Class AA baseball title comes down to crosstown rivalry

The Shaker and Colonie baseball teams will have more than town bragging rights on the line when they meet Thursday.

They will be playing for the Section II Class AA title.

No. 2 Colonie edged No. 3 Shenendehowa 6-5 in Saturday's Sectional semifinal game at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, while No. 4 Shaker thumped No. 8 Saratoga 13-0 in the other semifinal.

\It's going to be a good game, said Colonie coach Kevin Halburian. "It's going to be clean, it's going to be hard and it's going to be enjoyable."

Colonie (18-2) used a wild rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to knock off Shen (15-5). With one out and the Garnet Raiders trailing 5-4, Jake Mullen hit a weak grounder in front of home plate. Shen catcher Mike Cuttita fielded the ball, but his throw to first base sailed into right field, which allowed Mullen to reach second.

"That's all because Jake hustled out of the [batter's] box," said Halburian. "With his speed, he beat out the throw, and the guy [Cuttita] had to rush the throw."

Jamie June made Shen pay for its mistake. June stroked a single into left field to drive in Mullen with the tying run.

"I expected something good out of him, and he came through," Halburian said of June.

Shen coach James Carrese replaced starting pitcher Miles Kelly with Mike Englert, and the move seemingly worked at first as Englert struck out Chris Kalica. But Brian O'Keefe reached on an error, and Joe Schupp was hit by a pitch to load the bases for David Monin, who hit a shot past a diving Matt Buckley at third base to drive in O'Keefe with the winning run.

"I saw it get by [Buckley's] glove, and I knew we were going to the Sectional finals," said Monin.

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