VC win highlights wild day for four Section 9 teams

It was a crazy day for Section 9 softball in the quarterfinals of the state softball tournament, filled with excitement, joy, drama and heartbreak.

Four teams entered Saturday with a chance of making the final four next Saturday in South Glens Falls. Only one team, Valley Central in Class AA, advanced. Meanwhile, in Class B, Highland suffered a devastating loss to Center Moriches. Marlboro gave up a one-run lead in the seventh inning, eventually losing to Pearl River in nine innings in Class A. In Class C, Chester gave up eight runs in the third inning of a loss to Long Island’s Pierson.

Let’s start with Valley Central, where, as Yogi Berra once said, it was deja vu all over again for senior outfielder Becky Kienz.

Kienz drove a double to left field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, which scored Katie Gallagher from second base, giving Valley Central a dramatic 2-1 win over host Union-Endicott. For Kienz, the game-winner provided her with a flashback moment. Two years ago in the Class AA state quarterfinals, Kienz hit a two-out, walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh to score a runner from second base, as Valley Central won 2-1 over John Jay-East Fishkill.

“It’s totally surreal,” Kienz, a senior, said. “To do the same thing again is crazy. I can’t believe it. It’s unreal to do something like this twice. I definitely was thinking about the game two years ago, but I just told myself to calm down. I just focused and wanted to have a good at bat.”

Valley Central players celebrate 2-1 win over Union-Endicott

Ace Cindy Connoly pitched a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts for the Vikings (21-3), who move on to play Liverpool in the Class AA state semifinals at 9 a.m. Saturday at Moreau Recreational Field in South Glens Falls.

Highland appeared set to join Valley Central in South Glens Falls, but suffered a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Center Moriches in eight innings at Rhinebeck.

Kellie Panek’s two-run homer – her eighth of the season – gave Highland (17-5) a 5-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. Center Moriches of Long Island scored a run in the bottom of the fifth and added four more in the seventh off Shannon Ward, who had been unhittable in four postseason games. Center Moriches added a run in the eighth.

“Yeah, it’s a tough one,” Highland coach Mike Milliman said. “They had the bottom of the lineup coming up in the seventh inning. But they got on and had the big hitters coming up. It’s a tough loss, but I give Center Moriches credit. They could have just put their heads down.”

Marlboro was one out away from reaching the state semifinals for the second year in a row, leading Pearl River 5-4 in the seventh, but ended up losing 8-5 in nine innings. Mandy McCarthy gave Pearl River (23-3) a 6-5 lead with an RBI double in the ninth. The Pirates added two more runs in the inning on an error on a fielder’s choice. Marlboro had two runners on base in the ninth with one out, but couldn’t score.

Trailing by three runs, Marlboro’s Allison Swartz hit a three-run homer to tie the game 4-4 in the fifth. Amber Mianti’s RBI single in the sixth gave Marlboro (18-4) a 5-4 lead. But Pearl River tied the game 5-5 with two outs in the seventh on an RBI triple by Emily Turilli.

Marlboro reached the Class B state title game last year, losing to Windsor 2-1. The Iron Dukes were moved up to Class A this season and beat Cornwall for the Section 9 title 8-3 last Saturday. It was Marlboro’s first Class A championship.

Despite Chester’s 9-7 loss to Pierson, coach Mike Becker was upbeat after the game.

Who could blame him? Chester could have easily folded after giving up eight runs in the third inning, falling behind 9-1. But that’s not Chester’s style. The Hambletonians actually chipped away at Pierson’s lead and runners on second and third base with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.

Chester (19-5) couldn’t plate a run in the seventh.

“I wish I had one more inning,” Becker said. “I think we could have got them. We battled so hard. Even those outs in the seventh inning were hit hard. Even though we lost, I’m thrilled with the girls. They battled so hard. We never gave up.”

Mackenzie Conklin and pitcher Marcella Brosnan each went 3-for-4 for Chester (19-5). Kasey Palmer added three hits and Amanda Almodovar was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Chester defeated Haldane 4-1 in the first round of the Class C state tournament on Thursday. The Hambletonians had lost to Haldane in the opening-round in two of the previous three years.

This entry was posted in Softball. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives