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Shen breaks open Game 2 with Saratoga to force Sunday’s winner – Saratogian

TROY, NY – The Shenendehowa Plainsmen baseball team has forced a winner-take-all Section 2 Finals matchup. Stop if you’ve heard that one before.

If you’re still reading, get ready for another doozy. It will be against the same opponent, the Saratoga Springs Blue Streaks, that the team faced a season ago at Joe Bruno Stadium and was defeated to bring the hardware back to their stretch of I-87.

Shenendehowa head coach Greg Christodulu said he also got the feeling of déjà vu, but that came during Friday night’s Sectional Class AAA Finals Game 2, when his team broke open the ballgame to avoid elimination in the best-of-three series. beating Saratoga Springs 10-3.

“I look at the scoreboard and say, ‘It’s starting to repeat last year’s scenario,’” Christodulu said after the match. “They win Game 1, we come back and win a Game 2 by a couple of runs and then we’ll see what happens on Sunday. We are looking forward to it.”

Saratoga Springs had posted a 4-1 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night, scoring all four points in the top half of the final frame to take the one-game series lead. Saratoga quickly led again to start Game 2, taking a three-run lead through the first five innings, supporting starter lefty Louis Betit, who kept top-seeded Shenendehowa off the board.

The Plainsmen stopped knocking on the door in the top of the sixth inning. They kicked it down.

The defending Section 2 champions posted a six-run high in the sixth inning, capped off by a grand slam by third baseman Cooper Reinisch.

“’Just hit the ball,’” Reinisch explained of his approach after the game. “I wasn’t trying to hit a grand slam, I wasn’t trying to hit a line drive; everyone says, ‘Oh, hit the ball the other way.’ No, I’m trying to hit the ball in general and I made my best swing on it, saw the ball cut through the middle and made a good swing. My best swing I could have.”

“It didn’t really hit me until I rounded first base because I knew I had it in the air, I knew it had a chance, but to see it go by was a pretty surreal moment,” he added .

With a renewed 6-3 lead, Shenendehowa scored four more runs in the top of the seventh, this time all on small ball. After back-to-back errors started the inning, it resulted in a hit-by-pitch and three straight RBI singles to take a 10-3 lead.

The night before, the Plainsmen managed only two hits in the one-run outing. On Friday evening, the team recorded 10 basehits, two of which went for extra bases.

“We just had a meeting and we were trying to be relaxed. I think we went there kind of stressed, trying to think about the last at-bats, and we can’t do that. We just have to keep it at bat every at-bat, not try to do too much, just try to hit the ball.”

“I appreciate the seniors. They called the whole team together for a meeting and the seniors said, “This is our last chance.” Christodulu said. “I let them do their thing. They had to take responsibility for the results and they did that tonight.”

“Our guys just kept grinding, and you have to give them credit because we were struggling, so there was a lot of frustration,” he added. “But eventually we broke through and you could just feel the air release when Cooper took that ball into the night.”

Just like a season ago, two different versions of each team have appeared to split the first two matches. Last year, in the Class AA Final Game 3, Shenendehowa went to a gun committee to win 3-1.

Shenendehowa goes for the replay Sunday at 7 p.m. as Saratoga Springs chases the upset.

“We just have to have fun. I think I’m going to tell these guys, ‘We’ve got to have fun. Don’t get lost in the moments in big games like this. We just have to have fun,” Reinisch said. “When you’re having fun, you play your best baseball.”

Shenendehowa 10, Saratoga Springs 3
SHEN;0000064;— ;10;9;1
TOGA;1010100;— ;3;7;2
Plainsmen-Pazienza 1B, 1B, 1B, 2R; Oehlschlaeger BB, R; Clawson2B, 2R; Curtis R; Bhusri 1B, 2R, 2RBI, SB; Cronine 1B, 3RBI, SAC; Mello 1B, R, RBI, BB; Reinisch 1B, HR, RBI, R. PITCHING: Ensel 4.0, 2R (ER) 5H, 6BB, 5K. Barry 1.0, R, 4BB. Palermo (W) 2.0, 2H, 3BB, K.
Blue Streaks- Rodriguez R, RBI, 3BB; Rhude 1B, 1B, BB; Rigabar 2BB; McKinley3BB; Betit 1B, 1B, R; Mack 1B, 1B; Mills RBI, R, BB; Harris B.B.; Delnicki 1B, BB. PITCHING: Betit (L) 5.2, 5R, 5H, 2BB, 8K. Rossi 0.1, 3R (ER), H. Greiner 1.0, 2R, 3H, 2K.