Blogs > Extra Points

Thoughts, news and notes from the sports staff of The Saratogian newspaper, located in historic Saratoga Springs, New York. The gang in the corner office on Lake Avenue give you the post-game wrap-ups, news and notes from the games we cover and opinions about the sports we read about every day.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hobbs, McArthur spend some time on the "Toga Football Hot Seat"

I don't usually post the competition's work, but Saratoga Springs pitchers Danny Hobbs and Cory McArthur gave an exclusive interview with fellow students, the Duchenne Duo. The nearly 15 minute segment gives a nice glimpse into the juniors' mindset ahead of Saturday's state semifinal, the starting pitcher-reliever perspective and just how goofy the two Blue Streaks pitchers are. Insightful and funny, nice work Peter!


Here is my Saratoga Springs vs. Orchard Park state semifinal game preview.

And in case you missed it, here is a story-by-story look at the Blue Streaks' run to the Class AA final four.






Section II Class AA quarterfinal: Saratoga 10, La Salle 3 — http://www.saratogian.com/sports/20150521/saratogas-small-ball-beats-la-salle-10-3








Thursday, June 11, 2015

Saratoga baseball up to No. 4 in the state, plus notes

The No. 4 ranked Class AA team in the state.
The Saratoga Springs' baseball team moved up four spots to No. 4 in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association Class AA poll. The jump comes after a 2-1 win against No. 7 Cicero-North Syracuse in the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals.
Despite the jump, the Blue Streaks (according to the rankings) will technically still be the underdogs when they face No. 2 Orchard Park in the semifinals Saturday. The top teams in the state are:

Class AA Baseball rankings
1. Connetquot (24-4) Sec. XI
2. Orchard Park (22-1) Sec. VI
3. Mamaroneck (22-4) Sec. I
4. Saratoga Springs (19-5) Sec. II
5. Ward Meville (22-4) Sec. XI
...
8. Shenendehowa (19-4) Sec. II

It should be noted that (again according to rankings/seedings by the powers that be) Saratoga Springs was the underdog in the Section II semis vs. Guilderland (4-1 win), Section II finals vs. Shen (1-0 win) and state quarterfinals (2-1 win).
Other Section II teams competing in the state semifinals are No. 2 ranked Queensbury (20-5) in Class A No. 1 ranked Hoosic Valley (23-1) in Class C and No. 1 ranked Fort Ann (19-0) in Class D. Schuylerville finished as the No. 16 ranked team in Class B while sectional champs Albany Academy ended at No. 5.

This week was less stressful for ace pitcher Danny Hobbs, who didn't have to pass any tests or doctors appointments to be eligible to play this weekend. He's put in his normal practice this week and coach Rich Lofink says he will make the start against Orchard Park 1 p.m. Saturday at Union-Endicott. He'll keep the protective glasses until his face is fully healed.


My print story for Friday is about the jump middle infielders Zach Guzi and Nick Kondo made at the plate this season. My game advance for the state semifinal will run Saturday morning (online Friday night). Here's a link to the story with video interview of the two below.

Kondo:

Guzi:

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

News and notes from Saratoga Springs baseball Tuesday (with video)

Junior pitchers Cory McArthur, left, and Danny Hobbs show off their blue gloves.
  • The brand-new, blue-and-black baseball mitt Danny Hobbs has been waiting for finally arrived this week. Time, and the opinion of doctors, will determine whether he will get to use it in another varsity baseball game this season. The Saratoga Springs junior fractured a bone above his right eye in Saratoga Springs' Section II final win against Shen last week when he was beaned after throwing a pitch. Since then, he's been icing the injury in an attempt to get the swelling down to a point where he can see out of his right eye. Hobbs will likely have to pass another concussion test (like he did immediately after the injury) and be cleared by a doctor to be available to pitch in the Class AA state quarterfinal Saturday. The injury is definitely not the worse-case scenario as far as facial fractures go and the swelling has already begun to abate. He may need facial surgery down the road,for purely cosmetic reasons, once everything heals though.
  • The Blue Streaks (18-5) await the winner of Section III in the first round of states scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse. The team got a look at each of its potential opponents Sunday when it traveled to OCC to watch the Section III semis. Coach Rich Lofink said the pitching from the winning teams was comparable to what Saratoga has seen in the Suburban Council this season. The Section III final between Cicero-North Syracuse (19-3) and West Genesee (17-5) is scheduled for Wed. night. Saratoga Springs will likely have a presence at the final.
  • The Blue Streaks continued their preparation for whatever team ends up on top with a scrimmage against Section II Class A champion Queensbury at East Side Rec Tuesday. Multiple Saratoga pitchers got work (not Hobbs) and both teams had saw some success at the plate. Hobbs and fellow junior Cory McArthur took a minute away from the game to talk about the dramatic win in the final and their perspective from the postgame dog-pile.


