Rebecca Rogers was in elementary school the last time the Hamilton softball team played in a Section III Class D championship game. That was in 2006.
Four years later, the Emerald Knights are back in the final - and Rogers, though only a seventh-grader, is fueling the team's drive for glory.
Rogers put together her best pitching performance so far as Hamilton earned a 7-1 victory over no. 3 seed New York Mills in Wednesday's Class D semifinal at Vernon Verona Sherrill.
Showing remarkable poise, Rogers did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and kept the Marauders off the board until the seventh. By that point, she had piled up 15 strikeouts in what would prove to be a two-hit complete game.
Meanwhile, Hamilton's bats were active from the start, getting two runs in the bottom of the first to move ahead for good.
Katie Weeks reached base on an error, stole second and third, then raced home when Rachel Holcomb's sacrifice got misplayed. Finishing on second, Holcomb came home on Jenna Whyatt's single with two out.
Whyatt was far from done, later adding a triple in the fifth inning and scoring on Rogers' single before getting one of two runs in the seventh inning to help Hamilton clinch it. Before that, Sam Martin belted an RBI double to bring home Weeks in the fourth.
With this win, Hamilton earns a shot at dethroning two-time defending champion Stockbridge Valley in Saturday's Class D final at the Gillette Road complex in Cicero.
Stockbridge beat Poland 3-1 in the other semifinal and features senior pitching ace Cheyenne Bumpus, who has led the Cougars to the title in both 2008 and '09. The stark contrast between the veteran Bumpus and the youthful Rogers adds to the fascination with this title game.