Sir Bills slip past Cohoes, 2-1
JOHNSTOWN – The Johnstown Sir Bills started their quest to return to the Sectional II championship game the same way they started the journey in 2013 – with a home-field victory over Cohoes.
Sixth-seeded Johnstown (12-6) squeezed its way past No. 11 Cohoes on a well-executed, bases-loaded bunt by Matt Szurek to turn back the Tigers 2-1 and advance to the Class BB quarterfinals Thursday at third-seeded Hudson.
“Coach asked me in Scotia if I wanted to squeeze [in a similar situation] and we decided not to in that game,” Szurek said. “So this time it was definite. It was a curve ball down and away – a good pitch for him [Cohoes relief pitcher Trey Bremmer]. I was able to put it down, but Joey [Henderson] probably would have been safe anyways because he is so fast.”
After turning back a Tigers threat in the top of the seventh, Johnstown came to bat in the bottom of the seventh with the score deadlocked at one.
Henderson worked the count full against Cohoes relief pitcher Bishop Kilmer before walking.
Connor Rodecker delivered a bloop single to right and Ryan Auty drew a walk to load the bases with no outs and chase Kilmer.
Bremmer came on and struck out Danny Nellis before getting ahead of Szurek in the count.
Henderson broke off third on the pitch and was practically at home when Szurek pushed the bunt down the first base line for the walk-off 2-1 victory.
“It was building up, and after we got first and second, I told Ryan and Danny we were going to bunt one over and squeeze one home,” Johnstown coach Aaron Mraz said. “Unfortunately for Danny, the kid came in and threw two good pitches for strikes, which we didn’t anticipate. He went right at him with no outs. We were confident with Matt up because he has very good bat control.”
The Sir Bills broke open a pitcher’s dual between Cohoes starter Jesse Curtin and Richie Lee in the bottom of the fourth.
Szurek led off the inning and was hit by a pitch before stealing second. Jon Heroth lined a 2-2 pitch to right that was bobbled, allowing Szurek to score and put Johnstown up 1-0.
Lee gave up a game-opening triple to Curtin but kept the Tigers hitless after that until the top of the sixth.
With two outs, Max Carey was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on Kevin Napier’s single to right. A.J. Cioffi tied the game with his RBI single through the left side to score Carey and tie the game at one apiece.
Cohoes threatened again in the top of the seventh after Sean Connors reached on a throwing error.
Ryan Auty came on in relief and got the Sir Bills out of the jam with a pair of ground outs and a strike out to give Johnstown the momentum it needed in the bottom of the seventh.
“Richie came out of nowhere. We worked hard at getting him ready to go because he struggled his last two outings,” Mraz said. “He did a great job out there before he got tired in the end and gave up that one run. It got a little rocky in the first inning when they got some big hits off him but after that he settled down.”
Heroth led Johnstown at the plate with two singles and an RBI, while Lee also had a pair of singles and Rodecker singled to round out the Johnstown hitting attack.
Curtin had the lone extra base hit of the game for Cohoes, a triple, while giving up four hits and striking out eight on the mound for the Tigers.
Johnstown will make the trip to Hudson to face the third-seeded Blue Hawks Thursday at 4 p.m.
“We faced them last year and they have a lot of guys back,” Mraz said. “They are going to be tough. I know they are a fast team and will be running and challenging us on the bases, so we have to keep them off the bases as much as possible.”
Johnstown 2, Cohoes 1
Cohoes000 001 0 – 1 3 0
Johnstown000 100 1 – 2 5 1
Curtin, Kilmer (7), Bremmer (7) and Napier; Lee, Auty (7) and Caputo.
Class BB First Round
Catskill 7, Broadalbin-Perth 6
CATSKILL – Matt Gabel was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored to lead Catskill to a win over Broadalbin-Perth in the opening round of the Section II Class BB Tournament.
The seventh-seeded Cats scored five runs in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead and held off a late rally by the 10th-seeded Patriots.
Derek Dupont had two hits for Catskill, while Brendan Bossard had a single and two RBIs.
Joe Zarecki had two doubles and four RBIs for Broadalbin-Perth, while Brett Getman was 2-for-4.
Catskill (12-7 overall) advances to face second-seeded Saratoga Central Catholic (16-3 overall) in Thursday’s quarterfinals at Veterans Memorial Park at 4 p.m.
B-P finished the season with a 6-14 overall record.
Class C First Round
Galway 5, Greenwich 4
GALWAY – Galway scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for a win over Greenwich in the first round of the Class C Tournament.
Nate Schrader walked, stole second and scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch for the seventh-seeded Eagles, who only had two hits.
John Barnes homered in the first inning for 10th-seeded Greenwich, while Elliot Hansen had three hits.
Galway will travel to second-seeded Whitehall on Thursday for a 4 p.m. contest.
Galway 5, Greenwich 4
Greenwich102 001 0 – 4 8 2
Galway101 003 x – 5 2 0
Barnes and Pratt; Goergen and Uline.