Johnstown baseball beats Gloversville, qualifies for Section II play

Gloversville’s Alex Payne dives safely back to the base as Johnstown’s first baseman Tavien Blowers gains control of a bobbled ball during Foothills Council baseball action Thursday at Husky Field in Gloversville. (James A. Ellis)
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Gloversville’s Alex Payne dives safely back to the base as Johnstown’s first baseman Tavien Blowers gains control of a bobbled ball during Foothills Council baseball action Thursday at Husky Field in Gloversville. (James A. Ellis)

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By JAMES A. ELLIS

GLOVERSVILLE — The Johnstown Sir Bills have been on a roll lately, winning four of their last five Foothills Council baseball games, including a 12-4 romp over Gloversville Tuesday night.

The inter-city rivals squared off again Thursday night under the lights at Husky Field, and the Sir Bills came away with a 4-0 victory behind a complete game, two-hitter by Antonio DeMarco.

With the season-sweep of the Huskies, Johnstown has earned enough points to qualify for Section II play for the first time since 2017.

“You need six sectional points to qualify, and we now have seven after six league games with seven league games to go,” Johnstown coach Jon Jennings said. “We will now be working hard for a home sectional game. We are just going to take it one game at a time and not look too far ahead. We have Amsterdam at home Monday and a lot of [Class] ‘A’ schools left to play with points out there for us.”

The Sir Bills put their first run on the board in the top of the second with Zach Tallon, Peyton Bramer and Evan Baker delivering consecutive singles to load the bases, with P.J. Yetto picking up the RBI on his ground out to the right side.

The Sir Bills grouped together their hits again in the top of the third with Carter Cheney reaching on an error before Tavien Blowers singled and Tallon doubled to drive in Cheney for a 2-0 advantage.

DeMarco was able to keep the Gloversville batters off balance at the plate and received solid defense behind him, including a diving catch from center fielder Vinnie Rizzo with a runner in scoring position to end the fourth inning and keep the Huskies scoreless.

Johnstown tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth with Rizzo and Danny Brown leading off with back-to-back singles and Cheney drawing an intentional walk to load the bases. Blowers put the ball in play, scoring Rizzo and Brown.

“I talked to [former Sir Bills varsity] coach [Aaron] Mraz, and as far as we can remember, this is the earliest in recent history we have gotten the seven sectional points,” Jennings said. “Usually we get hot late, but this year we got hot early and the weather isn’t warm yet. I had a three-year plan after COVID and this is the third year. Things are coming along quicker.”

Bramer collected three singles for the Sir Bills, while Tallon connected for a double, a single and an RBI and DeMarco added a double to go with two RBIs from Blowers.

On the mound, DeMarco recorded five strikeouts, walked two and hit two batters, while Gloversville starter Alex Payne struck out two, walked three and allowed nine hits.

Cal Porter and Hunter Strauser recorded Gloversville’s two hits in the game.

“I think we had two hits, but we hit the ball hard right to people with runners on base,” Gloversville coach Mike DeMagistris said. “We gave up three unearned runs tonight. We played better tonight, but we need to clean up our game defensively. We can’t give teams runs.”

Johnstown plays Fort Plain in a non-league game Saturday before hosting Amsterdam in a Foothills Council game Monday.

Gloversville will travel to play Chatham on Saturday before returning to league play Monday at home against Broadalbin-Perth.

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