Recap with video: Section 9 champions crowned

Congratulations to your Section 9 softball champions: Valley Central (Class AA), Marlboro (Class A), Highland (Class B), Chester (Class C) and Chapel Field (Class D).
I covered the three championship games at Minisink Valley on Saturday and they were all good ones.

In, perhaps, the most anticipated match-up of the day, top-seeded put away Cornwall, the second-seed, 8-3. Leading 3-1, Marlboro used a five-run sixth inning to put Cornwall away, avenging a 4-2 loss to the Green Dragons in April.

Amber Mianti and Andrea Schoonmaker each had three hits for Marlboro, last year’s Class B state runner-ups, and reigning V845 Player of the Year Aubrey Bianco pitched six effective innings. The buzz of a potential Cornwall-Marlboro final started when the Iron Dukes were moved up to Class A.

The game, crisp and well played, lived up to the hype. At least, until the sixth. Marlboro’s fateful rally started with a one-out walk and blew up from there.

As for the most dramatic win of the day: See Valley Central-Warwick. Cassie Herman’s groundout to shortstop with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Jules Holbert with the game-winning run to give the Vikings a 2-1 victory.

Jenna DiPierro tied the game 1-1 for top-seeded Valley Central (20-3) with an RBI single. The Vikings have won three of the last four Section 9 titles. Cindy Connoly tossed another gem for Valley Central, but Warwick sophomore Ciarra DiGulio matched her pitch-for-pitch.

Despite the loss, it was some run by Warwick, seeking its first Section 9 title. The Wildcats defeated fourth-seeded Middletown in the quarterfinals and Roosevelt, the top seed, in the semifinals.

And how about Chester?

Chester lost to S.S. Seward twice handily during the regular-season, but defended the Class C title with a 12-6 win over the Spartans in Rhinebeck. Chester scored five runs in the top of the sixth inning, snapping a 2-2 tie. Marcella Brosnan hit a two-run home run during the sixth-inning rally. Brosnan (3 RBI), Kasey Palmer (2 RBI), Jess Green (2 RBI) and Erin Dunn each had two hits for Chester.

Ace Shannon Ward continued her dominance for Highland, tossing a three-hitter with 14 strikeouts in an 8-0 win over Ellenville in the Class B title game. Kellie Panek went 3-for-3 with three RBI, including a two-run home run for Highland, which has won three Section 9 titles over the last five years.

In Class D, freshman Natalie Bonagura pitched effectively to give Chapel Field a 2-1 win over Eldred. It marked Chapel Field’s first Section 9 championship since 2008. The Lions won 10 Class D titles in a row from 1999-2008, taking six state championships during that span. Bonagura is the daughter of Chapel Field coach Mike Bonagura.

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