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.