Friday, April 21, 2017

High School Fridays: Albany Academy @ LaSalle (baseball), 4/21/17

It's that time of year again. Third weekend of the high school baseball season means the Coaches Against Cancer Friday Night Lights series at Joe Bruno Stadium. A combination of unsettled weather and poor pre-game promotion resulted in a smaller than expected crowd for the nightcap, as homestanding LaSalle entertained Albany Academy in the Battle of the Cadets.

In the opener, an all-Suburban Council affair, Mohonasen defeated Shaker, 7-0, as the Blue Bison's offense has seemingly disappeared over the last two days. Shaker had dropped an 8-2 decision to Christian Brothers Academy a scant more than 24 hours earlier.

Then, it was time for the Battle of the Cadets.

For the first two innings, it was a pitchers' duel between LaSalle's John Weber and Academy's Ben Seiler. In the third, the roof caved in on Seiler, who gave up five runs on four hits and three walks, capped by an inside-the-park grand slam by Noah Grandjean. In all, Seiler went four innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and four walks. For some reason, the scoreboard operators had the attention span of a blind gnat, and didn't give LaSalle credit for a hit in the third. The hosts finished with eleven hits, not ten as shown on the scoreboard. The ball & strike counts were consistently behind for much of the night. Don't worry. It happens when the Valleycats are playing, too.

Weber & James Rubino combined on a 3-hit shutout. Weber reached his pitch limit with one out in the seventh, and was lifted. Curiously, Rubino didn't warm up in the bullpen, but rather was in the dugout, and hugged Weber as they met in between. The two combined for seven strikeouts on the evening, as LaSalle came away with an 8-0 victory to run their record to 8-1 on the season. Academy falls to 4-2.

The host Tri-City Valleycats had issued a press release on on Tuesday, and a friend had e-mailed me that night to alert me to the LaSalle-Academy game. Unfortunately, the local papers didn't find the space for a feature article in today's editions, although the LaSalle-Academy game was listed on the schedule in at least one local paper. Once again, LaSalle gets the Rodney Dangerfield treatment from the hometown paper.
Meanwhile, across town, the fortunes of Troy High's spring sports teams are in different directions at the halfway point of the season.

After a 3-0 start, Brian Benner's lacrosse team has dropped 4 straight, the latest a 18-1 thrashing at the hands of Niskayuna on Thursday. After a day off today, a rare Saturday game awaits the Flying Horses at home vs. Bethlehem. The baseball team, after losing to Nisky, 8-1, on Thursday, will entertain Bethlehem for the 2nd time this month on Saturday morning. The Eagles will be looking to avenge a 2-0 non-league loss two weeks ago. In contrast, the softball team has been almost a runaway train, having won two straight after losing to Ballston Spa on Monday, the latest victory a 19-4 drubbing of Nisky. Bethlehem is next, and then the girls go right back on the road to play in the Keenholts tournament in Guilderland vs. Shaker and Cohoes on Sunday afternoon. Seven games in as many days. While that would be routine for major league baseball, it is a challenge at the high school level. As noted before, the Ballston Spa game was a makeup for a rainout last week. The boys' tennis team's last two matches have not been reported (vs. Saratoga & Niskayuna), but given that they've yet to win this season (same goes for the track team), one must figure the scores are not reported to avoid embarrassment.

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