Nellis’ 2-hitter lifts Sir Bills to Foothills win

JOHNSTOWN It took eight days, but the Johnstown and South Glens Falls baseball teams finally completed their Foothills Council contest Thursday at Johnstown High School.

The game began April 10 as the teams played 2 scoreless innings before thunderstorms halted the game.

When it resumed Thursday, the Sir Bills emerged victorious 3-2 over the Bulldogs.

“It’s a tough way to play a game for kids on both sides,” South Glens Falls coach Al Vasak said. “We never should have started the game last week. It turned one game into two short games, and it’s tough to get going when you’re starting almost halfway through.”

Having reached the midway point of the third inning last week, Johnstown found itself in the unusual position of getting the first at-bat Thursday.

The Sir Bills took advantage of an error and a wild pitch to score the game’s first run in the bottom of the third.

Adam Caputo reached on an error to start the game before Richie Lee reached on a fielder’s choice that saw Caputo forced out at second.

Lee advanced to second on a infield single by Dan Nellis before reaching third on a groundout by Ryan Auty. Lee scored on a wild pitch by South Glens Falls’ Matt Garcia to make it 1-0.

South Glens Falls quickly pulled even when Travis Kirk drew a leadoff walk and scored following a wild pitch and throwing error by the Sir Bills.

“We didn’t play well defensively,” Mraz said. “We’re hitting the ball, but we need to tighten things up defensively. If we do that, we should be competitive every time out.”

Johnstown escaped the inning tied at 1-1, a double play to keep the game tied.

The Sir Bills quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring twice to grab a 3-1 advantage.

Joe Nellis opened the inning with an infield single before Connor Rodecker followed with a single of his own for Johnstown.

A sacrifice bunt by Josh Brown pushed Joe Nellis to third and Rodecker to second before an RBI groundout by Jon Heroth plated Nellis.

Caputo brought Rodecker home with a two-out single that bounced into center field, making it 3-1 after four innings.

“Johnstown got some home-field bounces to go in their favor today,” Vasak said. “That’s just the game of baseball.”

South Glens Falls closed to within a run in the sixth, when Travis Scrammel scored on a sacrifice fly by Kirk to make it 3-2.

Johnstown escaped further damage and threatened to add to its lead in the bottom of the sixth when Joe Nellis and Rodecker opened the inning with back-to-back singles. After a sacrifice bunt by Brown put runners on second and third, Garcia worked his way out of the jam for the Bulldogs, getting the final two outs of the innings.

However, Joe Nellis closed out the game with two groundouts and a flyout to seal the win for Johnstown.

“Joe [Nellis] was coming in off short rest after he pitched Monday,” Mraz said. “He wasn’t as sharp as he normally is.”

Nellis earned the complete-game win on the mound, allowing just two hits, striking out nine and walking two.

Garcia took the loss for South Glens Falls, allowing eight hits, striking out two and walking none.

“I thought Matt Garcia pitched well for us and Joe Nellis pitched well for them,” Vasak said.

Rodecker led the Sir Bills at the plate with three singles, while Joe Nellis finished with two singles.

Adam Caputo added a single and an RBI for Johnstown, while Ryan Auty and Dan Nellis each had a single.

Scrammel and Mitch Fearis each had sixth-inning singles for South Glens Falls, the only hits of the game for the Bulldogs.

“This year, especially in our league, anybody can knock off anybody on any given day,” Mraz said. “To get a win, and be 3-1 at this point, is better than we anticipated.”

Johnstown (3-1 overall, 3-1 Foothills) will host Voorheesville in a non-league contest Saturday at 7 p.m.

South Glens Falls (4-4 overall, 1-2 Foothills) will host Gloversville today at 4:30 p.m.

Johnstown 3, South Glens Falls 2

South Glens Falls000 101 0 2 2 1

Johnstown001 200 x 3 8 2

Garcia and Brown; Nellis and Caputo.