2023 Section IV Blog
The 2023 season has come and gone, and with it brought two more state champions to Section IV: Maine-Endwell in Class A and Deposit-Hancock in Class D. Their wins up the total to 53 for Section IV, still far and away tops in all of New York.
Now it’s time to turn the page and focus on 2024.
If you haven’t heard, there will now be SIX classifications across NY (AAA, AA, A, B, C, D). For clarity’s sake, I will go by the teams that were merged last year: Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Delhi/Downsville, Deposit-Hancock, Unadilla Valley/Sherburne-Earlville, Stamford/Jefferson, Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs, Laurens/Milford, Morris/Edmeston. That does not mean they absolutely will be merged again this year, but time will tell.
One note to keep in mind is how often positions change. Take Chenango Forks, for example. I wrote last year how they returned their STAC Central All-Division battery (pitcher and catcher) in Jessica Stone and Alexis Scott, and how they were perfectly set at those positions with them. Well, this year they were Central/East All-Conference selections… at 2nd base (Stone) and 3rd base (Scott)! It goes to show just how good and versatile these athletes are to fill in positions where they are needed the most.
(To view the full list of classifications across many sports, read the document HERE.)
* The newly formed Class AAA will feature two teams: Elmira and Corning. Congratulations to those two teams for making the 2024 sectional finals! It will be rematch of last year’s Class AA Championship, won by Corning 6-4. One of the stars of that game was Sophia Polzella, who went 2-for-2 with a double, walk, and three runs scored. She was rewarded with an All-State Fifth Team selection, the lone Class AA representative for Section IV. She will be back, along with a pair of West All-Division selections in pitcher Peyton Sullivan and outfielder Daphne Sherman. Elmira will say goodbye to West All-Division members Payton Ross and Mackenzie Fusare, but returns outfielder Addy Chorney.
* Class AA is shaping up to be a three-team race between Horseheads, Vestal, and Union-Endicott. That list does not include Maine-Endwell, who remain in Class A. Vestal suffered a disappointing loss to M-E in the Class A Championship last season 11-7, as they simply built too many holes for themselves and constantly had to play catchup. The good news is that they have two All-State performers on the way back in shortstop Caitlyn Petteys (First Team) and outfielder Kendall Brady (Fifth Team). They also have Metro All-Division pitcher Reilly Storer back. They will miss All-State Third Team selection Kymora Wang, who both pitched and played 3rd base. Also graduating was West/Metro All-Conference selection Edna Kiefer, and Metro All-Division picks Kelsey Brady and Raveena Rai.
Union-Endicott loses All-State Sixth Team member Jacki Conti, and Metro All-Division pitcher Kendra Lee and 2nd baseman Ali DiPietro. They do welcome back a pair of all-star outfielders: Jordyn Frantz (West/Metro All-Conference) and Veronica Bowman (Metro All-Division). Horseheads won the STAC West behind West/Metro All-Conference seniors Kristen Cole and Belle Giammichele, but do welcome back Megan Wolf for her junior year. She’ll be joined by West All-Division picks Maddie Matkosky and Kailey McCormick.
Ithaca did not field a varsity team last season, but did have a JV squad. Binghamton has suffered through some hard times since the 2018 season. Unfortunately for both teams, some really, really tough schedules do them no favors. However, all it takes is a spark to light a fire, so let’s hope they can start being competitive again.
* As mentioned before, Maine-Endwell will remain a Class A program as they begin their state title defense. But, they will have some major shoes to fill, as Class A New York Player of the Year Olivia Lewis has graduated. That’s a lot of innings, wins, strikeouts, and home runs (with her bat) that will be missed. Also gone will be Kaety L'Amoreaux, who is one of the best athletes in the state. It goes without saying, but athletes like these two don’t come around too often. M-E is a program used to replenishing graduating talent, though, and they do have three Metro All-Division selections returning: Aleciyah Brodley, Anna Fellows, and Isabel Hunter. There’s also catcher Shannon Mentz, who battled injuries this season but thankfully returned for the state title run, and St. Bonaventure commit Lauren Dundon.
Two other teams who could be a threat in Class A are Johnson City and Owego. JC has West/Metro All-Conference utility player Annabel Burke, who can split innings on the mound and at other positions. She’ll be joined by Metro All-Division 2nd baseman Madison Rychlicki. Owego put six players on the Central All-Division list, and two of them will be back next year: Carsten Crawford and Miley Laubach. They will need more to step up and fill the positions vacated by the other selections in Sarah Terry, Jordan Greeno, Morgan Francisco, and Natalie Donovan. Norwich is the other team in this class, and they are in the midst of a big rebuild. But, every team has to start somewhere, and building from the ground up is the only way to go.
* Class B will feature two reigning sectional champions. The defending Class B champions Windsor will be joined by Class C champion Edison. Both teams made it all the way to the State Semi-finals before suffering close losses to eventual state champions Ichabod Crane (B) and Gowanda (C). Windsor has both of their All-State selections coming back in Anna Finn (First Team) and Danica Ball (Second Team). They also have East All-Division picks Paige Smith and Kyla Good back. That’s a good group to defend a title with. Edison, however, counters with a pair of Class C All-State picks of their own: First Team member Gabby Milazzo and Third Team member Kailey Ripley. There’s also IAC South Large Second Team picks Emily Aiello, Brianna Korsky, Mariana Jones-Frosolone. Add it all up, and both teams should feel great about their chances of winning another crown.
Chenango Valley came oh-so-close to winning back-to-back sectional titles, but were denied in a tight game vs. Windsor. They welcome back Central/East All-Conference selection Colsten Beers, along with Central All-Division pick Caelyn Koch. However, they lose All-State selections Madeline Trisket and Kate Hope, who will be very tough to replace. Susquehanna Valley returns plenty of good talent. It starts with Class B All-State Fifth Team pick Kylee Richardson. She's joined by Central/East All-Conference picks Danica LaBarre and Alexis Burns, and they will all pair up with East All-Division members Madison Evans, Paige Weaver, Lillionna D’Introno, and Julia Ricci. Chenango Forks also has very good players on their way back. Central/East All-Conference picks Jessica Stone and Alexis Scott team up with Central All-Division picks Whitney Walker and Shay Bernardini.
There’s a few other teams from the IAC and MAC conferences who will make the step up. Dryden enjoyed a historic season in going all the way to the IAC North Large Championship game, but will say goodbye to Class B All-State Third Team member Kahlen Cornell. Sidney has a couple of MAC First Team selections back in Ava Cirigliano and Adrianna Tanner, to go with Second Team pick Katelynn Youngs. Lansing has four IAC North Large selections returning: Brooklyn Walker, Isabelle Gustafson, Lindsey Fish, and Piper Mason. The challenge for the non-STAC teams is finding the proper competition during the year to get them ready for this level come sectional time. That was part of the motivation for the Waverly district to successfully apply to join STAC, as they’ll be in the Central starting this school year. They lose IAC South Large First Team member Michaela Lauper, but do welcome back three other all-stars: Olivia Robinson (First Team), Hannah Carpenter (Second Team), and Meghan Apgar (Second Team). It will be interesting to see how they compete with a STAC schedule this year.
* Class C and D is where things get a little tricky. With so many merged programs from 2023, it’s too early to tell right now where these programs will end up. It’s very possible some listed at the start of this blog entry will even be in Class B (such as Unadilla Valley/Sherburne-Earlville last year). I do not want to guess and then mislead which classes these teams will end up, so I will simply preview them as a whole.
* When it comes to “small schools” in Section IV, it starts with Deposit-Hancock. As a combined program, they won their second Class D State Championship in as many tries, and it was a doozy. It took 13 innings and 18 strikeouts from Class D New York Player of the Year Kaitlyn Macumber to put away a super tough Scio/Friendship. It’s never easy winning a state title, and this one may have been the toughest for D/H or Deposit (though a 1-0 win in 2017 over Heuvelton is certainly up there as well). Macumber has graduated and will be hard to replace. But, they do have a whopping four other All-State selections returning: Addison Makowski (First Team), Amanda Ray (First Team), Sarah Gross (Second Team), and Pagen Macumber (Third Team). Makowski pitched some this year, so perhaps she will be the next in a long line of great pitching from that program to take the ball and dominate.
