The final four in the Section 2 Class AA sectionals, predictably, were all from the Suburban Council. However, the results of today's games were anything but predictable.
In the opener, 3rd seeded Colonie took on 7th seeded Columbia, which upset #2 Bethlehem to get to Joe Bruno Stadium. The Garnet Raiders took an early 1-0 lead in the first without the benefit of a hit.
Unfortunately, senior pitcher Kyle Lambert couldn't hold the lead, and couldn't get out of the second inning. Columbia batted around in the frame, scoring six runs while sending Lambert to an early shower. Lambert's control was not as impeccable as it had been in the past.
In the third, Columbia second baseman Justin Pangburn slammed a 2 run home run to pad the lead, depositing a pitch from Spencer Wall into the home bullpen. Colonie got the runs right back in their half, stringing together a walk and three straight hits in an effort to get back into the game.
However, the relentless Blue Devil offense iced the game with three runs apiece in the fourth & fifth innings. Colonie plated a run in the home fifth, but by then it was too late. The game was called via mercy rule after five innings, with Columbia notching their second upset in as many days, 14-4. Carmen Erno pitched three innings before moving to third base, and went 2-3 at the plate with 2 runs scored.
So, now it was a question of who would be next for the Blue Devils, top-ranked Shenendehowa or #5 Ballston Spa. With defending champion Niskayuna eliminated by Colonie on Wednesday, the door was open for the Plainsmen to reclaim the Class AA crown.
The Scotties, however, had other ideas.
Shen starter Mitch Wright gave up two runs in the first, and seemed to settle down after that. However, Ballston Spa erupted for five runs in the third, capped by a 2-run homer by catcher Jake Manderson, to take a 7-0 lead, knocking Wright out in the process.
In the home third, Griffin Wallner singled, and would score the only run for Shen in the game. Scotties starter Luke Gold went the distance, scattering five hits. Manderson hit a three-run bomb that nearly left Bruno Stadium entirely in the sixth to ice the game, and Ballston Spa punched their ticket to the title game with an 11-1 win.
Action resumes tomorrow with the Class CC & C finals. Weather permitting, it'll be Classes D & B on Saturday.