May 29, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Four local high school softball teams would venture into the Section III playoffs, hoping for wins – and two of them, East Syracuse-Minoa and Jamesville-DeWitt, would make it into the Class A semifinal round.
ESM, the no. 7 seed, began on a strong note in last Thursday’s opening round as freshman pitcher Danielle Ventrone threw an unusual no-hitter against no. 10 seed Camden in a 7-0 shutout of the Blue Devils.
Twice, the game was halted due to nearby lightning, so Ventrone had enough time to run over to the school and take part in a band concert, where she played a French horn solo.
Once that was done, Ventrone returned and completed her gem, striking out four Camden batters and getting superb defense behind her.
Offensively, this was a methodical effort, as ESM notched single runs in four consecutive innings, starting in the bottom of the second, and tacked on three more runs in the sixth through all the starts and stops. Ventrone had a hit and RBI at the plate as Jaime Gallardo and Maggie Kelly each had two hits, while Nicole Cassella earned a pair of RBIs.
In the Class A quarterfinal, ESM, without any concerts to worry about, faced no. 2 seed and defending champion Oneida. Ignoring the championship reputation of its opponent, the Spartans relied on Ventrone’s pitching and a power burst from Laura Adams to eliminate the Indians 2-0.
For three innings, Ventrone and Oneida’s Maria Rocco traded zeroes. Then, in the fourth, with Danielle Hobb on base after one of her two hits, Adams smashed Rocco’s pitch well over the fence for a two-run home run.
Though it got nothing more, ESM didn’t need more offense the way Ventrone was dealing. Going the route, Ventrone allowed six hits and two walks, but constantly got out of trouble and earned six strikeouts for her second straight playoff shutout.
J-D, the no. 4 seed, entered the sectional picture Friday and, against no. 5 seed Whitesboro, made it through a tense eight-inning battle to edge the Warriors 1-0.
As it has done all season, the Red Rams split pitching duties between Meg Engstrom and Kerri Keeler. Engstrom went the first four innings before Keeler took over, the pair maintaining a shutout through regulation. Keeler did not allow a walk in her four-inning stint and struck out six.
Whitesboro’s Brittany Pogoda gave up nine hits, but still made it through regulation without a run allowed. Finally, in the bottom of the eighth, Mary Young reached scoring position and, when Lateja Bryant singled, Young raced home with the winning run.
In the Class A semifinals, J-D will measure up against top seed Phoenix, while ESM battles no. 6 seed New Hartford. The winners make it to Saturday’s final at Hopkins Road Park in Liverpool.
Up in Class AA Fayetteville-Manlius, the no. 7 seed, could not overcome a rough first inning as no. 2 seed Liverpool eliminated them 9-3 in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Amy Bright, who had given up her pitching duties, hit a solo home run in the top of the first to put her team up 1-0. But in the bottom of the first the Warriors countered with five runs, forcing Katie Muller out as Madeline Gerbig took over in the pitcher’s circle.
Gerbig settled down in the latter stages, and F-M tacked on single runs in the fourth and seventh innings as Elizabeth Lunderman and Elisabeth Thomas earned RBIs. The Hornets’ season concluded with an 8-11 mark.
Christian Brothers Academy, in the Class B tournament as the no. 13 seed, saw its season end with a narrow 2-1 defeat to no. 4 seed Westhill.
Just like their two regular-season meetings, where the Brothers lost narrow 2-1 and 1-0 decisions, the game turned into a duel between the Brothers’ Jordan Sheridan and the Warriors’ Toni Secreti.
Sheridan made her only slip in the first inning as Westhill’s Kelly Mascari hit a two-run home run. From there, she shut down the Warriors, earning 10 strikeouts, but Secreti (who also had 10 K’s) countered by holding CBA to two hits, one of them Sheridan’s sixth-inning single that scored Molly O’Brien.