Baseball: Blue Bison itching to get outside

Shaker scheduled to start season Thursday against Lansingburgh

Frank said he will be calling upon the rest of Shaker’s pitchers to step up this season, especially if the start of the 2014 campaign is pushed back farther due to sloppy field conditions. The entire Suburban Council season was moved back one week because the prolonged wintry weather kept fields frozen longer and teams inside longer as a consequence.

“The schedule is going to be compressed, so pitching depth will be key,” said Frank.

If Shaker can get in three full outdoor practices, it will face Lansingburgh Thursday and then CBA Friday.

“We haven’t been on any field up here (at the school),” said Frank.

Across town, the Colonie baseball team is in a similar boat. The Garnet Raiders haven’t been outside a lot, which has meant more time in the batting cage.

That may be a good thing for Colonie, though. The Garnet Raiders are looking to improve an offense that was lackluster last season and only returns three regulars — Ben Contento, Jeff Bink and Kyle Ruth — who hit above .300 for a sub-.500 team in 2013.

“They’ve been working hard in the (batting) cage, so I think we’re ready to go,” said Colonie coach Kevin Halburian.

Contento was Colonie’s best double threat last season. At the plate, the first baseman and pitcher hit .375 with a .479 slugging percentage, scored 18 runs and drove in 10 runs. And despite a 1-4 record, Contento had a strong season on the mound with a 3.03 earned run average and 20 strikeouts.

“He had a tough year because he pitched against the other teams’ best pitchers,” said Halburian. “He pitched well enough to win most of those games, but he didn’t get the run support.”

Ruth and Bink return to their middle infield roles. Ruth, a junior second baseman, batted .315 last year with a .418 on base percentage and three doubles, while Bink, a senior shortstop, had a .308 batting average with 12 RBI and 14 runs scored.

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