Greene enjoyed another great season in downing D/H for the MAC Championship 1-0, before running into a red-hot Edison to fall in the Class C Semi-finals by same 1-0 outcome. Winning will be harder to come by next year, as they lose Class C All-State First Team member Payton Yahner and two-time All-State pick McKenzie Scott. That’s a heck of a pitcher-catcher combo to replace. They do have the younger Yahner, Abby, along with Rhea Malmquist as a pair of MAC First Team picks returning.
Elmira Notre Dame suffered their third straight loss in the Class C Championship game, this time to Edison 2-1. They lose a trio of absolute studs in All-State selections Lawson Bigelow (First Team), Olivia Switzer (Third Team), and Shannon Maloney (Fourth Team). Three other IAC South Large All-Division picks were also seniors: Payton Miller, Ava Mustico, and Izzy Griffin. While nothing is impossible, it’s asking quite a bit to repeat the production this team has had during their run. However, Elmira ND has proven many times in the past that they’re up to the task.
The MAC features four pitchers coming back for their senior years to go along with Cirigliano: Alli Ferrara (Delhi/Downsville), Kylee Noyes (Harpursville), Hailey Fisher (Unadilla Valley), and Bailey McCoy (Unatego). As I stated in the beginning, keep in mind that positions can easily change, so it’s no guarantee all of these names will take the circle in 2024. But, in this sport, it’s a great place to start in building a team.
Two more Class D All-State players who won Section IV league championships will be on their way back. Natalie Amadon (Third Team) helped lead Charlotte Valley to a Delaware League championship in a 12-3 win over Roxbury. She scored twice and swiped two bases that game. Brooke Mann (Fourth Team) was the star in the circle for Tri-Valley champion Laurens/Milford. She struck out eight in an exciting 8-7 walk-off victory over Morris/Edmeston, a team with Second Team selection Hannah Wist, already a three-time All-State selection as a sophomore. Also returning will be Ava Harvatine (Fourth Team) of Southern Cayuga, as she helped guide her squad to a Section IV Championship Game appearance for the first time in school history.
With the Regional Finals all completed, Section IV once again will send four teams to State Championship weekend in Long Island. Maine-Endwell (A), Windsor (B), Edison (C), and Deposit-Hancock (D) all earned convincing wins, and are more than ready to aim for state titles.
Here’s a recap of the Regional Finals:
Class A Regional Final: Maine-Endwell 8 – Ursuline 3. After surviving a tight, 2-1 battle to defeat FD Roosevelt in the Subregional on Tuesday, M-E was right back at Union-Endicott looking to gain a berth in the State Semi-final. This time, the Spartans scored early and put pressure on the opposition to play catch-up. After both teams went down in order to start the game, M-E put up a four-spot in the 2nd. As is the case with many rallies, it all started with a leadoff walk, as Izzy Hunter took four straight balls. Tessa L’Amoreaux came in to run for her, went to 2nd on a groundout, and scored on an RBI single from Shannon Mentz. Other runs were added on an RBI groundout by Anna Fellows and a two-run single from Lauren Dundon. Both teams traded single runs in the 4th, and then M-E got plenty of insurance runs with three in the 6th. Kaety L’Amoreaux walked with one out, went to 2nd on a grounder, and scored on Olivia Lewis’ single. After a double by Hunter, Aleciyah Brodley plated them both with a two-run base hit. With the score 8-1 and Lewis on the mound in the 7th, give Ursuline plenty of credit for not going down without a fight. Ava Papaleo hit a long solo homer to begin the inning. Three straight singles followed to load the bases, and another run was forced in on a walk to make it 8-3 with nobody out. Lewis then settled down and struck out the next hitter, induced a ground ball to 2nd in which the runner was called out for interference (taking away another run), and leadoff hitter Jessica Tejera struck out swinging after almost extending the game by thinking she was hit by a pitch, but was ruled to be a foul ball off the knob of the bat. It was a whirlwind final inning, reminiscent of the Vestal game from the Section IV Championship. The win gave M-E their fourth Regional title, and first since winning three straight state titles from 2016-2018. The Spartans are a perfect 6-0 in State Semi and Championship games, and will look to add two more to the win column on Friday with a matchup against Bayport-Blue Point of Section XI. The winner heads to Saturday’s Championship vs. Troy (Section II) or Webster Thomas (Section V).
Class B Regional Final: Windsor 14 – Chittenango 3. Section IV saw two blowouts on the day, and this was certainly one of them. After a back-and-forth opening couple of frames, Windsor scored four in the 3rd, five in the 4th, and three in the 6th to put an exclamation point on their first Regional title since 2016. They did so by putting the ball in play (forcing six Chittenango errors) and getting an all-time performance from Ashlee Hagerman with the long ball. Windsor, playing as the away team in Section III territory (Carrier Park in Syracuse), essentially put the game on ice in the 3rd. Kayla Williams reached on an error leading off, opening the floodgates. An out later, Paige Smith and Kyla Good singled to load ‘em up. Alexis Durdon plated one with an RBI groundout. Hagerman followed that with the first of her two three-run bombs, making it 6-1. Danica Ball then put the Bears down in order in the bottom of the 3rd, leading to another huge inning for the Black Knights in the 4th. Two big errors in the outfield helped make the score 9-1, a wild pitch scored Emily Flagg to make it 10-1, and a passed ball scored Good for an 11-1 advantage. Chittenango scored a couple in the 4th to cut their deficit to 11-3, then loaded the bases with two outs in the 5th, only to have Durdon relieve Danica Ball and get a huge strikeout on a full count to end the threat. Hagerman apparently wasn’t satisfied with just one homer, so she added her second three-run shot in the 6th to end the scoring at 14-3. Chittenango will always wonder what could have been had they not left so many outs on the field, as starting pitcher Caroline Porter gave up nine runs, with none of them earned. That shows just how poor the defense was behind her. Windsor does a great job of putting the ball in play and not striking out too much, as they did the same against Chenango Valley in the Section IV Championship (only two strikeouts all game in that one). Hagerman led the way with a career highlight, collecting three hits, driving in six, and homering twice. She hit #7 in the order, which shows just how deep the Black Knights’ lineup is. Now they are off to the State Semi-final where they will lock horns with Ichabod Crane. IC is the reigning Class B champs, as they destroyed Chenango Valley 12-0 to win it all last year and have enjoyed another dominant season. The winner gets to face Wellsville (Section V) or Marlboro (Section IX).
Class C Regional Final: Edison 6 – Cooperstown 1. After taking down two Class C powerhouses in Greene and Elmira Notre Dame, Edison kept their momentum going with five runs in the 4th and 5th innings to eliminate Cooperstown. Edison started the scoring in the 1st, as Brianna Korsky singled leading off, took 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored an out later on Gabby Milazzo’s RBI single. After Cooperstown tied it in the 4th, Edison got to work in the bottom half. Milazzo reached on an error leading off and Mariana Jones-Frosolone doubled for two runners in scoring position. Pinch runner Charlee Stroman was called out at home trying to score on a bunt, but Kailey Ripley scored a pair with another error to make it 3-1. An inning later, Carissa Cowan tripled with one down and scored on Korsky’s RBI double. Two more runs were added on a single by Milazzo and groundout by Jones-Frosolone, and it was 6-1. The game ended in the 7th when starting pitcher Danielle Seamon lined into a game-ending double play, pitcher to 3rd base. Edison won this game behind the stellar pitching of Milazzo and aggressive baserunning. Milazzo gave up only one unearned run, eight hits, and struck out nine. She also added two hits and two RBIs hitting in the #3 spot. Simply put, she is the workhorse of this team. Korsky added two hits in the leadoff spot. The Spartans also stole two bases, as they constantly put pressure on Cooperstown with their running game. With their fifth Regional title, Edison will look for a repeat of 2019 when they plowed through the competition by a combined score of 22-0 in the State Semi and Championship. They will play Gowanda of Section VI, with the winner taking on SS Seward (Section IX) or Chatham (Section II).
Class D Regional Final: Deposit-Hancock 14 – Eldred 0. The domination continues, as Deposit-Hancock once again proved why they are the cream of the crop in all of Class D throughout the state. Pagan Macumber gathered a base hit on a bunt with one down in the 1st, took 2nd on a passed ball, and scored on Sarah Gross’ RBI single. That’s all the scoring the Eagles would need, as Kaitlyn Macumber tossed four scoreless innings, with 11 of the 12 outs via strikeout, and Addison Makowski closed the door on a mercy rule win by striking out the side in the 5th. Eldred was able to keep the game close at 1-0 heading into the 3rd, but that’s when D-H turned it on with authority with four runs. The big blows were an RBI double from Gross, a sac-fly lineout to left by Makowski, and a two-run triple by Abby Russell. Kaitlyn Macumber hit a two-run homer in the 4th for a 7-0 advantage, and Makowski and Amanda Ray each chipped in with back-to-back RBI doubles. An RBI groundout by Kelsey Wank made it 10-0. A pitching change by Eldred in the 5th didn’t go as planned, as a combination of walks and wild pitches increased the lead to 14-0. Eldred must wonder what they have to do to get away from Deposit, as this is their eighth loss in as many tries against them in the Regional Final. That’s an amazing number. Even more amazing is that D-H and Deposit are a combined 12-1 in the Regional Final. Now it’s back to Long Island, as they will oppose Salem of Section II. The other side of the bracket features Scio/Friendship (Section V) vs. Poland (Section III). D-H seeks their second consecutive championship, and 8th overall from Deposit.
Here is the complete schedule for our Section IV teams playing for state championships at Moriches Athletic Complex in Long Island. Unlike previous years, it’s now a two-day event, with the semi-finals played on Friday and the championship on Saturday:
Class A State Semi-finals, 10:00 am
Maine-Endwell vs. Bayport-Blue Point
Troy vs. Webster Thomas
(Championship on Saturday at 11:00 am)
Class B State Semi-finals, 4:00
Windsor vs. Ichabod Crane
Wellsville vs. Marlboro
(Championship on Saturday at 12:00)
Class C State Semi-finals, 6:00
Edison vs. Gowanda
SS Seward vs. Chatham
(Championship on Saturday at 2:00)
Class D State Semi-finals, 1:00
Deposit-Hancock vs. Salem
Scio/Friendship vs. Poland
(Championship on Saturday at 11:30 am)
Championship Saturday for Section IV is in the books. The location switched this year, as Holding Point Complex in Horseheads played host. Four new champions were crowned, along with a repeat winner in Class D.
Let’s take a look back at all of the action.
Class AA Championship: #1 Corning 6 - #2 Elmira 4. Judging by the 1st inning of this game, you would think the final score would be somewhere in the double digits. Elmira starting pitcher and leadoff hitter Payton Ross reached on an error to begin the game and soon scored on Riley Ogden’s RBI single. Two more runs came home soon after, with one on an RBI single by Allie Howe. In a 3-0 hole, Corning wasted no time in getting to work. Sophia Polzella and Kendall Curreri showed good patience with walks to start their half of the 1st. They came home on a two-run triple by Peyton Sullivan, the Hawks’ starting pitcher. An error off of Maddie Dibble’s bat allowed Sullivan to score, and it was 3-3 in an action-packed opening frame. From there, it was Corning who settled down the best, only allowing one more run to score in the 4th on an RBI triple from Addisyn Chorney. Corning took the lead for good in the 3rd with the help of some shaky Express defense. Sullivan’s fly ball was misplayed, allowing Polzella to score and make it 4-3. Another misplayed fly ball off of Courtney Searfoss’ bat on a sunny day in Horseheads increased the lead to 5-3. Up by two runs in the 7th, Sullivan shut the door with a groundout and two flyouts to end the game. Corning made it a perfect 3-for-3 sweep over their rivals from Elmira. Sullivan was huge all day giving up six hits and striking out seven, including her 100th for the season. Only one of her four runs were earned. She combined with Polzella to collect three of the four hits on the day. For Elmira, they showed they can hang with the best in Class AA, as their three losses were by small margins. With a little tighter defense, who knows how this game would have ended up. Corning will look forward to a Subregional (1st Round) state playoff game on Tuesday vs. Monroe-Woodbury at Union-Endicott.
Class A Championship: #2 Maine-Endwell 11 - #1 Vestal 7. One of the most anticipated matchups, if not the highest one, was in Class A. For the third straight time this season, Maine-Endwell got the better of Vestal. In the only rematch from last season’s sectional championships, an Olivia Lewis grand slam in the 2nd inning gave M-E the lead for good and helped the Spartans get some revenge. If you blinked in this one, you probably missed a lot of action. Both teams came ready to hit against very good pitchers. There were a total of six home runs and two doubles, as the ball was flying all over the place. M-E collected four of those homers off the bats of Kaylee Hurba, Kaety L’Amoreaux, Isabel Hunter, and Lewis. The grand slam by Lewis proved to be huge, as Vestal did not go down without a fight in the 7th. Facing an 11-4 deficit after M-E plated two more on L’Amoreaux’s homer in the top of the inning, Vestal collected five straight hits with one out. Kymora Wang hit a two-run double to make it 11-6, and Edna Kiefer followed soon after with a run scoring single. Lewis then struck out the next two hitters on seven pitches, and the celebration was on. Both teams had big time performances from the top of their batting orders. L’Amoreaux hit leadoff for M-E and reached safely all five times, scoring four runs. Lauren Dundon had a pair of hits, and Aleciyah Brodley drove in two. If Vestal was told ahead of time that the top three in their order would combine to go 8-for-12 with seven runs and six RBIs against a Division I recruit, they probably would have thought they’d win big. Kendall Brady, Caitlyn Petteys (who homered twice and showed off her incredible defensive skills all game), and Wang did all they could to help Vestal fight back. Kiefer had three hits hitting in the #5 spot. The difference in this one was the bottom of M-E’s lineup got a little bit more production than Vestal’s. Lauren Eagan hit #8 and scored twice; Hurba hit last and had the solo home run. Time will tell how far M-E will go in the state tournament, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that this felt like a state championship game judging by all the talent on the field. M-E will look to keep it rolling with a Subregional game vs. Roosevelt on Tuesday after the Corning game at Union-Endicott.
Class B Championship: #2 Windsor 9 - #1 Chenango Valley 7. This game followed the blueprint of the Class A Championship in that the #2 seed got a big lead, then held on for dear life as the #1 seed rallied in the 7th. In this one, though, the tying run for CV was at 2nd base before a lineout double play ended things in dramatic fashion. Windsor struck in the 1st for a run when Anna Finn singled leading off, went to 2nd on a sacrifice, and scored on Danica Ball’s RBI single. CV responded in the bottom half by taking what ended up being their only lead of the game. Kate Hope hit an infield single leading off and Madeline Trisket singled an out later for runners on the corners. Icey Jones hit a fly ball to center that was misplayed, allowing both runners to score. Makenzi Reinhard’s sac-fly RBI scored Jones, and the Warriors were up 3-1. The Windsor bats and some less-than-stellar CV defense brought home the next eight runs over the 2nd and 3rd innings. The big highlights were a bases clearing triple by Kayla Williams in the 2nd and a three-run homer by Finn in the 3rd. Both came with two outs, and both followed key errors by CV to keep them on the field. Kaylee Watson took over in the circle for CV after the Finn homer in the 3rd, and she proceeded to toss 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, surrendering only three hits. CV chipped away with single runs in the 3rd and 5th, but found themselves staring at a 9-5 deficit heading into the final inning. With Alexis Durdon now in the circle for the Black Knights, CV saw their first four hitters reach, as Watson’s two-run single made it 9-7 with nobody out. Durdon then got a popup in foul territory for the first out, then walked the #9 hitter Megan Butch to bring up leadoff hitter Hope. On a play that will long be remembered by both sides, Hope hit a liner to the right side that was gloved by Andrea Medovich at 2nd, who then tossed to 1st to double up the runner leading off for the game ending DP. Windsor hung tough when they needed it the most, as CV did not roll over after the first few innings. Historically these teams have put on great battles, and this was no different. Windsor now heads to a Regional Final game on Saturday, June 3 at Carrier Park in Syracuse against the Section III champion, still to be determined.
Class C Championship: #1 Edison 2 - #2 Elmira Notre Dame 1. The two IAC powerhouses did not disappoint, as the game went down to the last hitter. Fortunately for Edison, they were the home squad, and they were the ones walking it off. The game was scoreless through four innings, as Gabby Milazzo for Edison and Olivia Switzer for Elmira Notre Dame proved why they are two of the top pitchers in the state. Then the gloves let each team down, starting with Elmira ND in the 5th. With two outs, Carissa Cowan reached on an infield error and advanced to 2nd. As is often the case, that would prove to be costly in such an important game. Brianna Korsky drove her in with an RBI single, and it was 1-0. An error by Edison allowed the game to be tied in the 6th. Payton Miller reached via error with one down. Lawson Bigelow, one of the best power hitters in school history, was intentionally walked next. With two outs, Shannon Maloney’s pop-up was misplayed, allowing Miller to score and tie the game. That all led to a memorable bottom of the 7th. Kailey Ripley took a huge leadoff walk and gave way to pinch runner Charlee Stroman. Maddison Pack sacrificed Stroman to 2nd. Emily Aiello then brought home the winning run with a walk-off hit into right. Give Milazzo lots of credit for keeping a powerful lineup, featuring six seniors chosen as 1st Team IAC South Large All-Division, in check all game. She allowed only one hit, stuck out six, and walked three. Switzer was dominant as well, surrendering only one earned run in the last inning. She had eight strikeouts and one walk. In such a close contest, Edison made one more big play when they needed it the most. Now it’s off to the Regional Final, as they await the Section III champion on Saturday at Carrier Park.
Class D Championship: #1 Deposit-Hancock 17 - #2 Southern Cayuga 0. First, some praise for Southern Cayuga. This group of girls and coaches accomplished something no other team in school history has been able to do by making it all the way to a sectional championship game. They did so by earning a #2 seed, then blowing by Roxbury 23-3 in the Semi-final. There’s plenty to be proud of, and I’m sure they are. Unfortunately for them, they ran into the juggernaut known as the Deposit-Hancock Eagles. These are the types of games D-H completely overwhelms the opposition in, and this one was no exception. Southern Cayuga, though, did start the game off well, as leadoff hitter Rachel Landon walked. Ellie Brozon then singled, but Haley Begeal gunned out Landon trying to steal 3rd, and the threat was soon over. D-H then had their first two hitters go down in order, but as is the case for many of the other championship games on this day, a key error came back to haunt the defense. Amanda Ray reached on a misplayed pop-up, and following a single by Addison Makowski, two more errors made the score 2-0. That’s all D-H would need, as Kaitlyn Macumber locked in and pitched a two-hitter on 15 strikeouts. The top four in the order (Macumber, Pagan Macumber, Ray, and Makowski) combined to go 12-for-19 with 14 runs, 8 RBIs, 2 doubles, and 2 triples. After four innings, the score was 14-0. Dating back to 2014, the Deposit program has won nine straight sectional titles (eight in Class D, one in Class C in 2021). The last two years, they won by a combined score of 36-4. Simply put, until they are proven otherwise, they are the best Class D team in the state. They have bigger goals in mind, and will start their state championship defense with a Subregional game on Saturday vs. Eldred at Monroe-Woodbury.
Championship Saturday is here! The location has changed, with Holding Point Complex in Horseheads doing the honors this year, as the former BAGSAI complex in Binghamton is getting a facelift.
The competition, however, remains the same. Here’s a look at all five championship games:
Class AA Championship: #1 Corning vs. #2 Elmira, 11:00 am. (Previewed on blog from 5/16.)
Sectional Championship Game History:
Corning (3-4) – 3 championships in 2012, 2019, 2021
Times Met in Championship: 1
Corning – 1 win (2019)
Class A Championship: #1 Vestal vs. #2 Maine-Endwell, 11:00 am. Here we go with Round #4 in this heavyweight matchup. The term “These teams are no strangers to each other” certainly applies here. In the first game on April 24, Vestal took the win 6-5 on a walk-off single by Edna Kiefer. The next games went the way of the Spartans. On May 5, Vestal jumped up 1-0 in the 1st, but M-E took the lead in the 3rd, and Lauren Dundon put it away in the 5th with a two-run shot. The most recent game was a STAC Metro Tiebreaker tilt at M-E, and the Spartans took control from the start and won 4-0. Olivia Lewis did not pitch, but did collect two hits. Dundon got the ball instead and went the distance with a five-hit shutout. Now, it’s for all the marbles. It would be hard to forget the game these two teams played last year in which Vestal jumped up to an incredible 9-0 lead, only to hold off a furious M-E rally to win 9-7. Vestal rode that momentum all the way to the State Championship game. What M-E has going for them is the revenge factor, as many of those players on last year’s team are back, including the ace on the mound, Lewis. They also have the most recent wins in this series. Vestal, on the other hand, can remember that not many picked them to win last year, and they more than came through when the heat was on. It will be interesting to see who Vestal coach Vickie Sax will tab to start in the circle. Kymora Wang got the call in the first game and the Tiebreaker game. Reilly Storer was the starter in their 5-1 loss. But, both pitchers appeared in all three games, so it’s definitely a tandem effort to keep the fresh arm out there. Vestal will have to create noise with the big bats in their offense led by Cat Petteys, Kelsey and Kendall Brady, Wang, and Kiefer. They’ve shown they can hit Lewis in the past, but in the 5-1 game, it was Lewis who pitched a three-hitter. M-E seems like they have more than moved on from last year’s championship game. However, if the Spartans start off slow again this year, you have to wonder if the memories of 2022 will creep back in.
Sectional Championship Game History:
Maine-Endwell (12-4) – 12 championships in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021
Vestal (9-7) – 9 championships in 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1995, 2003, 2005, 2019, 2022
Times Met in Championship: 4
Maine-Endwell – 3 wins (2013: 5-4, 2015: 5-3, 2017: 4-0)
Vestal – 1 win (2022: 9-7)
Class B Championship: #1 Chenango Valley vs. #2 Windsor, 2:00. The Class B Championship is a throwback to the early 2000s when both teams put on five classic contests. Four of those games were decided by one run, and three went to extra innings. Two of those times, the winning team went on to win a state title (Windsor in 2008, CV in 2010). Now, the teams will meet for a second consecutive year in sectionals. Last year in the Semi-final, CV came alive in the 6th inning to score three runs and went on to win 3-2. They played once this year a little over a month ago on April 21, and CV’s Madeline Trisket threw a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 4-0 win. The top of the order of Kate Hope and Colsten Beers each had two hits, and Icey Jones cleared the bases with a three-run triple. All four runs were scored in the 6th. Alexis Durdon got the call for Windsor and was very good until that fateful 6th inning. Now, both teams are coming off of two solid wins the opening rounds of sectionals. CV beat Waverly (Trisket tossed another no-hitter) and Chenango Forks, while Windsor downed Lansing and Susquehanna Valley. CV has the experience of playing in many big games last year, as they advanced all the way to the State Championship game. If Trisket is at the top of her game, they are very tough to beat. Windsor’s Danica Ball did it all in the Semi-final win over SV, going 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, triple, and three-run inside-the-park homer. She also pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out eight. We’ll see if it’s her or Durdon getting the call in this game, but don’t be surprised if they both appear at some point. With two great teams here, I’d expect another tight contest just as they’ve done in the past.
Sectional Championship Game History:
Chenango Valley (8-12) – 8 championships in 1982, 1987, 1992, 1995, 2001, 2009, 2010, 2022
Windsor (10-7) – 10 championships in 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Times Met in Championship: 5
Chenango Valley – 2 wins (2009: 6-0, 2010: 1-0 in 8 inn.)
Windsor – 3 wins (2000: 1-0 in 9 inn., 2005: 3-2, 2008: 2-1 in 9 inn.)