Check back each day this week for stories about the team, video interviews and a preview of Saturday's state quarterfinal.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Saratoga golfers will sport tribute to late coach Adams at states this weekend


Brenda Adams tribute on Saratoga Golf Shirt
When Saratoga Springs golfers Chris Thompson, Dan Shepherd and Andrew Losey qualified for the high school state tournament in Oct., former coach Brenda Adams was at Orchard Creek to watch.
Adams was undergoing treatment for cancer at the time, but felt well enough to follow "her boys" around the course in a golf cart.
The longtime Saratoga Springs physical education teacher and coach died in January at the age of 54.
This weekend, Thompson, Shepherd and Losey will have Adams on their minds, but also remembered on the back of their shirts for the state tournament.
Since her passing, the Saratoga Springs School District has held several events to raise money for a scholarship fund in Adams' name and the Saratoga varsity baseball team used its senior night to contribute about $6,000 to Coaches vs. Cancer.
The two-round NYSPHSAA Golf Championship will be played at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University. Elite golfers from across the state will play a practice round Saturday followed by the first round Sunday and the second round Monday. The Section II representatives at the Championship (pictured above) are, from left, Jordan Fordyce (Northville), Chris Thompson (Saratoga), Bobby Canniff (Shaker), Dan Shepherd (Saratoga), Andrew Losey (Saratoga), Sean Puleo (Albany Academy), Scott VanDenburgh (Ichabod Crane), Tommy McPartlon (Shenendehowa), Jack O'Hara (CBA), Tom Gladd (Sect. II Coordinator). 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Section 2 softball semis PPD to Thursday

A tweet from Section II Athletics' official account said it all:


We'll update if we hear anything about any other Wednesday cancellations. Here's the updated schedule for tomorrow: 

THURSDAY, MAY 28
BASEBALL
Troy vs. Queensbury, Class A final, at Joe Bruno Stadium: 7 p.m.
Schuylerville vs. Albany Academy, Class B final, at Joe Bruno Stadium: 4 p.m.
SOFTBALL
Shaker vs. Columbia, Class AA semifinal, at Luther Forest Field 1: 4 p.m.
Colonie vs. Shenendehowa, Class AA semifinal, at Luther Forest Field 2: 4 p.m.
Scotia-Glenville vs. Averill Park, Class A semifinal, at Veeder Park Field 4: 4 p.m.
South Glens Falls vs. Troy, Class A semifinal, at Veeder Park Field 5: 4 p.m.
Mechanicville vs. Cohoes, Class B semifinal, at Veeder Park Field 2: 4 p.m.
Schuylerville vs. Ichabod Crane, Class B semifinal, at Veeder Park Field 3: 4 p.m.
Greenville vs. Hoosic Valley, Class C semifinal, at Moreau State Park: 4 p.m.
Maple Hill vs. Duanesburg, Class C semifinal, at Moreau State Park: 4 p.m.
Salem vs. Fort Ann, Class D semifinal, at Moreau State Park: 4 p.m.
Hartford vs. Loudonville Christian, Class D semifinal, at Moreau State Park: 4 p.m.
TRACK AND FIELD
Division III Sectionals, at Johnstown: 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NYRA sends advice to fans attending Belmont Stakes

American Pharoah breezes at Churchill Downs May 26 with Martin Garcia aboard.
After horror stories from fans stuck stuck in vehicles or public transportation during last year's Belmont Stakes, NYRA has capped attendance for the 2015 Belmont Stakes Day to 90,000. Tickets are still available. Here are some suggestions from NYRA to those who plan to watch American Pharoah go for the Triple Crown in person June 6:

Fans are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and build significant time into their travels to and from Belmont Park, particularly on Belmont Stakes Day. Significant delays should be anticipated accessing and exiting the property, with fans encouraged to arrive early and stay late.

This year and for the first time, paid attendance for Belmont Stakes Day will be capped at 90,000. New York Racing Association officials anticipate that all available tickets will be sold out prior to June 6. With this in mind, all fans are strongly encouraged to purchase admission in advance by visiting ticketmaster.com, or calling 1-800-745-3000.  As of today, nearly 75 percent of all available tickets for Belmont Stakes Day have already been sold. 

Fans utilizing public transportation to and from Belmont Park are urged to purchase round-trip tickets in order to further expedite their travels. Long Island Railroad customers can easily access schedule and fare information by visiting www.mta.info/LIRR or obtain real-time information by following @LIRR on Twitter. 

