Jun 07, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In a matter of minutes, the Jamesville-DeWitt softball team went from a grim acceptance of defeat to a jubilant celebration of a trip to the state Class A final four.
Trailing undefeated, state no. 1-ranked South Glens Falls by three runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of Wednesday’s Class A regional final at the Gillette Road complex in Cicero, the Red Rams made it all up to stun the Bulldogs 4-3.
As far as head coach Phil DeAugustine was concerned, anything that followed J-D’s first Section III Class A title since 2006 was a bonus. Thus, when his team entered the bottom of the seventh still trailing 3-0, he was not rattled.
“I was still calm,” he said. “But I wanted to see some magic happen.”
He got that magic, fittingly because J-D’s seniors refused to let it end. Shut down all afternoon by South Glens Falls pitcher Lindsay Sullivan, the Rams began to get to her when Mary Young led off the bottom of the seventh with a clean single.
Deb Toscano got ahead of the count 3-0, but Sullivan recovered to strike her out, and also retired Rachel Honis on a pop fly. J-D was one out from elimination.
Lexi Lerman offered an omen, hitting a deep foul ball all off the wall in left field. Lerman singled up the middle moments later, and Maddy Devereaux worked a walk, the first walk Sullivan had allowed all game, to load the bases.
This brought up Kerri Keeler. J-D’s junior pitcher had kept her team within sight all afternoon, recovering from the two runs she allowed in the top of the third to pitch three shutout frames before South Glens Falls tacked on what looked like an insurance run in the top of the seventh.
Now Keeler faced Sullivan, and took strike one. Keeler said she was nervous because, in a bases-loaded situation, any force play got the Bulldogs the win.
None of those nerves showed, though, when on Sullivan’s second delivery Keeler banged the ball to left field, just over the reach of South Glens Falls’ Kristen Matuszak, who dove to catch the ball, but missed.
“I was just praying that they didn’t catch it,” said Young. “When I saw everyone cheering, I knew something good had happened.”
Quite good, in fact. Young scored. Lerman scored. And Devereaux tore across the plate with the tying run as Keeler, on second base, reveled in the biggest double of her softball career.
Now it was 3-3. After Lateja Bryant singled and moved Keeler to third, Tessa Devereaux came to the plate. Sullivan fired a low delivery that squirted between the legs of Bulldogs catcher Emily Sharpe, and Keeler came home with the winning run.
Instead of an ending, J-D now could make travel plans for Queensbury, and the Adirondack Sports Complex, where on Saturday it will take on Hamburg (Section VI) in the state Class A semifinal at 1:30. The winner plays Sayville (Section XI) or Cornwall (Section IX) for the state title at 4:30.