SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ballston Spa varsity baseball used a huge third inning and strong pitching throughout which helped them trounce Saratoga in the Class AA quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon at East Side Rec, 13-4.
With the game tied at two heading into the third inning, the Ballston Spa offense really began to click. The Scotties had Mack Bumford at the plate with the bases loaded and no outs, and he delivered a two-run single to give his team a 4-2 lead. The next batter, Rick Miller, came through with another RBI single to make it 5-2.
Saratoga removed starter Niko Concha after Miller’s hit. Three batters later with Gordon Hogben on the mound, Luke Gold lifted a three-run home run to make the game 8-2, capping off a six-run inning for the Scotties.
“I knew I had to stay back when I got up. I just looked for a pitch I could drive and put a good swing on it, did what I could,” Gold said.
The junior shortstop was not done there. In the sixth inning with his team already up big, Gold hit his second home run of the game, into left field, extending the lead to 13-4. Gold has been one of the best hitters in the entire section and showed it Wednesday, going 3-3 with the two home runs and reaching base in all five of his plate appearances. Going into Wednesday, he had been walked 32 times this season, 24 of them being intentional.
“I knew that I wasn’t going to get many pitches to hit and the ones I did get to hit I had to drive and I did that,” Gold said.
“For him to go out here and showcase his ability, that’s just a testament to the kid’s mindset,” Ballston Spa coach Curtis Nobles said. “He stayed in his approach, and he’s been hot this second half of the season.”
While the Scottie offense was doing well, starter Mike Poirer was shutting down the Saratoga lineup. He went six innings, giving up four runs on three hits. After letting up two hits in the first, he did not allow another until the sixth.
“The mindset coming into the game was trying to play one pitch at a time, one inning at a time,” Nobles said. “That’s how the game’s played. You can’t ever give a team like (Saratoga) any type of momentum so that’s why we continued to put the pressure on.”
This loss will end Saratoga’s season prematurely. They finished with an overall record of 15-6.
“I said to the guys, baseball is a tough game. Any given day the ball doesn’t roll in your favor then things like this happen. It’s tough that it’s a one-and-done series, but it is what it is,” Saratoga coach Andy Cuthbertson said.
Ballston Spa wins their first sectional game under the guidance of Nobles and winning the Gray Division in the Suburban Council for the first time in program history. They now move on to the sectional semifinals, where they will face top-seeded Shenendehowa. That game will be on Thursday night, a 7 p.m. start at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy.