The debut of #tbTHR – Minisink Valley softball wins 1992 state title

Welcome to the debut of a new feature for the sports department of the Times Herald-Record and Varsity 845!
From time-to-time we’re going to flash back to historic moments in our local sports history, fresh from the pages of the Times Herald-Record. Our form of Throwback Thursday won’t be limited to just one day a week. You can follow on social media with the hashtag #tbTHR (Throw Back Times Herald-Record).
For our debut, and on the eve of Minisink Valley softball headed to the state Final Four this weekend, let’s celebrate the state softball championship won by Minisink Valley in June 1992.

(from June 1992)

Minisink wins it all
Warriors capture state title

By Bill Burr
Assistant Sports Editor

CLIFTON PARK – Minisink Valley softball coach Bruce Guyette watched Carolyn Copcutt and Cindy Hartman lead his team to a 6-0 victory over Johnson City yesterday in the Class B state championship game at Clifton Commons.
He saw the team’s captains presented a state championship banner and plaque. He posed for pictures. He was doused with water and showered with confetti by his jubilant players.
Yet, more than 15 minutes after the youthful Warriors captured the school’s first state title in any sport, Guyette had difficulty believing they were state champions.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,’’ Guyette said. “I am probably going to use cliché after cliché because I’m still kind of stunned.
“I knew we were going to be good. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine 25-0 and undefeated state champions. I don’t think many people would set their goals that high. ‘’
While Guyette struggled with the reality of the of the Warriors’ achievement, senior first baseman Michelle Olah tried unsuccessfully to suppress tears of joy.
“It feels great. It really does,’’ said Olah, who joins outfielder Tami Witkowski as the team’s only seniors. “The whole team … they’re the best. I’m so proud of them. It makes my senior year the best.‘’
In becoming the fourth Section 9 team to win a state softball title and the first since John S. Burke in 1988, Minisink Valley had to win back-to-back games in hot, humid conditions.
The Warriors hung on to beat Shoreham-Wading River, the Section 11 (Suffolk County, Long Island) champion 3-2 in the semifinals.
Shoreham-Wading River (15-12) scored two runs in the seventh inning and had the potential tying run on second base. But Copcutt struck out Keri Bettenhauser to end the game.
After managing only three hits – all by Copcutt – in the first game, Minisink Valley overwhelmed Johnson City with a rare display of power hitting.
The Warriors pounded out eight hits, including three doubles and three triples.
“We’re not exactly known as a power hitting team,’’ Guyette said. “We have a good hitting team. But we usually hit the ball down and hard. We want to put it into play and hope something breaks.
“Today, we just got some opportune hits. Maybe we’ve saved them all up for the last game.’’
Hartman, a sophomore who bats seventh in the order, drove in three runs with a triple and a single. Sophomore Gina Goodman, the No. 9 nine hitter who had one RBI, also had a triple and single.
“The top of the lineup – Wendy Herm, Carolyn Copcutt, Tami Witkowski – might have gotten us here. But the bottom of the order carried us in the big game,’’ Guyette said. “Cindy Hartman was right on the ball.’’
After back-to-back doubles in the second inning by Olah and Maile Cestero, Hartman tripled in both to give Minisink Valley a 2-0 lead.
“I can thank Carolyn Copcutt for that, ‘’ said Hartman, who started the season on the jayvee team. “During practice she was throwing these really fast pitches. I used to be really bad with fast pitching. I felt that was coming. I was due. ‘’
After Jamie Maher walked, Goodman singled home Hartman to make it 3-0. Maher later scored on an error to make it 4-0.
“In the second inning when we scored the four runs, after the first one came across the plate, we knew we were going to do it,’’ Olah said.
Herm doubled and scored on an error in the third inning to make it 5-0. Cestero tripled in the sixth and scored the final run on Hartman’s single.
Johnson City of Section 4 (Binghamton area) was the defending state champion and beat Section 2’s Mohanasen (Schenectady area) 12-2 in the semifinals.
But after three consecutive singles in the first inning, Johnson City (18-6) got only three hits the rest of the way off Copcutt (24-0).
Johnson City’s first-inning threat ended when Hartman threw a runner out at the plate from right field.
“I bobbled it, ‘’ said Hartman. “I was going to go to first. Then I get really nervous. I got up and threw it, and thank God I got her out. ‘’
Copcutt, who hurled her 11 th shutout of the season, said she was a little worried in the first inning.
“I thought they were going to hit the ball off me all day, ‘’ Copcutt said. “Then, I guess, I settled down. My defense, they did the trick.’’
Copcutt mentioned that catcher Kerry Gildea played with a sore thumb on her catching hand.
“She was in a lot of pain, but she still played well, ‘’ Copcutt said. “She has to catch that ball. That hurts.’’
Copcutt said she never tired while throwing two straight complete games.
“I wanted to beat Johnson City a lot,‘’ Copcutt said. “The Binghamton area is considered one of the best softball areas. My team and I wanted to prove that Binghamton is not the best around. Section 9 has a few players. ‘’

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