Sir Bills cruise past Hudson Falls, 10-1

JOHNSTOWN – Grant Gyldenvand tossed a one-hit complete game and Matt Szurek slashed four hits to lead the Johnstown Sir Bills over the Hudson Falls Tigers 10-1 Monday at Johnstown High School.

Hudson Falls aided Johnstown in the rout by committing seven errors, including at least one in each of the first five frames.

Szurek wasted no time in getting the Sir Bills (5-4 overall, 4-3 Foothills) on the scoreboard against Hudson Falls (2-7 overall, 1-6 Foothills) starter Tom Kiernan.

After Kiernan walked Dan Nellis in the bottom of the first, Szurek rocked a triple to right field to force in the game’s first run. Jon Heroth followed with an RBI single and Adam Caputo singled a run home later in the inning. Ryan Auty scored the fourth run of the stanza after getting hit by a pitch and coming around to score on an errant pickoff attempt by Kiernan.

After retiring the side in order in the first, Gyldenvand and the Sir Bills got off to a shaky start in the second. Greg Scarselletta singled to right and Christian Henkel reached on an error one batter later. The next hitter, Jacob Potter, grounded out to force in the Tigers’ only run of the ball game and was the first of 17 straight batters retired by Gyldenvand and the Johnstown defense.

“He’s [Gyldenvand] not overpowering but we keep saying you don’t need to be. Just pitch to contact and let our defense play well,” Johnstown head coach Aaron Mraz said. “We had one error in the first inning which led to a run, but we picked it up and were solid behind him.”

Szurek knocked in two more runs in the second to put the Sir Bills up 6-1. Caputo reached on an error by the shortstop to lead off the third and came around to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Steve Forker two batters later. Caputo was responsible for Johnstown’s final three runs as well, as a bases loaded fourth-inning single to center slipped past Henkel and cleared the bases.

“I liked our two-strike, two-out hitting,” Mraz said. “We had some key spots there that we put the ball in play and scored some runs with two outs. I think our contact was good today.”

Gyldenvand struck out just two batters in his seven innings of work, but the Sir Bills’ defense was impenetrable as the game progressed. Szurek made a leaping highlight grab at shortstop in the fourth to keep the Tigers off the basepaths and was a part of eight assists or putouts in total.

“We’ve been playing like that all year behind him,” Mraz said. “As a defender, knowing the ball is going to be on the plate and they’re going to put it in play, you’re on your toes and ready to play.”

Caputo and Szurek combined for six of Johnstown’s nine hits while Auty and Steve Forker joined Heroth and them in the hit column. The Sir Bills also drew four walks, while Gyldenvand didn’t surrender a free pass.

The win pushed the both Sir Bills’ overall and league record above .500.

They will look to build a winning streak when they travel to Hudson Falls for another matchup with the Tigers on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

Johnstown 10, Hudson Falls 1

Hudson Falls 010 000 0 – 1 1 7

Johnstown 421 300 x – 10 9 1

Kiernan, Henkel (5) and Potter; Gyldenvand and Caputo