Rams baseball back in win column, defeat Johnstown

Dale Stanavich tossed four innings of no hit ball and the Amsterdam High School varsity baseball team erupted for seven runs in a decisive fourth inning to break a two game losing streak, defeating the Johnstown Sir Bills 12-5 Friday evening at Amsterdam’s Shttuleworth Park. The win tipped the overall record for the team to 5 wins, 4 losses so far this season.

“We think we can be very good,” Amsterdam head coach Brian Spagnola said. “Hopefully we can build from this.”

Dale Stanavich certainly was better than very good through the first four innings giving up no hits and allowing only a walk to Devin Boyle in the second inning, and hit Joe Salatel with a pitch putting him aboard in the third. However, in both situations the runners never made it past first base as Stanavich was on his game and threw a mixture of curveballs and fastballs to record a total seven strikeouts including ending the first three innings by getting a batter swinging. Like any good pitcher though, Stanavich had one pitch he relied on all night.

“I threw a lot of two-seam fastballs,” Stanavich said. “I hadn’t thrown it in a while, but that was my go-to pitch tonight.”

Stanavich’s strong outing on the mound was not about to be wasted by an Amsterdam offense that already led 5-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning where they broke out the bats and scored all seven runs with two outs.

The Rams had already chased Johnstown starting pitcher Nick Frazier in the third inning and were in danger of being retired in order in the fourth when Johnstown’s second hurler of the game, Zack Smith got fly outs from Ben Rhodes and Jake Rodecker. But, Amsterdam’s Brandon McGillin drew a walk from Smith and promptly stole second base. Kyle Sherlock then followed with a shallow fly ball into center field that scored McGillin. Sherlock took second on the throw setting up the chance for a big inning. Patience was the key for the AHS offense as Robbie and Max Spagnola, and Bryan Stanavich, earned walks off Smith, and David Crawford drew another from Johnstown’s third pitcher Jack Fitzgerald to plate two more runs for the Rams. Dale Stanavich and Ben Rhodes greeted Fitzgerald with two run singles to break the game wide open at 12-0. Big hits coming at big moments as all of the damage was done after there were two out.

“Two out hits are crucial,” Coach Spagnola said. “Offensively we’ve been good this season. Our approach tonight was that this is an eight game season, now a seven game season.”

At the center of the Rams surge was Dale Stanavich, who took a no hitter into the fifth inning. Stanavich walked Boyle again to lead off the fourth and saw the no hitter slip away after a blooper into left field off the bat of Ben Russo barely eluded the glove of Rams shortstop Robbie Spagnola. Russo’s single put runners on first and second, but Stanavch settled down and worked his two seamer past Ray Nellis and Salatel for the first two outs of the inning, and nearly got out of it unscathed, but after a walk to Dan Jarabek, a wild pitch brought Boyle home for the Sir Bills first run of the game. Jacob Cerasuolo followed with an RBI single and Mike Brown’s double brought home two mote cutting the lead to 12-4. Stanavich retired Fitzgerald on a chopper to first that Sherlock snagged and got to the base a step ahead of the runner effectively stopping the rally. The four run frame however did nothing to mar an outstanding effort by the Rams lefty hurler.

“That was a phenomenal job by Dale Stanavch,” Coach Spagnola said. “He went out there and threw strikes and did what we needed him to do. He set the tone for the whole game.”

Dale Stanavich went out to the mound for the top of the sixth and allowed a single to Ben Wager and a walk to Boyle. Jordan Graser came in to relieve Stanavich, who finished his night on the hill with a four hit, seven strikeout performance over five innings.

“This was our first night game and I got in a good workout,” Dale Stanavich said. “I felt good. We needed this win to get us back on our feet. We want to finish the season 8 and 0.”

Johnstown got their final run on a single from Russo, who was the only Sir Bills batter with more than one hit. Russo was picked off first base in the sixth by AHS catcher Jake Rodecker and then Graser ended the Johnstown sixth getting Nellis and Salatel on strikes. Kyle Sherlock pitched the seventh for the Rams and also recorded a pair of strikeouts to close out the win.

Amsterdam scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning courtesy of an RBI double by Robbie Spagnola, who smacked a liner into left field scoring McGillin, and a two run single by Dale Stanavich that plated Sherlock and Robbie Spagnola. The Rams also scored a pair of runs in the third when Rodecker reached on a bunt single to lead off the frame and came around on pinch hitter AJ Marciniak’s infield single with the bases loaded. Bryan Stanavich followed with another single to send Sherlock home and padded the AHS lead to 5-0.

Dale Stanavich led the AHS offense as well with two hits and four runs batted in. Kyle Sherlock scored three runs for the Rams and had an RBI double, McGillin, and Robbie Spagnola each scored a pair of runs, and Max Spagnola scored a run for Amsterdam (5-4 overall, 3-3 Foothills Council).

Mike Brown’s double was the only extra base hit for Johnstown. Dan Jarabek, Jacob Cerasuolo, Ben Wager and Ben Russo all had singles for the Sir Bills.

Amsterdam will again face Johnstown on Monday under the lights at Johnstown High School. First pitch is scheduled for 7pm. Amsterdam returns to Shuttleworth Park on Tuesday to face Section 3 contender Adirondack High School at 2pm. The Rams make it three games in three days when they host Scotia-Glenville on Wednesday with a slated first pitch set for 1pm.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.