Class BB Baseball: Sabres' Musk blanks Cadets
ALBANY Greg Musk was naturally disappointed when his bid for a second postseason no-hitter ended on a slow chopper down the third-base line with one out in the fifth inning.
“It upset me,” said Schalmont’s senior lefty. “I knew in my head I had a no-hitter and a perfect game, but I’m not here for personal goals. As long as we get the win, that’s all that matters.”
Musk faced two batters over the minimum in a nifty three-hitter, and clubbed a late two-run homer Saturday to lead Schalmont over Albany Academy, 4-0, in a Section II Class BB semifinal game at Bleecker Stadium.
John Pascarella had two hits and an RBI for the Sabres (No. 1 seed, 21-1), Joe Wignot collected three hits and Nick Bird, who was filling in for injured Colonial Council batting leader Dom Toma, singled before Musk’s drive in the sixth inning capped the scoring.
“We’re playing extremely well,” Schalmont coach Bob Anderson said after his team’s 17th straight win since a 2-0 loss to the Cadets. “We’re doing everything right. Today, we executed the rundown play. We got the double play. Different guys stepped up with the bats.”
And Musk took care of business on the mound, extending his school shutout records to five in a season and seven in a career. One of those gems came in last year’s Class B semifinals when Musk no-hit Chatham. Musk fired another no-hitter this season against Cohoes.
“I was nervous during our quarterfinal,” Anderson said of Friday’s 4-0 win over Cairo-Durham. “Once we got through that game, I was all right. I slept like a baby last night because of him [Musk].”
Musk (6-0) struck out 10 including the side twice, walked one and saw only three of his pitches sent into the outfield, two on flyouts and a seventh-inning single by Sean Dempsey. Dempsey was erased on a double play started by Wignot at short.
“I felt good, but before the game, I was a little tight. It could have been nerves,” said Musk, who has allowed two earned runs this spring. “I got out there and got in a groove.”
“That’s the first time he [Musk] faced them. [Matt] Capovani started both of the league games,” said Anderson. “That was a little bit of an eye-opener for them.”
Academy’s Jake Mayette beat out a slow bouncer down the third-base line in the fifth, and Musk fanned the next two batters. Eric Woods singled off Musk’s glove in the sixth, and Musk promptly picked him off.
“It’s no secret. We know he’s the best pitcher in the league,” said Albany Academy coach Dave Rider. “He’s as dangerous offensively as he is on the mound. He turned a single into a double to set up their first run.”
That was in the third, when Musk raced to second after hitting a blooper into the right-center gap. He moved up on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Pascarella’s single. An infield single by Wignot followed, and after Pascarella took third on a flyout, he scored on an infield error.
Musk pulled his first home run of the season down the right-field line after Bird’s one-out single in the sixth.
“Inside and high, and I went with it,” Musk said of Brooks Knapek’s offering. “It carried for me.”
Knapek got the win when Academy (No. 5, 15-5) beat Schalmont on April 22.
“We left guys all over the bases,” said Anderson. “Today, we put the ball in play.”
Knapek left Saturday’s game after Musk’s homer. The sophomore lefty gave up seven hits, struck out eight and walked two.
“They deserved to win,” said Rider of the state’s No. 6-ranked team. “They’ve got a nice group.”
The Sabres’ program-record 21st win sent them to Wednesday night’s Class BB title game at Joseph Bruno Stadium opposite Johnstown. Schalmont beat Johnstown for the 2013 Class B championship, 14-3.
“We want to go further than last year,” said Musk, one of several veteran holdovers from the 2013 team that bowed out in state regional play. “One step at a time.”
Capovani scattered four hits in Friday’s win over Cairo-Durham.
Matt Szurek belted a pair of three-run home runs and matched Saratoga Central Catholic’s hit total with four in leading Johnstown (No. 6, 14-7) to a 12-3 semifinal victory.
Szurek also had two singles and scored four runs as the Sir Bills logged their second semifinal romp in as many years after taking out Hudson in 2013, 8-1. Richie Lee had a double, a single and an RBI, and struck out seven over four innings.
Jacob Van Patten hit a three-run homer for the Saints (No. 2, 17-4).
SCHALMONT 4, ALBANY ACADEMY 0
Albany Academy 000 000 0 — 0 3 3
Schalmont 002 002 x — 4 8 0
B. Knapek, Francesconi (6) and Dempsey; Musk and Yezzo.
SARATOGA CENTRAL CATHOLIC 3
Johnstown 131 331 0 — 12 14 1
SCC 000 300 0 — 3 4 3
Lee, Auty (5) and Caputo; Schmidt, O’Reilly (5), Bradley (7) and Czarnecki.