Baseball season in upstate New York officially ended Thursday night in Fishkill as the Hudson Valley Renegades claimed the NY-Penn League title, defeating the Tri-City Valleycats, 8-3, in the deciding game of the league's championship series. The Valleycats' season-ending swoon, which saw them limp into the postseason after going 1-6 in their final 7 regular season games, had only abated long enough for the 'Cats to reach the finals, having dispatched Auburn in 3 games. When the 'Cats needed to win the most, their offense froze, for lack of a better description.
The only quibble about Thursday's loss was the fact that 8 days earlier, in the regular season home finale, also against Hudson Valley, starter Joe Bircher was largely ineffective, so why was he handed the ball in the most important game of the year? Only manager Stubby Clapp knows for sure, and I'm sure he realizes he may be second-and-third-guessed about this decision until next June, when a fresh group of Valleycats take the field at Joe Bruno Stadium.
Now, local sports fans can turn their full attention to football. Well, at least until RPI begins hockey season next month. It's hard to believe that high school football begins its 3rd week of play tonight. I can recall when games didn't start until the first weekend of the school year, but oh, how things have changed over the years. The addition of sectional and state tournaments in recent years allows high schools to enjoy the same early advantage as their college brethren, playing their first games just as the pros are wrapping up their pre-season schedules.
Troy High enters play tonight at 1-1, having avenged their lone loss of 2011 by beating Burnt Hills in their opener, but then LaSalle collected a receipt in turn last week. Tonight, Scotia comes a'callin' at Picken Field. Scotia is also 1-1, as is Burnt Hills. Parity, anyone?
Of course, college basketball isn't that far away, either. Siena had a "sneak preview" of their 2012-3 teams at Times-Union Center earlier this week. I can remember when they didn't have to do things like that...........