By ADAM SHINDER
With five games in four days, Amsterdam 10-and-under travel baseball coach Aaron Cotugno knew his team wasn't going to succeed without each and every player making a contribution throughout the weekend.
That's exactly what happened.
With the whole roster chipping in, Amsterdam clawed out a team championship in the South Glens Falls Tournament. Amsterdam emerged from three days of preliminary play in the nine-team tournament with one of four berths in Sunday's semifinals, where they knocked off the top-seeded host team, South Glens Falls, 8-2, before moving on to claim the title with an 8-4 championship game win over Clifton Park.
"They all played pretty well," Cotugno said.
Coming into the semifinals, Cotugno knew his Amsterdam team had a tough task on hand against a South Glens Falls team that powered its way through play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, beating its three opponents by a combined score of 32-3.
"We knew that was gonna be a tough game," Cotugno said.
But, Amsterdam used its pitching depth to work around the tournament rules, which placed limits on how many innings pitchers could throw both for the entire tournament and in back-to-back games. With the likes of C.J. Durinick, Anthony DeRosa and Ryan Visco -- whom Cotugno called the team's "spot guy" with three key relief appearances over the weekend -- turning in solid efforts on the mound, Amsterdam was able to forge a path to the final.
In the semis, it was Carson Cotugno and Michael Magliocca who pitched Amsterdam to victory, combining to limit South Glens Falls to two hits while racking up a combined 10 strikeouts.
"You had to do a little bit of managing, too," Aaron Cotugno said.
In fact, the tournament's pitching rules played a major role in determining the other final, as Cotugno said the Clifton Park team won its semifinal via protest when its opponent brought in a pitcher who had already surpassed his innings limit in a tie game.
That set up the final, which was tied 4-4 in the fifth inning when Ben Huckans smacked two-run double that gave Amsterdam the lead for good and sparked a stretch of four unanswered runs to close the game. Huckans' hit was followed by RBI hits from Magliocca and Carson Cotugno to stretch the lead to 8-4. Durinick added an RBI double in the game and Visco turned in three scoreless innings on the mound while also contributing a two-run single that tied the game in the fourth.
For the weekend, Carson Cotugno led the way for Amsterdam with 10 hits in five games. He ended up going 10-for-13. Magliocca chipped in six hits; Durinick and Kyle Bottisti had five hits apiece; Huckans, Spencer Cotugno, Jacob Nasadoski and Andrew Spagnola had four hits; and Visco, DeRosa and Lucca Quatrini added three hits each.
Between timely hitting and a whole host of pitchers shutting opponents down, Aaron Cotugno said, there wasn't one individual who carried Amsterdam to the crown.
"It was a team effort," he said.
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