Updated event and transportation information will be posted on BelmontStakes.com, with fans also able to access real-time updates on Twitter by following @BelmontStakes.

Among the many changes implemented for guests attending the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6 include: 

  • New LIRR improvements: Public transportation access to Belmont Park will be enhanced through $5 million in combined investment by the New York Racing Association and the Long Island Rail Road. This will result in a fully refurbished transit rotunda on the west end of the Grandstand, as well as new rail station platforms, which will increase Belmont Station train capacity from eight to 10 cars. The LIRR has also designed a new travel plan that will enable it to move trains in and out of Belmont Station faster than ever before. Still, customers are advised that they may have to wait up to 90 minutes to board trains at the end of the day when tens of thousands converge on the station all at once. 
  • New parking configurations:  All Belmont parking lots have been reconfigured to allow vehicles to more readily access designated exits.
  • New shuttle bus routes:  Utilizing newly designed routes, guests parking in outlying Belmont parking lots (Pink, Yellow, Blue, and Green) will be shuttled by bus to three specific drop-off points: the main Clubhouse entrance, the main Paddock gate and the west Paddock gate. Shuttles will pick up guests from and drop guests off at clearly identified points in each lot.

  • New pedestrian walkways:  New, controlled-access pedestrian walkways will be delineated to further improve the flow of pedestrians between the Clubhouse and the Yellow parking lots on the south side of Hempstead Turnpike, as well as between the Clubhouse and the Green and Blue parking lots, located north of the main track. 

  • New property maps:  All guests arriving in Belmont lots will be provided with a new facility map clearly identifying all exit points, and further outlining important information for traversing the Belmont property. This map can also be accessed by visiting BelmontStakes.com

  • New entrance procedures:  To further improve the flow of guests entering and exiting the Belmont property, all turnstiles have been removed from access points to the Grandstand and Backyard, including for the stadium's western entrance directly leading to the newly constructed Long Island Railroad station.  All tickets will be checked and digitally scanned to allow for smoother pedestrian flow.

  • New post-race concerts:  For the first time, the New York Racing Association will host post-race concerts which are expected to further stagger the exit from the Belmont property. Included with admission for Friday, June 5 is a post-race concert led by platinum-selling recording artists O.A.R.  The following day, a special post-race concert will be led by multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated recording artists GOO GOO DOLLS. 
On Belmont Stakes Day and in an effort to remove cars from local roadways, while further serving fans residing in the neighboring communities of Elmont and Floral Park, the New York Racing Association has arranged for courtesy bus shuttles to operate between the Belmont Park Clubhouse entrance and these two communities on Belmont Stakes Day. These neighborhood bus shuttles will operate approximately every 20 minutes between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. on the following schedules:
  • The Floral Park Shuttle will travel from Belmont Park north on Plainfield Avenue, west on Woodbine Court, with a scheduled stop at Atlantic Avenue Extension and Tulip Avenue, adjacent to Lion's Park.  It will then travel north on Tulip Avenue to Jericho Turnpike and head east, making a second stop at the Nassau County bus stop in front of 90 Jericho Turnpike.  The bus will continue east on Jericho Turnpike and make its third and final stop at the Nassau County bus stop at Floral Park Place and Floral Terrace.  The bus will then return to Belmont Park.

  • The Elmont Shuttle will travel from Belmont Park south on Plainfield Avenue across Hempstead Turnpike and on to Elmont Road. It will then turn east at Dutch Broadway, north on Meacham Avenue and across Hempstead Turnpike to continue on Covert Avenue.  At Tulip Avenue, the bus will turn west and return to Belmont Park. The courtesy shuttles will stop at each of the Nassau County bus stops along the route.
New security protocols have also been implemented for this year, with all fans subject to enhanced screening prior to entering the Belmont property. Guests attempting to enter the Clubhouse, Grandstand or the Backyard with prohibited items will be asked to return those items to their vehicles or dispose of them.  No storage will be provided for guests arriving with, or attempting to enter with prohibited items. A full list of prohibited and permitted items is available at BelmontStakes.com.

