If the Guilderland Bulldogs qualify for the championship round of the Babe Ruth World Series, they can thank Alex Varsanyi.
Varsanyi struck out 12 batters in a complete-game shutout to lead the Bulldogs past previously unbeaten Tri-Valley 6-0 in their final pool play game Monday night at Clifton Common.
“He [Varsanyi] just kept telling me all game, ‘I got this coach. I got this,’” said Guilderland manager Brian Grabek. “Just a great performance by him.”
The win gave Guilder-land a 2-2 record in pool play, which guarantees that it will be involved in a three-way tie for second place in its bracket of the World Series. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head matchups, but if that can’t determine the second- and third-place teams, the next tiebreaker is total runs allowed.
If it comes to runs allowed, Guilderland would hold the advantage over any other team. The Bulldogs allowed the fewest runs (8) of any team in pool play.
“I think it fares well for us, but I’ve been burned by [tiebreakers] before,” said Grabek.
The Bulldogs needed the win over Tri-Valley (3-1) after suffering a 4-1 loss to Atlantic Shore (2-2) earlier in the day Monday.
“I just had a good feeling coming into this game,” said Grabek. “The guys were loose.”
Guilderland scored its first run in the bottom of the first inning on Kristian Singh’s RBI single. Cameron Long then hit a RBI double in the third inning to make the score 2-0.
Jack Grabek laid down a suicide squeeze bunt in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring in Casey Chase for a 3-0 Bulldogs’ lead. Guilderland then tacked on three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to break the game open.
Long finished the night with four hits in four plate appearances to lead Guilderland to its biggest win of the tournament.
“If we’re done, I’m OK with being done. We just beat [Tri-Valley], which is probably the best team in the nation,” said Grabek.
Clifton Park (2-1) suffered its first loss of pool play Monday with a 6-2 setback against Meridian, Idaho.
Meridian took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning off starting pitcher Matt Alverson. James Lamb drove in one run with a single, and two more runs came home on a Clifton Park throwing error.
Clifton Park responded with two runs in the bottom of the second inning, but Meridian pitcher Caleb Burnham held the Bulldogs in check after that to help the team from Idaho win its first game of the tournament.
Clifton Park wraps up pool play Tuesday night when it faces Cranston (R.I.).