Class C Championship: #1 Edison vs. #2 Elmira Notre Dame, 2:00. The most decorated IAC teams in history will clash for the Class C title. Elmira Notre Dame has 14 Section IV titles, tied with Susquehanna Valley for second most all-time (Afton leads with 22). Edison has six, including recent ones in 2018 and 2019. Now both teams get to play for the third time this season, with Elmira ND taking the first two by scores of 9-1 and 5-3. In the first game on April 12, Lawson Bigelow hit a two-run double in the 1st, and the Crusaders never looked back. Meg Agan had three hits, and Ava Mustico, Olivia Switzer, and Bigelow all had two. Switzer gave up four hits and struck out 12. The second game on April 25 was more competitive, as Edison took a 3-1 lead into the 6th. In the 2nd, Emma Maggs homered, and RBI singles were collected by Madasyn Huffner and Carissa Cowan. But, a big four-run rally with two outs in the 6th helped Elmira ND take the lead for good. Switzer drove one in with a single, Shannon Maloney hit a two-run triple, and Izzy Griffin sent her home with a single. Now for the third time in their history, they meet for a sectional title. Edison is coming off quite the high in eliminating MAC champion Greene 1-0. Emily Aiello delivered the game’s only run with a one-out double to score Mariana Jones-Frosolone in the 2nd. Gabby Milazzo was sensational in pitching a shutout on only five hits. Edison will need every bit of that against a Crusaders’ offense that has been on quite the tear. In their two sectional games, they put up 12 against Bainbridge-Guilford and 13 against Union Springs. Can Milazzo and the Edison gloves rise up to the challenge? They do get the advantage of being the home team as the high seed. The first inning could make all the difference. If Milazzo can put up a zero to start, that will give the Spartans all sorts of confidence. But, if the big bats get going for Elmira ND before Edison even steps to the plate, that will be a huge momentum swing.
Sectional Championship Game History:
Edison (6-5) – 6 championships in 1991, 1994, 2006, 2014, 2018, 2019
Elmira Notre Dame (14-8) – 14 championships in 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017
Times Met in Championship: 3
Edison – 2 wins (2014: 15-7, 2018: 1-0)
Elmira Notre Dame – 1 win (2004: 2-1 in 8 inn.)
Class D Championship: #1 Deposit-Hancock vs. #2 Southern Cayuga, 2:00. With four sectional title game rematches from years past, here’s a first-time affair featuring a school that has never appeared in this game. Southern Cayuga finally broke through after losing in the Semi-final six times. They got here thanks to a forfeit victory over Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs, and a dominating 23-3 win over Roxbury. They own wins this year over other IAC teams that made sectionals in Lansing, Groton (twice) and Marathon (twice). In the Semi-final win over Roxbury, they jumped up 6-0 thanks in large part to a two-run double from Ava Harvatine and two-run single by Kaya Shelton. That onslaught was on after that. Harvatine finished with 11 strikeouts. That win was fun, but now they are about to get a big dose of reality in facing Deposit-Hancock. D-H has been a combined program for three years and are a perfect 9-0 in sectionals. They won a state title last season, and a Class C sectional title in 2021 when there was no state tournament. Needless to say, they are the flag bearer and measuring stick for the entire state in Class D. Kaitlyn Macumber was unhittable in the 19-0 Quarterfinal win over Marathon, striking out 16. Batting in the leadoff spot, she is a combined 6-for-10 with 5 runs, 6 RBIs, 2 home runs, and a triple over two sectional games. Simply put, she does a whole lot for the Eagles to win. It doesn’t stop there, as the rest of the D-H lineup is loaded with talent. It will be a great challenge for Harvatine to keep these bats quiet, as historically, D-H has feasted on teams like this that don’t have the experience in big games like they do. Southern Cayuga only stands a chance if they can keep the game close into the late innings, as the pressure would fall squarely on the defending state champs.
Sectional Championship Game History:
Deposit-Hancock (2-0) – 2 championships in 2021, 2022
Southern Cayuga (first appearance)
Times Met in Championship: none
Sectional season is underway, with some early 1st Round games in the books. We’ve already seen two upsets in Class D. #10 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs won their first sectional game since CV-S in 2001, beating #7 Windham-Ashland-Jewett 12-10. #11 Roxbury left no doubt in pounding #6 Gilboa 29-8.
Let’s take a look at the Quarterfinal matchups in Class B, C, and D. (The Class AA Championship and Class A Semi-finals were previewed already in my last blog entry). As of now, all Quarterfinal games are scheduled to take place on Tuesday EXCEPT for Owego at Susquehanna Valley, which will be Monday.
Class B Quarterfinal: #9 Waverly at #1 Chenango Valley. Waverly had quite the exciting start to their postseason, as Hannah Carpenter’s two-out, walk-off single beat Oneonta, 3-2. By the way, she’s only in 8th grade. Talk about clutch! Now the Wolverines take their act to CV, where the Warriors have only lost twice all season (both to Maine-Endwell). CV is the reigning Class B champs and went all the way to the State Championship game last season. They will hand the ball to their ace, Madeline Trisket, who does a little of everything for her team. CV will have to resist looking too far ahead to possible matchups with Chenango Forks, Susquehanna Valley, or Windsor down the line. What makes this game even more interesting is that Waverly will be joining CV in the STAC Central next season. Get ready for a whole lot more of this matchup.
Class B Quarterfinal: #5 Dryden at #4 Chenango Forks. (See previous blog for preview.)
Class B Quarterfinal: #6 Owego at #3 Susquehanna Valley. It’s a rematch of one of the bigger upsets in last year’s sectionals. After Owego beat Waverly in the Quarterfinal, they hit the road to play top-seeded SV and won 2-1. In that game, Owego’s Lauren Gilbert did it all, pitching a complete game and hitting a two-run homer. The big difference this year is that Gilbert is at Keuka, and SV is looking for revenge. SV won the lone regular season matchup a month ago 4-1. The Sabers’ defense was on full display that day, aiding Avery Zembek in the circle, who only allowed four hits. The Indians have been playing well lately, winning six straight with victories over the likes of Johnson City and Tioga. SV went to Mudville a couple weeks ago and dropped three of four to some very good competition, but will use that to get ready for games like this.
Class B Quarterfinal: #7 Lansing at #2 Windsor. Lansing was just edged out by Dryden in the IAC Large North, but still has enjoyed a great season. They are coming off a 5-2 victory over Unadilla Valley (who were moved up to Class B this year due to adding two players from Sherburne-Earlville). The Bobcats were actually down 2-0 entering the 4th, but tied it on some hits, errors, and aggressive baserunning. They took advantage of some shaky defense by UV again in the 6th to score three more and put the game away for good. Now they make the long trip to Windsor, who are the STAC East champs. Windsor hasn’t played a whole lot of games, but do own solid wins over Susquehanna Valley (twice) and Greene. They have a few people they can give the ball to in Alexis Durdon, Danica Ball, and Kyla Good. This is historically a tough game for the road team, but in a one-and-done sectional game, anything is possible.
Class C Quarterfinal: #8 Spencer-Van Etten/Candor at #1 Edison. Two IAC teams will get to tangle for a third time this season, with Edison sweeping the first two. Game one was all Edison, 12-0 in five innings. Mariana Jones-Frosolone went the distance with nine strikeouts. The next game was more competitive for about half of it. Edison got down 2-0 in the 1st, took a 5-2 lead after 4, then put it away for good with nine runs over the 5th and 6th. Gabby Milazzo got the start this time and struck out five over four innings. At the plate, Emily Aiello homered, and Kailey Ripley, Emma Maggs, and Jones-Frosolone each had two hits. SVEC’s Roni Presher gave up 15 hits, but got practically no help with a defense that collected 11 errors. Obviously, SVEC will need to play a much, much cleaner, if not perfect, game defensively if they want to hang around in this one. They did just that in their 1st Round win over Delhi/Downsville, supporting Presher, who escaped a no-out, bases loaded jam in the 2nd to give her team momentum. They’ll need to keep riding that high in a tough Quarterfinal matchup.
Class C Quarterfinal: #5 Tioga at #4 Greene. Both teams did not have 1st Round matchups, earning byes. Tioga probably has the mixed emotions of feeling good in obtaining a five-seed, but then getting “rewarded” by traveling to Greene, who just downed Deposit-Hancock for another MAC championship. It’s been a tale of two seasons for Tioga. They started off winning nine straight (which included a forfeit win over Athens after originally losing the game). Unfortunately for them, it’s been all downhill since, as they’ve dropped their last seven. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen streaks like this. The reason appears to be pretty simple: the competition in the second half of the schedule has been much more difficult. Some of those losses were against the likes of Edison, Owego, and Union-Endicott. They also dropped the IAC Small School Championship to Union Springs, 2-0. But, they’ll have to put all of that aside if they want to pull the upset over Greene. The Trojans can beat you in multiple ways. They have an ace in Payton Yahner. They also have big bats like McKenzie Scott, Rhea Malmquist, Nadia Brown, and the Yahner sisters, Payton and Abby. They’re coming off a great win over Elmira and are as prepared as they can be to defend their Class C title.
Class C Quarterfinal: #6 Sidney at #3 Union Springs. (See previous blog for preview.)
Class C Quarterfinal: #7 Bainbridge-Guilford at #2 Elmira Notre Dame. The fact that B-G is even in this game is pretty remarkable. In the 1st Round, they spotted Groton a 10-2 lead in the 3rd before fighting all the way back. They won it on a combination of aggressive baserunning and errors to plate two in the 7th and win 13-12. Give the Bobcats credit for never giving up. Now, they’ll face the ultimate test in traveling to Elmira ND, who are fresh off a dominating 9-0 victory over Dryden in the IAC Large School Championship. Since dropping two games to Deposit-Hancock and Chenango Valley in the Mary Testa Tournament, they’ve been on a mission since, clobbering their next four opponents. It all starts with Olivia Switzer in the circle. She struck out 15 in the IAC title game, adding a triple and RBI at the plate. Their offense is stacked, as a number of players can beat you. Perhaps most impressive is Lawson Bigelow, who has 12 homers on the season. B-G faces a very tall task, but will have to play loose and with a nothing-to-lose mindset as the underdog.
Class D Quarterfinal: #8 Marathon at #1 Deposit-Hancock. It’s sectional time, so it’s no surprise to see these two teams go at it again. They met last year in the Semi-final, with D-H winning 19-1. They also met in back-to-back Class D Championships in 2018 and 2019, with then-Deposit winning 22-0 and 6-0, respectively. Now they meet again after Marathon defeated Richfield Springs in the 1st Round, 5-3. That was made possible by a four-run 5th after being down 2-1. A bunt, some errors, and hits put the Indians away for good. D-H officially begins their state championship defense. The have been their usually dominant selves, only losing to Chenango Valley and to Greene in the MAC Championship. They’ve won with many blowouts, but have also shown the ability to win the tight ones with one-run victories over Elmira Notre Dame and St. Lawrence. As I stated in my previous blog, their biggest opponent in this section is usually themselves, as they have to fight the urge to look too far ahead. As the saying goes, if they take it one game at a time, they are really tough to beat.
Class D Quarterfinal: #5 Morris/Edmeston at #4 Charlotte Valley. Two teams that played in their respective league championships (Charlotte Valley won the Delaware League, M/E lost in the Tri-Valley) meet in the Quarterfinal. M/E absolutely shelled Hunter-Tannersville in the 1st Round, 33-11. The offense had 25 hits, led by Kenna Buriello’s five and Jessica Walling’s four. The lead was 21-0 after the 3rd inning. That was a fun win, but now they’ll have to put it aside if they want to beat a team like Charlotte Valley. The Wildcats beat Roxbury convincingly two straight games, include a 12-3 Delaware Championship win. They also downed Laurens/Milford to win the Doug Calhoun Tournament. Brinlee Wright had 10 strikeouts that day. She also has a no-hitter over CV-S/SS in a 1-0 loss. We’ll see what Wright can do against an M/E offense that is coming off such a high scoring game.
Class D Quarterfinal: #11 Roxbury at #3 Laurens/Milford. The Tri-Valley champions welcome Roxbury, the lowest seed to advance out of the 1st Round. The Rockets did it in very impressive fashion, rolling right through Gilboa 29-8. It was a tough matchup for Gilboa, as they lost their other game to Roxbury in the regular season, 28-12. Now the Rockets will get another crack at L/M, as they recently met in the Weir/Chase Tournament. In that one, L/M won comfortably 13-5 after racing out to an 11-1 lead. Gabriela Andrades had two hits in the leadoff spot, and Bella Garlick had three hits and three runs driven in. Brooke Mann and Kara Mertz combined in the circle to allow only three earned runs. Roxbury is coming off an historic 2022 in which they went all the way to the Class D Championship before running into D-H. While they lost some big time seniors, such as pitcher Bryanna Meehan, they have an offense that has put up loads of runs in plenty of games. They’ll need more of that if they want to keep riding the underdog wave and advance.
Class D Quarterfinal: #10 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs at #2 Southern Cayuga. After winning their first sectional game in 22 years, CV-S/SS gets to visit Southern Cayuga from the IAC. In the 1st Round, CV-S/SS built up an 11-2 lead, then had to hold off Windham-Ashland-Jewett, who had the tying run at the plate before a lineout ended it. Southern Cayuga has put together a very good season, including a pair of wins over Marathon and one each over Lansing and Groton. In a 2-0 victory over Marathon, Ava Harvatine gave up six hits and struck out 12. They are coming off a loss to Dryden 5-1, though four of those runs were scored in the final inning. On offense, they are carried by Ellie Brozon, Rachel Landon, Reilly Dingy, and Alycia Orona, among others. They might not get a ton of headlines, but they have more than earned their high seed. CV-S/SS has won five straight and will need to find ways to get runners on base and keep pressure on the Chiefs in order to pull another upset.
Sectional season is here! Brackets were released today, and there’s a lot to dive into.
Let’s take a look at all five classes:
* Top 2 seeds: Corning, Elmira
* Number of teams qualified: 2
* Championship matchup: #1 Corning vs. #2 Elmira
* Dates of games: Championship – 5/27
* Most intriguing game: #1 Corning vs. #2 Elmira. This one’s an easy one, because it’s the only one. In recent years, Horseheads has been a big factor in Class AA. But, they’re in Class A now, and with Ithaca not even fielding a varsity team this year and Binghamton struggling to compete, this is the matchup we figured we’d see. Corning owns a 2-0 record against Elmira, but they’ve both been close. The first game was the craziest. Corning was clinging to a 13-11 lead in the 7th when Elmira’s Payton Ross cranked a 2-out, 2-run homer to tie it. Or so they thought. The first runner did not touch home plate and was called out to end the game. That’s about as tough a way to lose as it gets. In the second game, Corning won 6-3 thanks to a five-run 3rd. Both teams have hit a bit of a rough patch to end the season. Corning dropped two straight since the last Elmira win, including a 26-3 pounding to Horseheads. Elmira is on a four-game skid since beating Horseheads 2-0 on May 2. For Elmira to get over the hump, Ross will have to lead the way both in the circle and at the plate. She’s certainly capable of doing so. Corning will need the top of the order of Sophia Polzella, Kendall Curreri, and Peyton Sullivan to make some noise.
* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):
#1 Corning: 7-8 (3)
#2 Elmira: 2-9 (0)
* Top 4 seeds: Vestal, Maine-Endwell, Union-Endicott, Horseheads
* Number of teams qualified: 4
* Semi-final matchups: #4 Horseheads at #1 Vestal; #3 Union-Endicott at #2 Maine-Endwell
* Dates of games: Semi-final – 5/24; Championship – 5/27
* Most intriguing semi-final game: #3 Union-Endicott at #2 Maine-Endwell. While both matchups are very interesting, it’s always fun to see the Tigers and Spartans tangle. In the COVID-shortened 2021 season, M-E won the Class A title by shutting out U-E 12-0. In 2019, U-E ended M-E’s incredible run of three straight state championships with a 1-0, 10-inning upset. This season, they played in the first game of the year way back on April 5, and M-E got the edge 2-1 in 8 innings. Shannon Mentz hit an RBI single for the go-ahead run with two outs, then Olivia Lewis closed the door after that. In the 2nd game, it was all M-E, 12-0. Lewis spun a two-hitter, and Aleciyah Brodley and Mentz homered. Mentz, it should be noted, did not play in the STAC playoffs this past Saturday due to injury, so it remains to be seen if she will be back for sectionals. For U-E to pull the upset, they will need Kendra Lee to be at the top of her game. She was in the first game with only two runs allowed in eight innings. The second game didn’t go as well, as her control wasn’t as good with eight walks. M-E was a state title contender last year, but fell to Vestal in the sectional title game. They should be playing with a chip on their shoulder.
