Fonda-Fultonville baseball falls in Class B semifinals


GUILDERLAND — Time and time again, the baseball didn’t bounce in favor of Fonda-Fultonville in one of the biggest games of the season Monday afternoon. Ichabod Crane took advantage of Fonda-Fultonville’s struggling pitching staff, several errors and won the Section II Class B semifinal 8-2 at Dutchmen Park in Guilderland.

“We just didn’t have our best performance today, no doubt about it,” Fonda-Fultonville coach Rick Palumbo said. “Their pitcher had us off-balance, but I don’t think our approach at the plate was as good as it should have been and we didn’t get off to a good start on the hill either.”

Ichabod Crane starter Topher Pelesz earned the three-hit win, giving up a run in the first inning and a solo home run to Tyler Daus in the sixth.

“The first couple innings I had nothing really working and I just was throwing fastballs,” Pelesz said. “I couldn’t find my curveball. Then, I started finding the change-up, which helped me a lot and then the last few innings the curveball came around and I had everything working for me.”

Pelesz struck out eight and walked two in the win

Seventh-seeded Fonda-Fultonville (19-2) scored the opening run after Jackson Croucher walked, advanced to third on a Daus single, and scored on Derek Duval’s sacrifice fly to left.

No. 3 Ichabod Crane (15-6) responded in the bottom half of the first inning when Pelesz walked and scored on Nate Garafalo’s two-run home run for a 2-1 lead.

“That just really just charged us up and I don’t think we ever came down after that,” Ichabod Crane coach Brian McComb said. “To give him run support is what has been the most important thing all year and for every other pitcher we have, but that was huge, huge run support. That got us up and we never came back down.”

Meanwhile Fonda-Fultonville could not catch a break.

Starting pitcher Jackson Croucher lasted less than two innings, giving up six runs, four earned.  Two runs scored on a misplayed ball to the outfield as part of the four-run second for Ichabod Crane.

Things went from bad to worse in the second for Fonda-Fultonville when left fielder Karsen Bulan raced to his right and dove for a ball in foul territory, hitting his head on the grass on the play. He was checked out, and then removed from the game as a precaution.

Daus came on in relief and also had challenges finding the strike zone.

With two on and two out, Ichabod Crane batter Kyle Bartlett checked his swing on a potential third strike. An appeal was made to the base umpire who ruled he did not swing. The next pitch turned into a slow grounder to third, was bobbled and then thrown wide to first base allowing two more runs to score for an 8-1 lead.

“We dropped a routine fly ball, a couple bad plays in the infield, just some weird things,” Palumbo said. “The last four innings, I thought defensively we played a lot better, pitching got better but it was too late. Too much happened in the first two innings, that was our fault.”

The lone late highlight belonged to Daus, hitting a leadoff home run in the sixth, but it was the most Fonda-Fultonville could muster.

Ichabod Crane will face No. 4 Schuylerville, a 9-7 upset winner over No. 1 Catskill, Wednesday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy.

A five-run sixth inning by the Black Horses helped stave off a five-run rally by Catskill in the bottom of the seventh for the win. 

Owen Sherman went 2 for 3 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs to lead Schuylerville. Ryan Down went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI for the Black Horses. 

Catskill pitchers Cullen Fulling and Eddie Rogers combined for 14 strikeouts in the loss. 


Fonda-Fultonville 100 001 0 — 2 3 2

Ichabod Crane 242 000 X — 8 5 1


Schuylerville 012 015 0 — 9  7 0

Catskill 000 200 5 — 7 10 1

By Stan Hudy

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