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Weather complicates start of baseball season

Monday, April 14, 2014 - Updated: 8:50 AM

Getting the 2014 baseball season started has been far easier said than done for most area high school programs.

The season was slated to get underway two weeks ago, but the foul weather and frosty field conditions that limited preseason practice almost primarily to gymnasiums and parking lots crept into the regular season, completely washing out the first week of games.

Last week, every area team took the field at least once -- though to varying levels of completion. Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville got four games under its belt thanks to hosting Saturday's Ben Conte Memorial Tournament, while Amsterdam, Canajoharie, Galway and Mayfield have played two games apiece. Broadalbin-Perth and Fonda-Fultonville have played a game apiece, while the Fort Plain Hilltoppers have been plagued by postponements and played just two innings of their much-delayed season opener Friday against Mekeel Christian Academy and opened up a 13-0 lead before rain at Schenectady's Central Park forced the game to be suspended.

It's been a frustrating couple of weeks, especially for the likes of Fonda-Fultonville coach Rick Palumbo, whose team had its scheduled opener delayed several times before finally starting Saturday against Johnstown -- including making the hour drive to Valatie for a Friday game with Ichabod Crane and going through pre-game warm-ups, only for rain to cause another postponement.

"Our guys have been chomping at the bit. This should've been our fifth game," Palumbo said after Saturday's 4-1 win over Johnstown. "They want to play. These kids love to play baseball, period, and for them not to be able to play and told they can't play when they're ready, it's hard."

With schools off for spring vacation this week, most area teams will get a chance to make up a chunk of their erased schedules -- led by Fort Plain, which is slated to play five games in five days if the weather holds.

But, some teams -- including Amsterdam and Fonda-Fultonville -- are scheduled to play just once during this wide-open week, meaning the rest of the spring will likely be a mad dash to attempt to get in 18 regular-season games before the Section II baseball committee meets to seed the sectional playoffs May 19.

"Everybody's got kids on vacation that we've got to make games up with," Palumbo said. "Then, when we get back from the Gloversville Tournament (on Saturday), we've got five games the next week. It's gonna be crazy."

Weekly awards

Team of the week: Mayfield. The Panthers, one of the area's most veteran squads, opened up the season strong with wins over Middleburgh and Duanesburg by a combined score of 16-4.

Player of the week: Dylan Klock, Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville. The Wolves' super sophomore went 3 for 4 in OESJ's season-opening win over Duanesburg and added a game-winning RBI double Friday against B-K-W. Klock also picked up two wins on the mound in his team's 3-1 week, including a three-hit shutout against Duanesburg.

Pitcher of the week: Bobby Gates, Mayfield. The senior lefthander was dominant in the Panthers' season-opening win over Mayfield, striking out 14 and walking two in a complete game three-hitter.

Game of the week: OESJ 5, B-K-W 3. The Wolves watched B-K-W rally from a three-run deficit to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning, only for an RBI double from Klock and an RBI single from Devan Battisti to put OESJ in front for good.

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