GUILDERLAND: Dutch put on hitting clinic

The Guilderland baseball team is one step closer to ending a 30-year championship drought.

The Dutchmen piled up 16 hits, and Greg Barcomb pitched four shutout innings of relief to help Guilderland defeat Bethlehem 14-4 in Saturday's Section II, Class AA quarterfinal game.

Guilderland (16-2) advances to Wednesday's semifinal against Niskayuna at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy. The Dutchmen defeated the Silver Warriors 2-0 in their only Suburban Council meeting.

You never know what it's going to be like in these (playoff) games, said Guilderland coach Doug LaValley. "If we swing the bats the way we did Saturday, it could be a higher scoring game."

Bethlehem (12-10) certainly couldn't do anything to stop Guilderland's hitters. The Dutchmen scored at least one run in all but one inning and had at least two runs in four of their six innings at the plate.

"That was the best hitting game we've had all season, but that's what we're capable of," said LaValley.

"They're a great hitting team, and they hit the ball well," said Bethlehem coach Rob Helm. "I went through five pitchers trying to find someone who could stop them."

Bethlehem had a glimmer of hope when it scored three runs in the top of the second inning to take a 3-2 lead. But Guilderland scored four runs in its half of the second " a rally capped by Drew Simpson's two-run single " to go ahead for good.

"The one thing you have to do against Guilderland is get the first strike over (the plate), and we couldn't do that," said Helm.

After starting pitcher Nick Polsinelli struggled a bit in the top of the third inning, LaValley brought Barcomb in, and the senior left-hander delivered. Barcomb allowed one hit and struck out several Eagles to seal the victory.

"Nicky (Polsinelli) is hobbled a little right now. He seemed to have some soreness in his elbow, so we made the switch to Barcomb," said LaValley.

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