By: Aidan Joly
A strong, all-lefty pitching performance gave Saratoga their first win of the 2017 season on Monday at the East Side Rec as they beat La Salle by a final score of 5-0.
After a shaky first inning, Saratoga starting pitcher Keegan Leffler settled down and got into a great groove from the second inning on after he was able to get out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first inning. He struck out the side in the second and didn’t look back, only allowing one hit until the sixth inning to cool the La Salle bats.
“The coaches really talked me down (after the first inning). They help a lot when it comes to calming kids down and calming pitchers down, so it’s always on them usually and when the kids behind you make plays, it helps a lot too,” Leffler said.
On a team that doesn’t have the bona fide star pitcher that they have become accustomed to in recent years, Leffler pitched like one Monday, tossing six shutout innings on five hits. He walked two and struck out 11 in his first start of the season before Jack Cairns finished it off in the last inning.
“Keegan did a nice job. He was very efficient and got ahead early with first-pitch strikes, and then once we kind of saw them struggling with lefties, me and the coaching staff thought to go with Jack,” Saratoga head coach Andy Cuthbertson said.
Saratoga’s offense was held quiet until the third inning of the game when Brian Hart ripped a triple into right-center field that plated two and gave the Blue Streaks their first lead. They would score another run later in the inning and would later score a pair of runs in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly from Peter Herman. Brad Hipsley later scored after a Cadet error.
La Salle will fall to 0-1 on the young season. They will be back in action on Tuesday at home against Schalmont in a 4:15 PM start in Troy.
Saratoga is now 1-0 following the season-opening victory. They will play again on Thursday, taking on Queensbury in their second straight non-league game to start the season. That game will start at 4:15 PM at East Side Rec.