Jun 05, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For a year, the Hamilton softball team had waited to make a return to the Section III Class D championship game, perhaps hoping that it could avenge its narrow 2-1 defeat to Stockbridge Valley in the 2010 title game.
Well, the Emerald Knights got that revenge, pounding the Cougars 11-2 Saturday at Hopkins Road Park in Liverpool by unleashing all kinds of run production to overcome an early 2-0 deficit.
With the Cougars’ long-time pitcher, Cheyenne Bumpus, who no-hit Hamilton in that 2010 final, now graduated, Stockbridge turned to sophomore Justuss Usborne to oppose Rebecca Rogers, an eighth-grader already pitching in her second sectional final.
It was Stockbridge getting to Rogers for single runs in the first two innings, though Rogers struck out the side on both occasions. Meriah Beauvais tripled in the first and came home on a passed ball as, in the second, Mandy Beauvais
singled, moved to third when Hamilton could not execute a rundown, and raced home when Rogers uncorked a wild
But the game’s biggest shot came in the bottom of the second. A Stockbridge error had put Sara Whyatt one base when, with one out, Kelby Watkins stepped up. She promptly jumped on an Usbourne pitch and drilled it over the left-field fence for a game-tying two-run home run, the first of her career.
An inning later, Hamilton went ahead for good, aided by two walks and three Stockbridge errors as it scored three times. Five more runs would follow in the bottom of the fourth, the first two scoring on wild pitches after Katie Weeks doubled. Watkins also doubled, while Whyatt and Jess Welsch also drove in runs.
Once the Emerald Knights had that lead, Rogers proved unstoppable. She held the Cougars to two hits overall, finishing with 14 strikeouts against just two walks.
Hamilton, after a first-round bye, began its post-season quest with a 5-0 victory over no. 7 seed Belleville-Henderson in the Class D quarterfinals on May 28.
Rogers held Belleville-Henderson to two hits, and finally got some help when the Emerald Knights scored all of its runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Welsh managed two hits, while Watkins tripled and Whyatt earned a double.
This led to last Wednesday’s Class D semifinal at the Gillette Road complex in Cicero against no. 6 seed Poland, who had upended no. 3 seed New York Mills to get to this point.
But the Emerald Knights made sure the Tornadoes did not pull off another surprise, winning by a convincing 10-2 margin by unleashing its bats from the first pitch onward.
Hamilton got single runs in the first and second innings before scoring twice in the bottom of the third, one of them Whyatt’s solo home run that rode the wind over the fence.
Poland threatened to close the gap in the top of the fifth, putting runners on second and third with no one out, but Rogers held them to a single run and watched as Hamilton used four runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more runs in the sixth to pull away.
Rogers, who held Poland to three hits while striking out eight, doubled home a run in that late flurry, with Watkins recording a two-run single.
Now with a sectional title in hand after beating Stockbridge, Hamilton goes to the BAGSAI complex near Binghamton to face Section IV champion Deposit in Tuesday’s Class D regional final. The winner there advances to this Saturday’s state final four at the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury.