ALBANY - As it did in the Section II Class B championship game against Voorheesville, the Fonda-Fultonville baseball team will face a familiar foe in the Class B-BB playoff today.
The Class B champion Braves will face another divisional foe from the Colonial Council when they meet Class BB champion Schalmont today at The College of Saint Rose's Plumeri Sports Complex at 1 p.m.
"They're [Schalmont] pretty good." Fonda-Fultonville coach Rick Palumbo said. "They hit the ball very well and they've got good pitchers. They've got everything they need to be successful."
The Fonda-Fultonville baseball team celebrates its 3-2 win over Voorheesville in the Section II Class B championship game Wednesday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Schalmont won both regular-season meetings, sweeping a doubleheader at home by scores of 9-3 and 17-0.
Those losses were part of a five-game losing streak by Fonda-Fultonville to end the regular season for the Braves.
"That was a rough stretch for us," Palumbo said. "We've turned it around since sectionals began though."
In their three Class B sectional wins, the Braves outscored the opposition 20-2 in wins over Stillwater, Corinth and Voorheesville.
"We've played well in the postseason," Palumbo said. "We didn't finish the season strong, but we've turned it around at the right time."
FFCS (13-9 overall) earned its first sectional title since 1982 in unconventional fashion, edging Voorheesville on Wednesday, 3-2, in the Class B title game.
Down to their final out and with a runner on first, the Braves got new life when Voorheesville first baseman Alex Minnick circled under a foul ball hit by Anthony Sinicropi. However, Minnick lost his footing and dropped the ball.
Sinicropi then drew a walk and joined Luke Calkins, who walked with one out, on the bases.
Zak Shaw earned a walk on four pitches to join them and load the bases.
Pat Hart pushed home the tying run with another walk and Baylee Hall drew the fifth walk of the inning to plate the game-winning run for the Braves.
"That was kind of a bizarre finish," Palumbo said. "We'll take it any way we can get it though."
Shaw earned the complete-game win on the mound for FFCS, allowing two hits and striking out eight.
Sinicropi, Hart, Kevin Myers and Brandon Baker all collected singles for the Braves, while Calkins and Shaw drew three walks apiece.
Schalmont, which won the 2013 Class B title, collected the Class BB crown Wednesday with a 6-1 win over Johnstown.
The Sabres took advantage of four Sir Bills' errors on their way to the title.
Greg Musk and Kaelan Meers had RBI singles for Schalmont, while John Pascarella, Joe Wignot and Anthony Yezzo had singles.
Schalmont (22-1 overall) is expected to send its ace, Musk, to the mound today.
Musk closed out Wednesday's win for Schalmont, needing six pitches to strikeout the only batter he faced in the top of the seventh.
"He's a good pitcher," Palumbo said.
The teams last met in the postseason in 2012 with the seventh-seeded Braves posting a 3-1 win over the second-seeded Sabres in Rotterdam.
"I feel like we can play with Schalmont, but we better be ready to play," Palumbo said.
Schalmont, which has won 18 straight games, posted 4-0 wins over Cairo-Durham and Albany Academy to reach the Class BB finals before defeating Johnstown 6-1.
"We're really going to have to play our A game to be in the game," Palumbo said. "We're excited to still be playing and we're going to give it our best shot."
The winner will advance to state regional play to face the winner of the game between Section VII champion Saranac and the Section X champion at either SUNY Plattsburgh (Section VII) or St. Lawrence University (Section X) on June 7 at 4:30 p.m.