By ADAM SHINDER
Recprder Sports Staff
BROADALBIN -- For the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots, it's all about Lucky Number Seven.
Seven is the magic number for B-P, the number of Foothills Council wins needed for the team to qualify for the Section II Class B baseball playoffs. Through their first six Foothills Council games, the Patriots sit at 3-3 -- and 5-4 overall -- but since wins like Monday's over Class A South Glens Falls count as two for Class B teams such as B-P, the Patriots' league win total in the eyes of the Section II baseball committee sits at four.
That means, with eight Foothills games remaining -- six against Class A schools Gloversville, Scotia-Glenville and Glens Falls, two against Class B Johnstown -- the Patriots need at least one win over a Class A team and one win against Johnstown to earn a spot in sectionals, and with the way his team has played so far this season, B-P coach Dan Simonds is feeling like his team is in prime position.
"We're feeling good. We're in a tough league, but we've gotten great starting pitching so far," Simonds said. "Our starting pitching has been outstanding. ... We've had some trouble scoring runs at times, so we're working on some different types of hitting drills that can hopefully start producing some more runs for us. If we can do that, we can qualify and we can hang with everyone in the Foothills."
Senior pitcher Anthony Visco, who owns a 2.33 earned run average in a team-high 24 innings, echoed Simonds' confidence.
"We've got a good group of kids going," Visco said. "We're working on stuff every day."
"We'll get some momentum going," added senior catcher Tim Gordon. "It was tough at the beginning of the season, basically our first practice [outside] was in a real game. I see a bright future ahead."
After splitting with South Glens Falls this week, the Patriots are in the midst of a two-game non-league swing before resuming Foothills play Monday at Glens Falls. B-P romped to a 21-7 win Thursday against Mayfield and faces Galway today in a bit of a homecoming for the five Patriots -- including Visco and Gordon -- who grew up in the Galway Central School District.
"We love it, because we used to go there," Gordon said. "We're pumped."
After today, the Hunt for Seven resumes with a home-and-home series opening Monday at Glens Falls.
"Those are winnable games, and we've got to come out and take care of business," Gordon said.
Shuffling the deck
Friday night's 7-4 victory over the Colonie Garnet Raiders was Amsterdam's 11th game of the season, and for the 11th straight time, Rams coach Brian Spagnola presented a different batting order when it came time to turn in his lineup card.
Players like Robbie Sherlock, Jason Agresta and Eric Robertshaw have been shuffled throughout spots five through nine in the lineup, while Jonardy Anil, Jared Gallup and Dan Renwick have platooned and filled different spots in the order.
However, Spagnola has settled on a top four -- at least in some order -- with senior Ayden Healy and juniors Andrew Rouse, Julian Gallup and Kolbie Glionna. For the past two games, that's been the Rams' lineup in order, though with Gallup's spectacular base stealing ability -- he stole four more bases Friday night -- and Healy's team-high three home runs and 15 runs batted in, another tweak could be in order.
But, to this point in the season, that top five has distinguished itself.
"Our top of the lineup has been really good," Spagnola said.
Team of the Week: The Canajoharie Cougars went 4-0, racking up wins over Middleburgh, Sharon Springs, Mayfield and St. Johnsville. Zach Bowerman turned in a 5-for-5 performance in Monday's 17-4 rout of Sharon Springs, while Joe Winsman tossed a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Mayfield.
Player of the Week: Andrew Rouse, Amsterdam. The junior shortstop (who also played catcher during the week) went 6-for-10 with a home run during three games against Big 10 powers Troy and Christian Brothers Academy, including a four-hit game in Monday's loss to CBA.
Pitchers of the Week: Chris Hanifin, Fort Plain and Zak Shaw, Fonda-Fultonville. Nothing between these two this week, as Hanifin tossed a complete game one-hit shutout in Fort Plain's win Monday against Schoharie and Shaw followed two days later with a three-hitter as the Braves blanked Ichabod Crane. Each pitcher racked up 10 strikeouts in their winning efforts.
Game of the Week: CBA 8, Amsterdam 6. The Rams trailed 8-0 after two innings Wednesday at Shuttleworth Park, but rallied behind five innings of shutout relief from Zach Dufel and Rouse's first varsity home run to put the go-ahead run at the plate in the sixth inning before Brothers pitchers Justin Tucker and Matt Hamel finally closed the door.