GENEVA – With a 3-0 count and nine runs already across the plate in Batavia’s monster fourth inning, Glenn Albanese was looking for a sign in the Bulldogs' May 3 baseball game against Geneva.
He looked to third-base coach Matt Holm and got nothing. He then glanced to first-base coach Alex Beckmann.
“He pointed to the sky,” Albanese said, giving him the green light to swing.
Albanese took full advantage of the opportunity, crushing the next pitch over the left-center field wall for a three-run homer. The blast produced the Bulldogs’ 10th, 11th and 12th runs of the inning en route to an 18-3, five-inning thrashing of Upstate Eight Conference River Division rival Geneva.
Along with Albanese’s blast, Tyler Kledzik also hit a three-run homer in Batavia’s five-run second inning.
“Where’d that come from?” Batavia head coach Holm smiled after the Bulldogs' offensive onslaught.
Holm hoped the offensive explosion would jump start some of his Batavia bats. While having no illusions of coming back and slaughtering Geneva again the following day, Holm said, “If you think you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll. If you think you’re in a slump, you’re in a slump.”
Albanese had a banner day, picking up the win on the mound with six strikeouts in the complete-game victory. He also reached base all five times up with two walks, a single, a double and home run, with five runs batted in – four in the Bulldogs’ marathon fourth inning.
In the inning, Batavia (11-7, 5-5 UEC River) sent 18 hitters to the plate, eight straight of whom reached base before there was an out recorded in the frame. The Bulldogs had 11 hits in the inning, two for extra bases – a double and homer, both by Albanese – as well as two batters hit by pitch, an error and a walk.
Geneva (16-7, 9-4) used three pitchers in the inning – starter Bryan Callaly and relievers Ryan Belloli and Jacob Bice.
Vikings coach Matt Hahn told his squad to forget about the contest.
“I told them that even the Cubs, who have the best record in baseball, get beaten badly once in awhile,” he said
He said he was proud that his squad never phoned it in.
“They played hard,” Hahn said. “They battled the whole game”
He said his hitters had good at-bats against Albanese, who he called possibly the best pitcher his team would face all year.
Albanese, who ran his record to 4-2 with the victory, said with the wind blowing out and facing a strong hitting Geneva team he never took anything for granted.
He did admit he lost a little focus when the score became lopsided.
“It is a lot harder for me to stay focused in that situation,” he said. “It is better for me for the game to be closer. It keeps me more in the flow.”