GLOVERSVILLE - It took extra innings, but an RBI single off the bat of Zack Valachovic in the top of the eighth plated the go-ahead run and propelled the Fonda-Fultonville Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Gloversville Huskies on a chilly night at Husky Field on Saturday.
The matchup was an opening round game of the annual Gloversville Dugout Club Baseball Tournament. The Braves will face Schuylerville, who defeated Broadalbin-Perth, 8-4, Saturday, on April 26, while the Huskies will take on the Patriots in the consolation game.
Coming off their first win of the season on Friday, the Huskies (1-4 overall, 1-2 Foothills) looked shaky in the field in the first inning behind starting pitcher Ben Chase. A series of errors allowed Kevin Myers to score the first run of the ball game and give the Braves a 1-0 lead. Errors would be an issue for Gloversville all game as they tallied seven in total. The Braves (2-0 overall) extended their lead in the second after Valachovic, who was hit by a pitch, came around to score on a wild pitch by Chase.
Gloversville’s Brad Mulligan, left, forces out Fonda-Fultonville’s Rob O’Kosky at second base during a first-round game at the Gloversville Tournament on Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
"I thought our base running was pretty good," Fonda-Fultonville head coach Rick Palumbo said. "It kept us in the game while we weren't hitting the ball very well."
Pat Hart got the start for the Braves. After surrendering back-to-back singles to Brad Mulligan and Justin Putnam in the home half of the first, Hart set the Huskies down in order in the second. Jordan Himpsl worked the count full before singling to kick off the third inning for the Huskies. After Hart struck out the following two batters, Mulligan ripped a single past Braves' third baseman Baylee Hall that drove in Himpsl, who had stolen second and advanced to third on an overthrow.
The Braves added one in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Luke Calkins to extend their lead to 3-1, but the Huskies answered when Chase helped his own cause with an RBI single to left in the bottom of the inning off reliever Valachovic. The knock plated Sam Salvagni, who had reached on an error earlier in the inning, and pulled the Huskies within one at 3-2.
Putnam singled off Valachovic in the sixth inning, chasing him from the game in favor of Myers. Myers walked the first batter he faced, Salvagni, on four pitches. The Huskies loaded the bases after a bunt by Anthony Oathout resulted in a throw to third that was not in time to get Putnam. The next batter was Chase, who once again delivered a blow with a deep sacrifice fly to knot the game at three apiece.
Neither team had an answer in the seventh, but the Braves had no intentions of letting the ball game go longer than eight innings.
Putnam, who relieved Chase in the top of the seventh, gave up a double to Hart to begin the inning. Zak Shaw then reached on a bunt before Valachovic ripped a single into center to score the eventual game-winning run.
Putnam registered two strikeouts later in the inning to get out of trouble, but the damage had been done.
Shaw, Fonda-Fultonville's ace, came in and struck out the side to sew up the 4-3 victory.
"Zak is one of the premier pitchers in the area, if not our whole league," Palumbo said. "I hate to ask him to do that sometimes, but it was like a bullpen session for him today. He got a little work before he pitches on Tuesday."
Brandon Baker was the only Brave with a multi-hit effort Saturday, while Putnam and Mulligan each picked up two knocks for the Huskies. Both teams finished the game with six hits.
Both teams will be in action this week before reconvening next weekend to play out the remainder of the Dugout Club Tournament.
Fonda-Fultonville 4, Gloversville 3, 8 innings
Fonda-Fultonville 110 100 01 - 4 6 3
Gloversville 001 101 00 - 3 6 7
Hart, Valachovic (4), Myers (6), Shaw (8), and Sinicropi; Chase, Putnam (7) and Herrlett