BY ANDREW PUGLIESE
For Your Niskayuna
NISKAYUNA — Sports Journal Photos used a three-run fourth inning to capture the Niskayuna Baseball League AA Championship with a 3-2 victory June 20.
Luca Polsinelli delivered the game-winner, describing his thrilling hit with one word: “Boom.”
Polsinelli delivered the two-out RBI single that pushed his team ahead for good as Sports Journal Photos held off Martin, Harding & Mazzotti for the victory, despite a late surge by the home team in the bottom of the sixth.
“The kids were amazing. They made the plays. They were in the game. I was very happy,” said Mike Olson, head coach of Sports Journal Photos. “It was very intense. There were a lot of big plays, and even controversial plays. Pete [Romano], the other coach, and I have known each other for a while. We just had a good time with it. It was great.”
Martin, Harding & Mazzotti loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth before Sports Journal Photos’ David Sardella struck out the final two batters he faced to secure the win. Sardella finished with six strikeouts in two innings of work, but he was feeling the pressure to get those final outs.
“When Jackson [Beckmann] was behind the plate, I just tried to throw it over and I didn’t want to let my team down,” Sardella said. ” My team backed me up in the infield and it was a great moment when we got that last strike.”
Sardella’s coach was just as nervous as he was in the final inning.
“I’m getting ready for, ‘Be good sports. They won the game. They were a better team. They did a great job.’ I’m getting ready to make that speech, but hoping having my best pitcher on the mound he can do it,” Olson said. “I really want them to win. They’re excited. But, win or lose, it’s still good.”
Martin, Harding & Mazzotti got out to an early lead when Liam Berry knocked in Sami Chowdhrey with an RBI single in the first.
The home team doubled its lead in the third inning with another RBI single. The second time around, it was Jacob Salisbury bringing home Jake DiCaprio.
In the next half inning, Sports Journal Photos’ bats came to life and the team put three runs on the board on five hits. Cam Grasso and Jason Beckmann each picked up their second hits of the game to lead off the inning before Sardella loaded the bases with a single of his own.
After an out was recorded, Will Swinton came to the plate and tied the game with one swing of the bat, plating Grasso and Beckmann with a two-RBI single. The hit was Swinton’s second of the game.
Two batters later, Polsinelli delivered the eventual game-winning hit, bringing Sardella home with the team’s fifth single of the inning.
“That’s one of the best hits I’ve ever gotten,” Polsinelli said. “One of the most important, too.”