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Baseball: Saratoga dominates Bethlehem, advances to sectional semifinals

An all-around strong performance at the plate complemented by a gem on the mound led to Saratoga varsity baseball picking up a victory against Bethlehem in the Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday at East Side Rec by a final score of 9-1.

Saratoga was quiet for the most part until the middle innings of the game as it was tied at one heading into the third. It was that inning that the Streaks’ offense got going as they scored three runs highlighted by an RBI double from Brad Hipsley. For the rest of the day, the Blue Streaks didn’t have an inning in which they did not score with eight unanswered runs against the Eagles of Bethlehem. The middle part of the order was the catalyst of the effort as Brad Hipsley and Matt Triola, the fifth and sixth hitters, had two RBI doubles each and combined to drive in four of Saratoga’s nine runs on the afternoon. Behind those hits and numerous errors by the Eagles defense, Bethlehem starter Arlo Maryczak lasted just four innings, giving up six runs and eight hits.

“Having seen (Maryczak), I knew that one or two runs could possibly win the game. We made some aggressive moves early, and they paid off for us,” Saratoga head coach Andy Cuthbertson said.

Another key to the Saratoga victory was the pitching of Alex Henderson who in just his third start of the season, tossed his second complete game in less than a week, allowing just one run on four hits and struck out five. He was never in any type of serious trouble on Thursday, similar to the way he was on Friday against Shenendehowa, when he tossed a complete-game shutout, and his rise to be one of Saratoga’s top pitchers has helped the team become a sectional contender. Bethlehem’s only run came in on a sacrifice fly from Dylan Rodriguez in the third inning.

“With Alex, it was just a matter of time. Just get those jitters out,” Cuthbertson said.

Henderson added, “It’s really huge for my confidence. I really struggled earlier in the year, (I’ve) done better in recent games, and I’m really thrilled with these last two games.”

With the win, Saratoga advances to the sectional semifinals, taking on Shenendehowa who won their quarterfinal game Thursday against CBA. That game will be played on Saturday, May 20 at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, with a start time of 4 p.m.

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