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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 21, 2009

Lady Dutch softball beats Hoosic Valley in final inning

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– Lauren Napoli crossed home plate in the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday and secured a much-needed win for the Guilderland softball team.

“We really needed to win this game because we’re trying to make it to sectionals,” said Napoli after the 3-to-2 victory over Hoosic Valley. “We didn’t go crazy at the end because we need to win a few more to reach our goal.”

The Lady Dutch are now sitting at 7-8 after Friday’s game with three more to play in the regular season. The team must win two out of three against Columbia, Troy, and Bethlehem to make the playoffs.

“Most of the girls on this team haven’t been to sectionals before, so they don’t really know what they’re playing for,” said Coach Beth Clement. “We’re trying to develop a winning attitude here because this team hadn’t been to the post-season for 10 years, until last season.”

The Indians are a non-league Class CC opponent from the Wasaren League. “Softball is a pretty isolated sport, so it doesn’t matter what the size of the school is,” Napoli said.

Guilderland had a single and two stolen bases in the first inning to set up a run batted in by Marissa Valletta. The score remained 1 to 0 after Carlee Chapko got the Dutch to pop and ground into three consecutive outs in the second inning.

Debra Schildt was on the mound for the Lady Dutch and was the reason for the Indians short-lived third inning.

“With only a few game left, we need to focus on our defense,” said Valletta. “It’s the means to winning a ball game. The hitting will come.”

Rebecca Fitzgerald got on base for Guilderland with a bunt in the third, but was thrown out at second base on a ground ball. Sammie Schroeter also got on with a bunt. Valletta ripped a line drive to second that was snagged by Chrissy Sanderson and the score remained 1 to 0.

Hoosic Valley got a few favors from some Lady Dutch fielding errors in the fourth inning. Carolyn Houston got to second base after Jess Peck’s off-target throw to first. Houston crossed the plate after an error at first base off Chapko’s grounder.

Chapko made it to third base on a ground out by Jenna Kyer and Chapko was eventually singled in by Eileen Farrell to give the Indians a 2-to-1 lead.

“We didn’t have clean defense today and it almost cost us the game,” Clement said. “My players need to read the bounces better.”

Farrell stole second base with one out, but was injured on the slide. Brianne Ryan replaced the ailing Farrell as she hobbled off the field. Schildt got Sarah Anderson to pop out and Morgan TenEyck made a magnificent diving catch in short right field to prevent any more runs.

The Dutch couldn’t get the bats going in the fourth inning and Hoosic Valley looked to continue scoring in the fifth when Britt St. Onge had a lead-off single. Steph Lorrzak bunted to Schildt and she decided to throw to second base, but the runner was safe.

St. Onge and Lorrzak moved to third and second base and there were no outs. Luckily, for Guilderland, Schildt got Sanderson and Houston to strike out and Chapko to ground out to first to keep the Indians’ lead at one.

TenEyck walked to lead off the fifth for the Lady Dutch and Karen Lima came in and stole second. Lima made it to third base on a wild pitch and she slid under Houston’s tag at home on the next play to tie the game at 2. Hoosic Valley got the runner stealing second, but Lima made a smart move on the base path.

“We’re coming off four or five disappointing turns in a game that could have won the game,” said Coach Maria DeNovio. “It was nice to get one of those turns in our favor this time.”

Breaking the tie

Jessica Saburro took Schildt’s pitching duties in the sixth inning and she got the first two outs. Anderson was the next to step up and she hit a deep ball to center over the fielder’s head. Anderson could have made it to second base, but she hesitated. The score was still 2 to 2.

Schroeter walked to start Guilderland’s sixth inning and she stole second. Schroeter was caught out at third on a Valletta grounder to short and Talyor TenEyck was walked. Schildt, still batting, singled to load the bases with one out.

Valletta was called out at home because she didn’t slide and Lima grounded out to first to leave the runners stranded and the game tied as it headed into the final inning.

Saburro made quick work of the Indians in the top of the seventh and the Lady Dutch now had total control of the outcome of the game.

“We had Fitzgerald and Napoli coming up to bat and they’re both very fast on the bases,” Clement said. “I knew if we could get one of them to second base, we would have a good chance to win.”

Fitzgerald got to first base on an error, but was thrown out trying to steal second. Napoli stood at the plate with two outs and singled to left field. While Schroeter was at bat, Napoli got a good jump and stole second easily.

Schroeter laid down the perfect bunt and Napoli was off to the races. She rounded third and crossed home for the winning run in what seemed like the blink of an eye.

“I didn’t think Napoli would get all the way home on that bunt,” said Schroeter. “But she is probably the fastest player on this team. It was very smart baserunning.”

“We might have to be flawless to make sectionals,” said Clement. “If the hits fall, we could take it.”

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