Galway wins Section II Class C baseball title

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Galway catcher Brian Brink and pitcher Eric Zelezniak celebrate their championship win over Duanesburg at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy Thuresday, May 26, 2022.

TROY — It took a short time for Galway to wipe away 36 years.

Top-seeded Galway scored all four of its runs in the second inning in a pitchers’ duel to beat Duanesburg 4-0 in the Section II Class C baseball championship at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Wednesday. It was the school’s first Section II baseball title since 1986.

“It’s extra special this year because last year, we got to the semifinals and had six awesome seniors, and we lost all those guys, so we thought it would be kind of a rebuilding year, but we came through,” Galway coach Mark Kalinkewicz said.

Thanks to 13 strikeouts from each of the pitchers, the game between Western Athletic Conference opponents only took 1 hour, 29 minutes. Ironically, it was Galway’s patience that paid off the most.

After Ryan Pudney led off the bottom of the second with a single, Brian Brink drew a walk, Eli Tompkins was hit by a pitch, and then, with bases loaded, Carson Eagan drew a walk for the game’s first run.

Myles Pleasants hit a two-run single to right field to make it 3-0, and Galway executed a double-steal for its fourth run.

“We’ve been hitting the ball real well, so patience wasn’t the best thing for us this year,” Kalinkewicz said. “But we knew against that pitcher we were going to have to get guys on base. Getting that four-run lead in a low-scoring game was going to work out well for us.”

It worked well because Galway’s Eric Zelezniak kept Duanesburg at bay with his pitching, most especially his off-speed stuff.

“I had my slider going most of the game,” Zelezniak said. “A few innings I lost my fastball, so the slider really picked it up for me, kept me in the game.”

Zelezniak also figured out the home plate umpire’s strike zone quickly, and got eight of his strikeouts with batters looking at third strikes.

“After the first two innings, I figured out what his zone was looking like, and after that, me and my catcher dialed in together and figured it out pretty fast,” Zelezniak said.

Zelezniak allowed just one hit, a hustling double by Duanesburg pitcher Peyton Fell in the sixth inning. Duanesburg got runners to third base in the third and sixth innings — the latter being a bases-loaded situation — but Zelezniak ended the threats with strikeouts both times.

“Even when they got runners on, he was still tough, and got deep in the counts, he could throw strikes and keep their guys off base and not let in any runs, and that was important,” Kalinkewicz said.

On the other side, Fell fanned 13 and kept Galway at bay but for the one inning.

“We knew Eric is a great pitcher,” Duanesburg coach Adam Randall said. “We knew we had to throw our ace, Peyton, to compete with that. I think we knew coming into this it was going to be a pitchers’ duel. It was only going to take a couple mistakes or a couple balls to fall the other team’s way in order for them to really succeed.

“Peyton left it all out there,” Randall added. “It was a great game to watch from a neutral perspective. It hurts a little bit, but we’ll come back next year stronger than ever.”

The reason Randall can say that is Duanesburg has no seniors on its roster.

Galway will play Chatham in the C-CC playoff scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

“All of our guys are in agreement our job isn’t finished,” Zelezniak said. “We want to go as long as we can.” 

Duanesburg 000 000 0 — 0 1 0

Galway 040 000 x — 4 3 1

By Will Springstead

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