Originally, I was going to scope the first-ever meeting of the home district's two women's roller derby teams at Times Union Center, but, because it was such as beautiful day, I thought I'd save a few dollars and take in the NYSPHSAA quarterfinal baseball game between Cicero-North Syracuse and Shenendehowa at Joe Bruno Stadium instead. Smart move.
While the crowd was not as big as it was two weeks earlier when Shen defeated Christian Brothers Academy to win the Section II Class AA crown for the 2nd time in 3 years, it was still better than most high school games at the Joe. The main attraction was Shen senior pitcher Ian Anderson, five days away from a likely first round selection in the MLB Entry Draft, and Anderson didn't disappoint.
However, it was Cicero-North Syracuse which drew first blood in the 3rd inning after an uncharacteristic defensive lapse by the Plainsmen. Back to back errors by shortstop Nick Jacques and 2B Nik Malachowski gave the Northstars their only run in the game. Shen answered right back with two in the bottom half of the 3rd, then iced it with three more in the 4th. Cicero starter Luke Dziados swapped places with 1B James Saladone with one out in the 4th, then was lifted from the game soon after, as Zach Williamson finished the game at first base.
Anderson shrugged off the defense's misfortune like water off a duck, and simply dominated, limiting the Northstars to just the one unearned run in the 3rd, scored without a hit, sandwiched around singles in the 1st & 6th innings. Anderson finished with 16 strikeouts, including 7 in a row between the 5th and 7th innings. Mike Sciore's groundout to 1B Joe Fraser ended the game, and the Plainsmen advance to the state semi-finals in Binghamton next week. It'll be an early wake-up call for Shen as they have a 10 am game against West Islip, with the winner advancing to the title game later that afternoon.
There were pro scouts on hand to watch Anderson, as I detected at least two radar guns in the section to the right of my seat behind home plate. In speaking with a Valleycats staffer, it seems that if Houston drafts Anderson, he likely won't be assigned to Tri-City, but you never know.
It's been a good couple of days for Section II, both in baseball & softball. In addition to Shen, Class C champ Greenwich and Class B titlist Schalmont advanced to the state final four in their classes. On the women's side, Troy High continued its post-season rampage, crushing Jamestown-DeWitt, 10-1. The Flying Horses have now won 4 in a row since coach George Rafferty was "removed" following a rampage of his own on May 12 at Averill Park. His fate won't be decided until after next Saturday's state final four at Moreau State Park in South Glens Falls, or, if it has been decided, it won't be announced until after next week. In all honesty, it wouldn't be fair, since Troy hasn't had a losing season under Rafferty in six seasons, to let him go just because of one emotional meltdown. Oh, the drama........