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DELMAR: Eagles qualify for Sectionals

For once, the Bethlehem baseball team didn't collapse when a Section II playoff berth was on the line.

The Eagles defeated Ballston Spa 14-6 last Monday to assure themselves a .500 Suburban Council record and a spot in the class AA playoffs, which begin Thursday.

I have everybody ready to go Thursday, said Bethlehem coach Rob Helm. "We'll get the pitching. We just have to play defense and score some runs."

The Eagles will find out Wed-nesday who their first-round opponent will be, though they have been working the phones to get an idea which team they will face.

"We don't know yet because we have to see where Queensbury fits in," said Helm. "We think they will take one of the Big 10 spots, so depending on which spot they take, we'll have to see where everyone else falls in."

Bethlehem (7-7 league, 9-9 overall) had been in similar positions two of the previous three seasons, only to come up short by one win. In 2004 and 2006, the Eagles lost their final two league games to finish 6-8.

Bethlehem made certain there would be no suspense this year. The Eagles had one of their best offensive games in last Monday's win, with Matt Nash and Randy Bowers leading the way with two hits apiece.

Things fell apart for Bethlehem in last Tuesday's 8-3 loss to Averill Park. The Eagles committed five errors and didn't have much pop at the plate, other than a solo home run from Nash.

"Averill Park went out there and beat us," said Helm.

Bethlehem finished the regular season with a pair of non-league games against Ballston Spa Monday and Troy Tuesday. Helm said he's using the games to get his team warmed up for what he perceives as a wide-open Sectional field.

"There's one team that has stood out, and that's Guilderland. And to tell you the truth, anyone can beat Guilderland," said Helm. ""

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