South Glens Falls coach Nick McPartland had a feeling it would shake out this way.
Though he advises the Bulldogs not to look either, he knows his enthusiastic bunch of baseball players saw it coming too. McPartland even exchanged some texts with friend and Queensbury athletic director Rich Keys about the looming possibility of their respective teams squaring off in the opening round of sectionals.
When brackets were announced Wednesday afternoon, all the speculation ended and both parties were accurate.
South High earned a No. 5 seed and its reward is the defending Class A state champion and No. 4-seeded Spartans. The two familiar foes and Foothills Council rivals play at 1 p.m. Saturday at Queensbury High School.
“This time of year, coaches and players kind of start doing the math. They know enough to start speculating,” McPartland said. “Sure enough, I’m contacted this morning with the brackets and lo and behold, we are going to Queensbury on Saturday.”
Queensbury (13-7) and South High (14-4) were the two highest-seeded area teams in Class A. In Class B, Schuylerville received a No. 4 seed and faces No. 13 Cobleskill on Thursday at home.
Saratoga Central Catholic (17-3), led by ace pitcher Terel Tillman, earned the No. 2 seed and plays Tamarac on Thursday at 4 p.m. also.
Tillman is considered one of the best pitchers in Section II and has a 6-1 record this season.
Adirondack League champion Granville was named the No. 4 seed in Class C, earning the Golden Horde a 4 p.m. home game Thursday against Hoosick Falls.
Also in Class C, Lake George was named a No. 8 seed and plays No. 9 Schoharie at 4 p.m. on Thursday in Lake George.
Despite a recent two-game losing streak, Whitehall earned the top seed in Class D. The Railroaders (12-2) will play the winner of No. 4 Fort Ann and No. 5 Salem. That semifinal game is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Veterans’ Memorial Park.
As always, seedings are just a number.
Queensbury won a state championship as a No. 2 seed. Lake George captured Class CC last year as a No. 4 seed and Whitehall, as the top seed in Class D, fell in its section final.
No number guarantees anything.
McPartland and the Bulldogs know that, and knocking off the defending state champions generates obvious momentum.
“There is some added excitement to this game for our guys,” McPartland said. “They are a cross-town rival and a league opponent. We have respect for their program, especially what they were able to do last year and coach Marra is one of the best coaches in the state.
If you look back in the history, there have been some great games between South Glens Falls and Queensbury,” he added. “Even this year, we played two close games.”
These two teams know each other well. Earlier in the season, South High beat Queensbury by four runs. Then a few weeks later, the Spartans evened the series and beat the Bulldogs 3-2.
McPartland already decided he’ll throw his ace, Connor Boviar, and he expects Queensbury to throw Jack Sylvia.
Boviar has been lights-out all year and McPartland is confident he’ll be ready again.
“Every outing this year he has been ultra-competitive for us and a guy that can pound the strike zone,” McPartland said. “He takes a lot of pride in his pitching abilities. He is getting interest from colleges to come pitch down the road, so I think that has only heightened his interest in being a competitor on the mound.
“He has been steady, pounding strikes,” he added. “He does not get rattled and has faced quality opponents. He has already played Queensbury and did very well against Amsterdam. So we will continue to be confident in what he will give us on Saturday.”
In Section VII, No. 1 seed Chazy gets a home game against No. 4 Wells at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
No. 2 Schroon Lake-Bolton plays No. 3 Crown Point on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
The semifinal winners will play for the championship on June 1 at 1 p.m. at Plattsburgh State.