"The safety of our guests, our equine athletes, our horsemen and horsewomen and all of our employees is the top priority of the New York Racing Association," stated George Venizelos, Vice President of Security. "To that end, we continue working closely and collaboratively with our partners at the local, state and federal level to keep our guests safe and on the move throughout this mega event."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thursday's Saratoga-area baseball sectional match-ups




Class AA

No. 6 La Salle (16-4) at No. 3 Saratoga Springs (15-5)
Blue Streaks players to watch: Dan Coleman-pitcher, Nick Kondo-SS, Jake Fauler-OF
Cadets players to watch: Sean McLaughlin-3B, Jake LaFerriere-LF
Notable: Saratoga Springs has been unbeatable when starter Danny Hobbs (4-0) is pitching, most recently beating Shen 5-1. However, the Blue Streaks dropped three of its final Suburban Council games, and changed coaches, before beating Schuylerville to close the regular season. La Salle finished its independent schedule with a 16-4 record, 10-2 against former Big 10 teams, but does not have one dominant pitcher. Instead, Coach Brian Henkel expects to use his deep pitching staff to patch together a quality seven innings. The winner of this game will play the winner of Guilderland-Schenectady in a semifinal at Joe Bruno Stadium. 


No. 8 Niskayuna at No. 1 Shenendehowa (17-3)
Plainsmen players to watch: Ian Anderson-P, Connor Douglas-OF, Rich Drum-OF
Niskayuna players to watch: Garett Whitely-CF
Notable: Ian Anderson has been lights out in the regular season to lead Shen’s impressive pitching staff. If he does get the start, it will be the third time he pitches against MLB prospect Garrett Whitely, who some scouts have going No. 1 in the draft to Arizona. Shen won regular season meetings between these teams by scores of 9-1 and 15-4.

Class A

No. 7 Troy (9-11) at No. 2 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (10-9)
Flying Horses players to watch: Anthony Eaton
Spartans players to watch: Jon Sell-P, Aaron Delano-OF, Danny Maynard-C
Notable: Coming out of the Suburban Council with a winning record earned Burnt Hills the No. 2 seed. Jon Sell has been tough to hit this season but the Spartans' bat haven't always been able to give him run support. The team has had a great season - on offense and defense - from senior catcher Danny Maynard and junior Aaron Delano.

No. 5 South Glens Falls (13-7) at No. 4 Amsterdam (11-7)
Bulldogs players to watch: Matt Higgins, Jake Dubay, Nate Corhouse
Rams players to watch: Brett Stanavich
Notable: Amsterdam won the previous meeting between these teams in mid-April 4-2. The Bulldogs committed three errors on that day, however, have been playing good ball as of late. The postseason appearance is the first in several years for South High, who finished third place in the Foothills Council North standings.

Class B

No. 8 Cohoes (9-4) at No. 1 Saratoga Catholic (20-1)
Tigers players to watch: Jesse Curtin-P
Saints players to watch: Jake Moline-P, Ryan Czarnecki-C, Tim Brizzell-3B
Notable: Saratoga Catholic opened the season on an 18-game win streak and has not lost against Class B competition yet. The Saints will hope to ride the right arm of ace Jake Moline and have a better day at the plate than they did in the opening round Tuesday to clinch their first trip to the semifinals since 2012.

No. 5 Schuylerville (14-6) at No. 4 Hoosick Falls (12-3)
Black Horses players to watch: Matt Saddlemire-SS, Jake Petralia-OF, Joe Braim-P
Panthers players to watch: Alex Mendez, Wyatt Cushman
Notable: Two teams that know each other very well from past Wasaren League rivalry games will meet in the Class B quarterfinals. The Black Horses have since moved on to the Foothillls Council where they've fared well against Class A competition in preparation for this part of the season. Ace Jake Petralia picked up the win for the Black Horses in the first round Tuesday so fellow senior Joe Braim may get the nod to pitch Thursday with Matt Saddlemire available in relief.

No. 6 Corinth (8-3) at No. 3 Albany Academy (13-2)
Tomahawks players to watch: Alex Jenkins, Anthony Villano
AA players to watch: Connor Morgan-P, Rory Flaherty
Notable: Corinth got a huge day (4-for-4 with 3 RBIs) from Alex Jenkins in a 13-9 win over Fonda-Fultonville in the first round of the Class B sectionals. The Tomahawks will need another good performance at the plate if they want to pull an upset over the third-seeded Cadets.

Class C

No. 8 Greenwich (12-9) at No. 1 Hoosic Valley (14-0)
Witches players to watch: Lukas Whitehouse-P, Jon Stewart-C, George Ostrowski-1B
HV players to watch: John Rooney-P-1B
Notable: Hoosic Valley beat Greenwich twice during the Wasaren League season but, as the saying goes, it's always tough to beat a good team three times. With John Rooney on the mound, however, it makes it a lot easier. Rooney is undefeated in his high school pitching career. Lukas Whitehouse has submitted a solid junior season for coach Duke Beck's Witches and should get the start on the mound after George Ostrowski submitted a gem to beat Waterford-Halfmoon 3-1 Tuesday.