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J-D, ESM softball taken out in Class A semis

Red Rams upended by late New Hartford comeback

— Even as it roared to a 17-3 mark and another top seed in the Section III Class A playoffs, the Jamesville-DeWitt softball team had endured all kinds of close calls, getting by on solid defense and the terrific pitching of Kerri Keeler.

But the Red Rams’ fortunes would change at the worst time possible.

One big swing by New Hartford’s Dana Del Genio, delivering the big hit that had proven elusive for J-D all game long, turned things around in last Wednesday’s Class A semifinal at the Gillette Road complex, the no. 4 seed Spartans going on to beat the defending sectional champion Rams 3-1.

While that was going on, East Syracuse-Minoa saw its season end in the other Class A sectional semifinal as the no. 3 seed Spartans fell to no. 2 seed Oneida, also in a 3-1 decision.

Of the two, J-D’s exit was more shocking, in that it had grown accustomed to long post-season runs and earning sectional championships. This spring had proved a stressful one, though, as the Rams had won seven of its 17 games by two runs or less.

This put a lot of pressure on Keeler, and now she was up against a New Hartford lineup that was known for its power, having hit 14 home runs during the season, including six by Emily Acquaviva and five by Del Genio.

The game followed the familiar J-D pattern of the spring. Keeler and Spartans pitcher Cassie Keady traded scoreless frames until the top of the third, when Emily Clapper’s RBI single put the Rams in front 1-0.

In the next two innings, J-D had chances to add to that lead, but aided by stellar defense (including a double play), the Spartans kept it 1-0, while still waiting for its chance to break through against Keeler.

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