Pitching had arguably been the Guilderland baseball team's weakness for most of the season. During the playoffs, one pitcher in particular has proven to be Guilderland's strength.
Junior Vinny Tamburello picked up his second win of the postseason with a complete-game four-hitter as the Dutchmen edged Saratoga Springs 4-3 in last Thursday's Section II Class AA championship game at Hudson Valley Community College.
I knew we had a shot [at a title] if we got some pitching, said Guilderland coach Doug LaValley.
Tamburello used a variety of off-speed pitches to keep Saratoga's hitters guessing, and though his control wasn't always pinpoint accurate, he got the key outs when he needed them to send the Dutchmen to their second regional final appearance in four years.
"My arm feels great," said Tamburello, who appeared in all four of Guilderland's Sectional games. "I could probably throw another seven innings."
"It's a good lesson for everyone that you don't have to throw 100 miles per hour to be a successful pitcher," said Saratoga coach Dean Bailey. "If you throw a lot of off-speed stuff and keep a team off-balance like he [Tamburello] did, you're going to give your team a chance to win every time."
Tamburello also helped at the plate. His RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning gave Guilderland a 2-0 lead, which gave him the confidence he needed to handle Saratoga's dangerous offense the rest of the night.
"That actually helped me pitch a little better," said Tamburello.
Guilderland's first-inning rally started with a bang when Jimmy Quinn singled and Sean Geisel followed with a double into center field. Saratoga intentionally walked slugger Matt Zanotta to load the bases for Luke Stark, who hit into a groundout to drive in Quinn. Tamburello's sacrifice fly brought Geisel home.
"That's the biggest thing we've gotten in Sectionals -- the sacrifice flies," said LaValley.