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Sauquoit Valley eyeing sectional repeat

By MIKE LEVIN

SAUQUOIT, N.Y. (WKTV) - Last year the Sauquoit Valley baseball team broke a 31 year drought by winning a section title.  The Indians are back again and are setting their sights on first repeating their feat from last year, then attempting a deep run at states.

This team has the ability to do it, with starting pitcher Aaron LoPiccolo leading the charge.  Earlier this week the senior pitched a no hitter against Cooperstown, the team that Sauquoit beat in last year's section final.  As of Wednesday, LoPiccolo was 7-0 with an ERA of 0.89 and 52 strikeouts.  But he says he gets a lot of help from his teammates, and they all get a lot of help.

"Coaches, they came in and stood behind us, push us forward,"says LoPiccolo.  "Also the fans that come out to the games.  We've been getting a lot more fans this year, they love to come out to support us."

"I love the community in general, it's a great feeling to play here, everybody surrounds you and they try to bring you up, bring the best out of you and it's a great feeling," adds fellow senior Mark Martin.  He's the team's third basemen, who's been stellar at the plate, batting .580 as of Wednesday.  Last week he hit two home runs in a game against Westmoreland, an inside the parker as well as a grand slam.

The Indians have a lot of leaders, including a few juniors who started last year as sophomores.  R.J. Spinella, the second baseman, is one of them and says everyone around this team is dedicated to winning.

"3 out of our 4 coaches are volunteers, they come to every practice wanting to help us, wanting to make us better," says Spinella.  "We have a very coachable team, we're all willing to take that tip from the coach and use it and it shows.  That's the thing, we all love to play the game of baseball, we all love to play together, we love to play for our coaches.  When you have that chemistry, it's hard not to play as a good team."

But even though the Indians are having another great season, they know how hard the competition will be once they get to the post season.

"It's definitely going to get harder, because sectionals is all good teams," says junior shortstop Rob Slivinski.  Coming from different places, you don't know what you're going to see.  You got to step up and try your hardest."

Sauquoit, along with everyone else, will find out their playoff future Sunday, when the sectional brackets are released.

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