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Thursday, November 27, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,

Gene Twardzik/For The Recorder Amsterdam's Eric Robertsaw, bottom, is tagged out at home plate by Averill Park catcher Chris Arnold during Saturday's Section II Class A semifinal at the Plumeri Sports Complex in Albany.

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Section II playoffs a whirlwind of excitement, disappointment

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - Updated: 10:19 AM

Well, that was eventful.

The first week of the Section II baseball playoffs produced one of the wildest stretches of high school athletics I've ever covered, as I criss-crossed the capital region from Catskill to Saratoga Springs to -- rather unexpectedly -- the basement of Scotia-Glenville High School for a week of wild comebacks, umpiring controversies, and ominous weather warnings.

Things started Tuesday in Catskill as the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots met the Catskill Cats in the first round of the Class BB playoffs, and I still can't quite comprehend the way B-P's season came to an end. I try to avoid criticizing officials in high school sports, but if you're the home plate umpire at a baseball game, you should at least be expected to keep the correct ball-strike count.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, the home plate ump lost track of the count to Brett Getman, who should've walked -- and later scored -- but ended up flying out and erasing the run that would have, at the very least, kept B-P's season going in a game they eventually lost by one run.

Two days later, it was out to Scotia for what was supposed to be a Class A quarterfinal game between the Amsterdam Rams and Scotia-Glenville Tartans, but what we ended up getting were a torrential downpour, a tornado warning, and a half-hour spent in a sweaty basement before the game was postponed.

That brought things to Friday, and the unreal emotion in the Amsterdam dugout as they rallied from being three outs from elimination to score five seventh-inning runs and beat the Tartans for the program's first sectional win in a decade. It was a phenomenal thing to witness, as the Rams had barely touched S-G starter Dan Zeglen through six innings before a switch flipped in the seventh.

Finally came Saturday, heading from Albany to Saratoga Springs and back to Amsterdam as the Rams went through yet another roller coaster in their season-ending 8-7 loss to Averill Park before the Fonda-Fultonville Braves punched their championship game ticket with a 10-0 rout of top-seeded Corinth in the Class B semifinals.

And, at the end of it all, two of our area teams are still standing for the sectional championship round for the first time since 2010 as Fonda-Fultonville will face Voorheesville for the Class C title Wednesday and Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville will go up against Fort Ann for the Class D championship Thursday. Both games will be at Troy's Joe Bruno Stadium.

Predictably unpredictable

The seedings have completely collapsed in pretty much every Section II baseball tournament, but don't count me among the surprised.

The only classification where the top two seeds held through the semifinals was AA, where top seed Shenendehowa and No. 2 seed Christian Brothers Academy will meet for the title. Only two other No. 1 seeds -- Schalmont in Class BB and Fort Ann in Class D -- made it through to the finals, and only one other top-four seed -- Class D No. 3 seed OESJ -- will play at Joe Bruno Stadium.

But, with the incredibly compact regular season this spring and the Section II baseball committee's premium on league record -- regardless of strength of schedule -- in its seeding process, upsets and upheaval were to be expected. In sectionals, two good pitchers or a hot hitting streak can create magic, no matter the seed.

Weekly awards

Teams of the week: OESJ and Fonda-Fultonville. Can't separate the area's two sectional finalists, both of which upset a top-two seed on the way to Joe Bruno Stadium. OESJ's done it with offense -- 23 runs in two games -- while Fonda-Fultonville's logged two straight shutouts.

Player of the week: Dylan Klock, OESJ. The sophomore star collected eight hits, including five doubles, over two games as the Wolves beat Germantown and Loudonville Christian to advance to a sectional final in the first year as a combined district.

Pitchers of the week: Zak Shaw and Pat Hart, Fonda-Fultonville. Two games, 14 innings, 10 hits allowed, 22 strikeouts and not a single run has crossed the plate against either Shaw or Hart as the Braves reached a sectional final for the first time since 2009.

Game of the week: Amsterdam 5, Scotia-Glenville 1. For six innings, the Rams couldn't get anything going against Zeglen, seeing just 63 pitches in the process. But the seventh inning, the inspired rally and the rabid energy, that's something this year's crop of Rams will never forget.

Follow ADAM SHINDER on Twitter at twitter.com/RecorderShinder

     

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