ICBL: Combined No-Hitter in Game 1 fuels sweep for Athletics over Independents, 5-0 & 2-1

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Miller, a Siena graduate making his debut with the Athletics, started the game and tossed two innings striking out four batters. The Independents actually had a golden opportunity in the first inning when Miller had to work out of a first and third, no out jam due to two Albany errors. The first was a third strike in the dirt that catcher Nick Hansen blocked but threw into right field in trying to get the runner. The second was a routine ground ball off the bat of Brad Hipsley that was not handled by first baseman Anthony Raimo. Miller picked off Hipsley from first then fanned the next t...o batters to get out of the inning.

Kretzler, a senior at Brockport, came out of his starting position in left field to hurl five efficient innings in the no-hitter. He stuck out seven and didn’t allow a runner to second base despite a walk and two more defensive errors by the Athletics.

“Its not ideal to come in from the outfield, but I knew that was the plan today and expected it. I spend time before the game making sure I’m ready either way,” said Kretzler. “Joe told me I might go 4-5 innings tonight so I was prepared for the longer outing and felt good throughout. I put more of an emphasis on pitching to contact than I usually would in hopes of keeping my pitch count down.”

Albany, meanwhile, struck for three runs in the fourth inning after Glens Falls starter and Siena graduate Mike McCully, who tossed three scoreless innings, exited. In the fourth, Athletics third baseman Nate Novak doubled in a run and Tim Carroll hit a fielders choice RBI which resulted in a second run when the ball wasn’t handled at second base. Novak, who finished with three hits, later doubled in another run and Connor Pingitore, who singled to start the fifth inning, came around to score on wild pitch. Albany only managed five hits in the game.

“These two are outstanding control pitchers (Miller and Kretzler) and I’m not surprised they held Glens Falls to no hits,” said Athletics manager Joe Altieri. “The 12 strikeouts from them really helped us overcome some defensive miscues or we might be talking about a different result.”

In game two, the Athletics got on the board early when Brenden Harris singled in Chris Salamida in the first inning to stake Albany to a 1-0 lead. The Athletics then put together back-to-back two-out singles in the third inning and pushed one across when Harris scored on a wild pitch but that was all they could muster off starter Independents starter Matt Chase who struck out five and only allowed four hits over five innings.

The Independents showed life on a couple occasions as they clawed back to make the score 2-1 when Pat Henning tripled off reliever Joe Gratton in the fourth inning then Jack Kelleher singled him in. In the fifth, Evan Bowers, who collected three singles in the game, singled to lead off then got to second on a sacrifice bunt. Michale Bassi walked to make it first and second with one out but Gratton struck out Evan St. Claire then induced a ground ball that hit Bowers resulting in the third out being an interference call. In the seventh inning, Glens Falls got a one-out single from Bowers off A’s reliever Bryan Carr who struck out the side in the sixth inning. But the Independents couldn’t make anything of it when Carr struck out the next two batters to end the game earning his second save of the season. Carr is one of three Athletics pitchers who have combined for nine saves on the season (Salamida 6, Gratton 1).

“We continue to have these outstanding pitching performances by our staff and it really sets the tone for winning games in this league,” said Altieri. “These guys are prepared and meticulous in every game situation and continue to put us in a good position to win games.”

The A’s and Independents were in the midst of two very different schedules for the week. Glens Falls played only their second doubleheader of the week and the A’s completed a seven-game week going 6-1 as they begin to close in on winning the ICBL. The league has two weeks of its regular season remaining.

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