Jun 10, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
High drama and continual excitement followed the Jamesville-DeWitt softball team to the very brink of a state Class A championship.
However, the Red Rams’ bid to win it all fell just short as, in Saturday’s title game at Queensbury’s Adirondack Sports Complex, Sayville, from Long Island, edged J-D 5-4.
Each of J-D’s three state playoff games was decided by a single run, including the state semifinal earlier on Saturday when the Rams held off Hamburg (Section VI) in a 2-1 decision.
All of it was a far cry from a regular season where J-D had not even won its own league, finishing second to Phoenix in the OHSL Freedom division.
But the Rams avenged two regular-season defeats to Phoenix (plus a playoff loss from 2011) in the Section III semifinals, blanked top seed Oneida for the sectional title and, in a stunning comeback, scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to stun undefeated, state no. 1-ranked South Glens Falls 4-3 in the regional final.
This was the momentum J-D carried into the semifinal against Hamburg, who like South Glens Falls took an undefeated record (21-0) into its battle with the Rams.
Just as in the previous round, J-D fell behind as, in the bottom of the first inning, the Bulldogs plated a run off a double, fielder’s choice, single and error.
Here, the Rams didn’t wait until the end to rally, though. In the fourth, Maddy Devereaux smacked a double and went to third when Maggie Austin reached on an error.
Then Mary Young, normally a power hitter, laid down a suicide squeeze bunt, taking Hamburg by surprise as Devereaux scored the tying run. Austin took off for third, and a wild Bulldogs throw allowed Austin to trot home with the go-ahead run.
Shut down the rest of the way, J-D needed Kerri Keeler to protect that one-run lead. She did, stranding Bulldog runners in the fifth and sixth innings before another tense ending in the bottom of the seventh.
With one out, Hamburg’s Melissa Roseman doubled. Gambling, Rams head coach Phil DeAugustine ordered an intentional walk to Bridget Hogan, who had driven in the earlier run – even though Hogan represented the winning run this time around.
Heather Tighe was up, and her grounder was scooped up by Maddy Devereaux, who forced Roseman at third for the second out. Madeline Medina stepped up, already with two hits on the game, and hit a deep ball to center. ButTessa Devereaux tracked it down, caught it, and J-D was in the state final.
A few hours later, against Sayville, the Section XI champions (who beat Cornwall 2-0 in the other semifinal), J-D nearly replicated the South Glens Falls comeback, erasing a three-run deficit, only to get caught at the end.
Through three innings, Sayville led 3-0, having tagged Keeler for two runs in the second and another run in the third.
In the fifth, though, Maddy Devereaux and Keeler led off with singles. Then Lateja Bryant doubled, bringing Maddy Devereaux home, and Tessa Devereaux’s grounder led to a wild throw home, scoring both Tessa and Bryant to tie it, 3-3.
Young’s hard hit forced Sayville pitcher Merissa Selts out of the game. Her replacement, Kathleen Maeher, could not keep Deb Toscano from doubling home Young with the go-ahead run.
Yet J-D’s 4-3 lead would not last. In the bottom of the fifth, Kira Karl beat out a bunt single and raced home on Kerry Keenan’s game-tying double. Two ground balls later, Keenan had scored the go-ahead run.
The Rams had two more chances to rally again, but Maeher shut them down, and J-D’s first-ever state championship remained elusive.