eagles also picked up a run in the sixth inning on a walk, a hit batsman, another walk and a wild pitch.
Spa Catholic tacked on a run in the fourth on two Duanesburg errors, and two more in the sixth on three walks and two more errors.
Ryan Czarnecki, hitting over .700 entering the game, was just 1-for-4, but his long double to left, which just missed jumping over the fence, was the only extra base hit of the game.
“We don’t have much of a choice,” said Lambert. “We need to get more games in. You’re not going to get a lot of great baseball in this kind of weather. We need a break.”
Saratoga Catholic 070 100 2 — 0 6 2
Duanesburg 000 201 0 — 3 5 5
Clare, O’Reilly (5), Bailely (7) and Czarnecki; Gentile, Walter (3), Hulbert (7) and Largeteau.