By: Aidan Joly
Strong pitching and offense coming up big in the late innings propelled Shaker varsity baseball to victory on Wednesday afternoon at East Side Rec over Saratoga by a final score of 7-2.
Heading into the fifth inning of a game that was already a pitchers’ duel, it was known that someone had to break through and score some runs in a then-scoreless game. The rally started in an odd way with runners on second and third base and one out. Saratoga starting pitcher Matt Triola balked, allowing the runner on third, Tyrell Robinson, to score. Later in that at-bat, Triola threw a wild pitch which allowed Julian Thompson to make it 2-0 Blue Bison. After that, Shaker didn’t look back as Jordan Peltier singled and two hits later, Makai Medici picked up an RBI single to make it 3-0. The next batter was Aidan Booker who ripped a two-run single to cap off a five-run inning for Shaker, giving them a lead that Saratoga would not come close to challenging.
“They had to change their approach a little bit, and changing the approach meant taking the ball up the middle, taking it the opposite way, and really taking what the pitcher gave us,” Shaker head coach Joe Rispole said.
On the other side of the ball, Blue Bison starting pitcher Steve Acquario was dominant as he allowed just two hits over 5-1/3 shutout innings and struck out seven Saratoga hitters. He had only allowed one hit until the sixth inning when he was removed after giving up his second hit of the afternoon.
“Steve does exactly what we ask him to do,” Rispole said. “He keeps people off balance; he throws strikes and at this level, you throw strikes and you’re going to get good results.”
For Saratoga, they could not get the offense going Wednesday, which they struggled with until the last inning as they weren’t able to score a run until they were down to their final out when Brian Hart’s two-run triple made it 7-2. Shaker had scored another pair of runs in the sixth inning on a two-run double from first baseman Brandon Dicostanzo.
“The past couple times we’ve seen lefties, we’ve failed to make the adjustment to put balls in play, and if we’re going to continue playing into the postseason, we have to figure that out,” Saratoga head coach Andy Cuthbertson said.
Shaker improves to 10-7 on the season. Following the victory, they have qualified for sectional play next week. They will close out their regular season on Thursday as they take on Niskayuna on the road. That game will begin at 4:15 PM.
Saratoga is now 13-5 after the loss, having now lost three games in a row. They will close out league play on Friday against Shenendehowa on the road before playing their senior night on Saturday for a game against non-league opponent Schuylerville, which is also a Coaches vs Cancer fundraiser event, honoring Tracy Hogben whose family has been involved in Saratoga athletics for a number of years. She was previously honored during Saratoga’s basketball season in a similar fundraiser over the winter. Strike Out Cancer t-shirts will be available for sale at the game. All proceeds go to Albany Medical Center’s Brain Tumor Research fund. Those two games will begin at 4:15 and 7 PM, respectively.