WNY’s Albano, No. 22 in your program, hurls tidy Blue Chip effort

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 4, 2023

Noah Albano pitched all seven innings for Western NY Prospects, allowing one run on two hits. 

By Sean Reilly

Noah Albano stuck to a simple pitching formula on Thursday morning at Diamond Nation, and it sparked his Western New York Prospects team to  victory.

“I was throwing fastballs to the outside corner, mixing in the off speeds and trusting my defense to make plays,” the right-hander said. 

The end result was a complete-game three-hitter that sent the Prospects to a 2-1 win over the Syracuse Sports Zone Athletics at the 17/18U Blue Chips Prospects Tournament, powered by Victus, in Flemington. 

Albano, a rising senior at St. Francis High School just outside of Buffalo, struck out four and walked just two batters as his team improved to a 2-1 at the four-game tournament.

Western NY Prospects had several key performers at the plate, including leadoff man Grady Brown, who went 2-for-2 with a walk and RBI double, and eighth batter Jonah Wahl, who went 2-for-2 with a walk and scored both runs.

The Prospects took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Wahl drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on an errant pickoff try. Noah Umstead followed with a single to left field that sent Wahl to third, and Wahl scored on a successful double steal.

The lead went to 2-0 in the fifth. Wahl led off with a single that dropped into shallow center field. After a strikeout, Grant Pieniazek (2-for-2) hit a single to right field that moved Wahl to second.

That sent up Brown, who unloaded a grounds rule double after the ball hopped over the fence following his shot to deep left-center field.

Grady Brown watches his RBI double take flight for Western NY Prospects.

“The count was 3-0 and I was looking for anything belt high,” he said. “Something that I could drive, and I got it.”

The Sports Zone got out of the inning by turning a double play, and then staged their own threat in the bottom of the inning.

Matt Ganschow led off the frame with a double, and he moved to third on a passed ball. Michael Giamartino then supplied an RBI single to right field.

The next batter struck out, and Giamartino hustled all the way to third when the following batter grounded out to shortstop. But with the tying run on third, Albano buckled down and got the third out himself on a pop up back to the mound.

Syracuse Sports Zone got a one-out walk in the sixth, but the Prospects then turned a double play.

And in the bottom of the seventh, there was one last Sports Zone threat when a two-out error and a stolen base put a runner on second. Albano then induced a pop out to second base to end the game.

James Buettner also finished with two hits for Western NY Prospects.

Issac Brown had the other hit for Syracuse Sports Zone (0-2-1), which got a solid start from Nate Georger, a Class of 2026 left-hander who went the first five innings and allowed seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

But in the end, the win went to Albano, who is No. 22 on his team’s roster. He was wearing a shirt with no number on the back on Thursday, but had college coaches watching the game investigating his identity.

“It’s been a good summer, with a lot of traveling and it’s been fun,” he said.

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