As if the nine-inning, 2-1 conquest of Cicero-North Syracuse to claim the Section III Class AA championship wasn’t enough, more drama – and more happiness – awaited the Liverpool softball team by week’s end.
In Friday’s AA regional final against Section II champion Bethlehem, the Warriors trailed most of the way, but somehow fought back and, in eight innings, knocked off the Eagles 8-7 to earn a berth in this Saturday’s state final four in Glens Falls.
Having pitched so well in the sectional final, Dana Nicoletti got the turn in the circle again, but got into immediate trouble. Bethlehem scored a run in the top of the first inning and then, in the second, got to Nicoletti for four runs, so the Warriors stared at a 5-0 deficit.
Peyton Bellrose replaced Nicoletti and settled things down, but it stayed 5-0 until the bottom of the fifth, when Liverpool started to solve Eagles pitcher Emma Downing, putting up a trio of runs to close the gap to 5-3.
Then, after Bethlehem responded with two runs in the top of the sixth to stretch the margin back to 7-3, the real comeback began.
The Warriors scored twice in the bottom of the sixth and then, in the seventh, down to its final three outs, it got walks from Wike and Katie Sullivan. Both of them moved up a base due to a passed ball, and ground balls from Taylor Charles and Hansen brought home those runs that tied it, 7-7.
After Bellrose pitched a scoreless frame in the top of the eighth, the Warriors went back to work against Downing in the bottom of the eighth.
With two out, Alicia Hansen reached second on a dropped fly ball and, following an intentional walk to Bellrose, Jenna Wike’s single scored Hansen – who had also scored the winning run in the ninth inning against C-NS.
Hansen again led the Warriors at the plate, going three-for-five with two doubles. Dominique LaRose scored a pair of runs, while Charles and Bellrose added doubles. Wike, Nicoletti, Ericka Sadowski, Katie Yudin and Nicole Cerrone scored one run apiece.
Next Saturday at 9 a.m., at Moreau Recreation Park in Glens Falls, Liverpool meets Valley Central (Section IX) in the state semifinals. The winner goes to the final at 1:30 against East Meadow (Section VIII) or Clarence (Section VI).