How good is the Suburban Council when it comes to baseball?
So good that last year's Section II Class AA final featured the third-place South Division team (Guilderland) and the third-place North Division team (Saratoga Springs).
So good that a sub-.500 team (Averill Park) made it to the Class A championship game before losing to Patroon Conference champion Ichabod Crane.
So good that the league has had more state final four teams than any other league in New York.
There is no question that this is some of the best baseball we see in New York state, said Saratoga Springs coach Dean Bailey. "What I tell these kids is I want to see their best effort every day."
"The league, from top to bottom, is solid," said Guilderland coach Doug LaValley, whose team went to the state finals last year. "I think it's what prepares us for the playoffs."
What will make the Suburban Council tougher this year is that some teams that had success last year " Shenendehowa, Guilderland and Saratoga " graduated key players, while several others " Colonie, Averill Park, Shaker, Niskayuna and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake " remain largely intact.
"Every day should be a fight, but I think we'll be in the thick of it this year," said BH-BL senior outfielder Keaton Flint.
"Everyone is going to be tough competition this year," added Shen senior pitcher John Prendergast.
Here is a closer look at the 2011 Suburban Council:
Ballston Spa Scotties
Head coach: Kevin Sheremeta
Returning players: Dalton Wheeler (P/3B), Blake Jones (1B/OF/P), Ryan McVaigh (OF/P), Kris Baldanni (2B, C), Aaron Tybursky (UTIL), Ethan Beaudoin (C/OF), Jimmy Markiewicz (P/3B), Andrew Staniczky (P)
Newcomers: Chris Bradt (P), John Mueller (C/P)
Outlook: Sheremeta is hoping for a better showing out of his Scotties this season after they finished last in the North Division in 2010.