Sir Bills cruise past South Glens Falls

JOHNSTOWN – The Johnstown Sir Bills pounded out 16 hits, and Grant Gyldenvand struck out eight over seven shutout innings in a 10-0 drubbing of the South Glens Falls Bulldogs on Monday in a Foothills Council baseball game at Johnstown High School.

Johnstown’s (1-1 overall) offense was firing on all cylinders in its first home game of the season. Five Sir Bills recorded multi-hit efforts, but Gyldenvand’s success on the mound was noticeable. Gyldenvand surrendered a single to the second batter of the ballgame, Stephen Hubinsky, and walked the next. After settling down, Gyldenvand retired the next 17 hitters he faced.

“After getting out of the first inning I was a little worried because his pitch count was up,” Johnstown head coach Aaron Mraz said. “We just talked about him staying in the zone and changing his speeds because they were really on him in the first inning. After he did that he was just mowing them down and I get to sit back and enjoy it because there’s not much coaching you have to do at that point.”

An RBI double by Connor Rodecker in the home half of the first gave Johnstown a lead that was never in danger. The second and third were also big innings for the Sir Bills. Ryan Auty singled to center to begin a chain of four straight Sir Bills reaching base, all of whom came around to score. Steve Forker singled Auty in for the first run of the second before Richie Lee walked to load the bases. After a sacrifice fly off the bat of Dan Nellis, Matt Szurek hit a booming double to left that scored two more. Szurek was one of a trio of Sir Bills to pick up three hits on the day, along with Rodecker and Adam Caputo.

Johnstown ripped five singles in the third, three of which came off South High’s starting pitcher, Robert Olsen, and effectively chased him from the game. Olsen gave up eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of work.

“It was good to see us come out and really square the ball up a lot today,” Mraz said. “With the wind, we had some that didn’t fall in that could have, so I was really pleased with our hitting.”

As Johnstown built on their lead, Gyldenvand continued to deal. He struck out at least one batter in each inning while carrying a one-hitter into the seventh.

“I settled down and started throwing more strikes,” Gyldenvand said. “It’s a lot about having trust in your defense. If they put the ball in play, then the defense is going to make the plays.”

Szurek added another RBI double in the fifth inning, and Rodecker knocked him in with a single to push Johnstown’s lead to double digits. Gyldenvand said pitching is a lot easier to do when his team is raking at the plate.

“When they hit, they get me a lead, which puts my confidence up and puts the team’s confidence up,” said Gyldenvand. “We just play better as a team.”

After 17 straight Bulldogs had been retired over six innings, Jacob Dubay lofted one to center field to kick off the seventh. The ball was held up by the wind and dropped between two Sir Bills for a single. After surrendering a clean single to the next batter, Gyldenvand struck out Travis Brown before inducing a double play to end the game.

The win was the 101st of Mraz’s head coaching career at Johnstown. The Sir Bills will look to build a winning streak when they travel to South Glens Falls for the second game of a home and home Wednesday at 4:30.

Johnstown 10, South Glens Falls 0

South Glens Falls 000 000 0 – 0 3 1

Johnstown 143 020 x – 10 16 0

Olsen, Dubay (3), Touse (5) and Brown; Gyldenvand and Caputo