* Other thoughts: Horseheads traveling to Vestal is the other game. They played once in the regular season, and it was all Vestal at 10-1. Reilly Storer allowed two hits and struck out nine. The offense had seven hits and took seven walks, so they had baserunners on constantly. Horseheads has won six of their last eight, but did drop a 5-0 decision to Chenango Valley in the STAC Semi-final. To beat a team with an offense as loaded as Vestal’s, they’ll have to repeat what they did to Corning in last year’s Class AA Championship game by getting timely pitching and clutch hitting. If they can keep it close and make Vestal nervous heading into the late innings, they have a chance.
* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):
#1 Vestal: 35-36 (9)
#2 Maine-Endwell: 32-20 (12)
#3 Union-Endicott: 46-29 (13)
#4 Horseheads: 48-30 (13)
* Top 4 seeds: Chenango Valley, Windsor, Susquehanna Valley, Chenango Forks
* Number of teams qualified: 10
* 1st Round matchups: #9 Oneonta at #9 Waverly; #10 Unadilla Valley at #7 Lansing
* Quarterfinal matchups: #5 Dryden at #4 Chenango Forks; #6 Owego at #3 Susquehanna Valley (#1 Chenango Valley hosts Oneonta/Waverly winner; #2 Windsor hosts Owego/Susquehanna Valley winner)
* Dates of games: 1st Round – 5/18; Quarterfinals – 5/23; Semi-finals – 5/25; Championship – 5/27
* Most intriguing quarterfinal game: #5 Dryden at #4 Chenango Forks. This is the type of game that makes sectionals fun. Dryden won the IAC North Large School division and fell to Elmira Notre Dame in the championship. Chenango Forks finished tied for second with Owego in the STAC Central division. It’s two teams that would rarely meet and probably haven’t seen each other. For Dryden, they are led by Division II bound Kahlen Cornell in the circle and at the plate. She is the reigning IAC North Large School MVP, and has more than backed that up this season. Chloe Russell and Laci Prignon were also all-stars, and they have had big seasons. Forks is coming into this with two straight wins, and four of their last six. Shay Bernardini has enjoyed a great year hitting in the #3 spot of the order. This game could come down to strength of schedule, as Forks gets more battle tested playing in the STAC. Dryden can only play the teams placed in front of them, so they will have to be ready for a step up in competition. They will have to rely on Cornell having a big game in order to move on. Thankfully for them, they did get to play Windsor last year in sectionals, so they do have some experience being in this position.
* Other thoughts: Chenango Valley enters as the top seed, as their only losses this season have been to Maine-Endwell a pair of times. They will rely on their two All-State players in Madeline Trisket and Kate Hope to repeat as champs. A possible Forks vs. Valley matchup in the semi-finals would be fun. In the bottom part of the bracket, Susquehanna Valley will look for revenge against Owego. SV was the only top seed not to make it to the championship game last season, as Owego hit the road and upset them. The Indians will look to do the same this year. Windsor is lurking as the #2 with home field advantage in a possible SV matchup. Two of the best in Class B history could add another chapter in their rivalry.
* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):
#1 Chenango Valley: 52-27 (8)
#2 Windsor: 55-27 (10)
#3 Susquehanna Valley: 57-23 (14)
#4 Chenango Forks: 44-32 (8)
#5 Dryden: 3-21 (0)
#6 Owego: 18-29 (0)
#7 Lansing: 39-29 (3)
#8 Waverly: 15-26 (1)
#9 Oneonta: 8-17 (0)
#10 Unadilla Valley: 1-5 (0)
* Top 4 seeds: Edison, Elmira Notre Dame, Union Springs, Greene
* Number of teams qualified: 10
* 1st Round matchups: #9 Delhi/Downsville at #8 Spencer-Van Etten/Candor; #10 Groton at #7 Bainbridge-Guilford
* Quarterfinal matchups: #5 Tioga at #4 Greene; #6 Sidney at #3 Union Springs (#1 Edison hosts Delhi/Downsville/SVEC winner; #2 Elmira Notre Dame hosts Groton/B-G winner)
* Dates of games: 1st Round – 5/17 and 5/18; Quarterfinals – 5/23; Semi-finals – 5/25; Championship – 5/27
* Most intriguing quarterfinal game: #6 Sidney at #3 Union Springs. Here’s a great pitching matchup between Sidney’s Ava Cirigliano and Union Springs’ Hailee Smith. Cirigliano is coming off a 12-strikeout performance in a win over Unatego. In a recent 3-2 win over Oneonta, she collected two hits. Smith led the Wolves to an IAC Small School Championship over Tioga, 2-0. She collected 12 strikeouts, and wiggled out of a two-on, one-out jam to put the game away in the 7th. She also drove in one of the runs, along with teammate Danielle Waldron. Sidney gets some great competition in their own division with MAC opponents Deposit-Hancock, Greene, Bainbridge-Guilford, and Unadilla Valley, who each made the league playoffs. Union Springs had solid wins over Dryden and Lansing, while falling to Edison. If you’re looking for a possible edge, it’s that Sidney has to hit the road for two hours. If they get off to a slow start, that could be the difference.
* Other thoughts: One of the best #4 seeds that I can recall in recent memory is Greene. Don’t let that seed number fool you. They play like a #1 seed, and are coming off of a big win over Deposit-Hancock in the MAC Championship, 1-0. Payton Yahner is the owner of multiple no-hitters, and will look to guide the Trojans very far like Olivia Kennedy did last year. Edison has had their offense rolling the last four games, averaging 18 runs. Gabby Milazzo just shut down Waverly on a three-hitter. Elmira Notre Dame is on the opposite side of the bracket of Edison and Greene, and could only see one of them in the championship. As usual, they’ve gone out of their way to compete in tournaments with tough competition (Tennessee over Spring Break, Mudville, Mary Testa). They’re as battle tested as any team can be.
* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):
#1 Edison: 47-26 (6)
#2 Elmira Notre Dame: 75-26 (14)
#3 Union Springs: 14-26 (0)
#4 Greene: 26-30 (2)
#5 Tioga: 32-28 (1)
#6 Sidney: 26-29 (2)
#7 Bainbridge-Guilford: 10-26 (0)
#8 Spencer-Van Etten/Candor: (first year as combined program)
#9 Delhi/Downsville: (first year as combined program)
#10 Groton: 22-27 (1)
* Top 4 seeds: Deposit-Hancock, Southern Cayuga, Laurens/Milford, Charlotte Valley
* Number of teams qualified: 12
* 1st Round matchups: #9 Richfield Springs at #8 Marathon; #12 Hunter-Tannersville at #5 Morris/Edmeston; #11 Roxbury at #6 Gilboa; #10 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs at #7 Windham-Ashland-Jewett (Top 4 seeds have byes)
* Dates of games: 1st Round – 5/18; Quarterfinals – 5/23; Semi-finals – 5/25; Championship – 5/27
* Most intriguing 1st round game: #10 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs at #7 Windham-Ashland-Jewett. This might be a battle between the longest team names we’ve ever seen. Representing the Tri-Valley is CV-S/SS. Their offense has been rolling lately, scoring 32, 17, 16, and 18 runs in the last four. Right before that run, they dropped two straight in better competition to Schenevus and Morris/Edmeston, but did score seven and six runs, respectively. They also won a 1-0 decision over Delaware League champs Charlotte Valley in which they were actually no-hit. So, they’ve certainly been competitive this season. W-A-J is from the Delaware, and they too have had many games with a whole bunch of runs scored: 28 vs. Hunter-Tannersville, 21 vs. Roxbury, 35 vs. Stamford/Jefferson, and 22 vs. Gilboa. They’ve only played 11 games, which is pretty low compared to other teams. It’s a great small school battle between two different leagues. CV-S/SS has never won a game in sectionals combined, and CV-S has not won since 2001.
* Other thoughts: Deposit-Hancock is the top Class D team in the state and the clear favorite in this bracket. As they’ve faced in many years past, they will have to find ways to stay motivated and not look too far ahead, because that’s when upsets happen. Southern Cayuga and Laurens/Milford have to be happy about being on the other side of the bracket, as they will only play D-H if they make it all the way to the end. Southern Cayuga went on a 7-1 stretch in the middle of the season, but have dropped two of their last three. Laurens/Milford is on a high after winning a dramatic Tri-Valley Championship game over Morris/Edmeston, 8-7. Charlotte Valley recently won the Delaware League and Doug Calhoun Tournament. They are led by Brinlee Wright, who can be a strikeout machine. They have won seven straight to end the regular season. Finally, it’s good to see the final seed in the bracket, Hunter-Tannersville, back in sectionals. They’re on an eight-game sectional losing streak and have not won since 2000. But hey, maybe this is the year they break the streak with a win over Morris/Edmeston.
* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):
#1 Deposit-Hancock: 6-0 (2)
#2 Southern Cayuga: 10-22 (0)
#3 Laurens/Milford: (first year as combined program)
#4 Charlotte Valley: 10-19 (0)
#5 Morris/Edmeston: 1-1 (0)
#6 Gilboa: 8-22 (0)
#7 Windham-Ashland-Jewett: 8-16 (0)
#8 Marathon: 19-18 (0)
#9 Richfield Springs: 6-9 (0)
#10 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs: 0-0 (0)
#11 Roxbury: 36-36 (1)
#12 Hunter-Tannersville: 3-16 (0)
League championship season across Section IV has come and gone. Thanks to a rare week of beautiful weather, all five leagues crowned 2023 champions (IAC crowns two with Large and Small school titles).
Let’s take a look back at all of the action from a busy week of playoffs.
* STAC Championship: Maine-Endwell 11 – Chenango Valley 0. The league with the biggest schools in Section IV crowned a new champion on Saturday, with Chenango Valley’s turf playing host. Both Maine-Endwell and CV won semi-final games early in the day thanks to dominant pitching. In the first semi, M-E’s Olivia Lewis held Windsor to one run with 16 strikeouts. In the next semi, CV’s Madeline Trisket was just as sensational, shutting out Horseheads on 15 strikeouts. The championship game had all the makings of a classic pitcher’s duel. But, things didn’t exactly turn out that way, and as the saying goes, that’s why the play the game. M-E’s Kaety L’Amoreaux led off the game with a long solo homer, and the Spartans never looked back. After building up a 2-0 lead, they put the game away for good with a 5-run 3rd thanks to some clutch hitting and shaky CV defense. When it was all said and done, Lewis pitched a shutout with nine strikeouts, and the offense cranked out 17 hits. Of the eight runs Trisket surrendered through four innings of work, only four were earned. The Spartans left no doubt in capturing their third STAC Championship (2017, 2019). This capped quite a couple of days for the Spartans, who won a tiebreaker over rival Vestal 4-0 on Friday to get to the playoffs. CV suffered their second loss of the season, both to M-E this week. Each team will be among the favorites in sectionals, with M-E in Class A, and CV in Class B.
* IAC Large School Championship: Elmira Notre Dame 9 – Dryden 0. Once again, Elmira ND owned the IAC Large School. Make it three straight for the Crusaders, which included an Overall IAC title in 2021 after the IAC played the Large and Small School championships. This makes it 16 IAC titles, most in league history. In this game, the Crusaders faced Dryden, who appeared in their first IAC title game in 35 years (1988 victory over Odessa-Montour, 8-2). Much like the STAC champs, Elmira ND relied on power pitching (Olivia Switzer’s two-hitter with 15 K’s) and a power offense (double by Shannon Maloney, triple by Switzer, and home run by Ava Mustico). Dryden was done in by a six-run 2nd in which nine hitters came to the plate. It was accomplished with some small ball on bunts, a hit-by-pitch, and timely hitting. After dropping two games to Deposit-Hancock and Chenango Valley in the Mary Testa Tournament, Elmira ND has responded emphatically with four straight wins by a combined score of 59-2. Give Dryden credit for the season they’ve had, as they held off Lansing to reach this game. They’ve played great softball all season long, and are lead by Division II recruit Kahlen Cornell both on the mound and at the plate.
* IAC Small School Championship: Union Springs 2 – Tioga 0. For the third straight year, Union Springs and Tioga tangled for the Small School title. After splitting the first two (Tioga 17-0 in 2021, Union Springs 6-0 in 2022), it was Union Springs winning the rubber match this year. The star of the show was Hailee Smith, who held Tioga scoreless on three hits, and gathered 12 strikeouts. None of those hits were by the top four of the Tigers’ order, who combined to go 0-for-11 with five strikeouts and one walk. The Wolves got their runs on RBIs by Danielle Waldron and by Smith. These teams are certainly not strangers to each other, as it seems like they’ve either meeting for the IAC title and/or in sectionals. Last year, Tioga shook off the IAC title loss and bounced Union Springs in sectionals 6-2, thanks to scoring all six runs in the first inning. We’ll see if they meet up again this year. If they do, expect another tight one.
* MAC Championship: Greene 1 – Deposit-Hancock 0. It was a rematch from last year’s title game, won by Greene 2-1. This year, it was more of the same: two highly ranked teams in the state (Greene in Class C, D-H in Class D), two MAC rivals, and another one-run game in favor of the Trojans. The lone run was scored in the 2nd. Abby Yahner led off with a double. Rhea Malmquist sacrificed her to 3rd, but D-H’s Kaitlyn Macumber struck out the next hitter to make it two down. Claire Flanagan then slapped one to 3rd that was just under the glove of Sarah Gross to score Yahner. With older sister Peyton Yahner in the circle, that’s all they’d need. She would scatter six hits and gather nine strikeouts on the day. Last year, both teams used this game to propel them all the way to state championship games, with D-H winning it all, and Greene just falling in extra innings. While nothing is a guarantee, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see these two teams back on Long Island seeking state titles once again.
* Delaware Championship: Charlotte Valley 12 – Roxbury 3. After winning back-to-back league championships in 2016 and 2017, Charlotte Valley had not been back since. That all changed this year. Roxbury scored the first run by loading the bases in the 1st, then scoring when Savannah Pettersen was beaned. Brinlee Wright then struck out the next batter to end the threat, and the Wildcats took off from there. Wright singled home Laila Wheeler, who singled with one out, to tie the game. The next two innings put the game away for good, as Charlotte Valley plated six runs. A combination of shaky defense and pitching made it 4-1 after two, then Jessica Zuill and Lila Waid drove in more runs with singles, and it was 7-1 just like that. Hitting in the #9 spot in the order, Waid was terrific in gathering two hits and driving in four. Wright worked around six walks to keep Roxbury in check. She was helped by eight strikeouts. Roxbury won a big game over Gilboa on Thursday 28-12, which earned them the #2 seed and a spot in this game. They were looking for a second straight championship after shutting out Gilboa 14-0 in last year’s game.
* Tri-Valley Championship: Laurens/Milford 8 – Morris/Edmeston 7. The most exciting game, arguably, was this one, as it wasn’t decided until the final batter of the game. L/M jumped up 3-0 early in the game thanks to some errors by M/E. (In fact, as good as this game was, it wasn’t exactly the cleanest, as the combined errors reached into the double digits.) More errors lead to M/E taking a 5-3 lead going into the 6th, where L/M added two more to tie it at five heading into the 7th. Hannah Wist of M/E hit an RBI triple to score Kenna Buriello and take a 6-5 lead. An RBI groundout from Chelsey Clegg soon scored Wist, and they took a 7-5 going into the bottom half. Things were certainly looking bleak for L/M, as the first two hitters were retired. Then the next four hitters did this: single by Kara Mertz and steal of 2nd, RBI single by Lexi Sutphen to get within one and advancing to 2nd on the throw, walk by Taylor Beckley as Sutphen stole 3rd, and a two-run walk-off single by Kyrah Andrades to end it at 8-7. Whew! Give the Cats credit for not quitting, as they easily could have hung their heads against a great pitcher in Wist with two out and nobody on. But, they got runners on, created some noise in the running game, and got two huge hits. As noted by the great Nate Lull, it’s the first league title in combined program history, and the first in history for Laurens. (An interesting note is that Milford beat Laurens 18-7 in 2019.)
* As much fun as league championships are, now it’s time to get ready for sectionals. Games through today (Sunday) count, but everything is locked in starting on Monday. According to the Section IV Softball Handbook, the seeding meeting will be on Monday at 7:00. Hopefully, the official brackets will be released on Tuesday, where I can give a full preview of what’s to come, including the teams to beat and the best games to look forward to in each bracket. Games are scheduled to start on Thursday.
* Check back in a few days for my full sectional preview!
Happy May, and welcome back to the blog! This week, I’ll take a look at the top contenders in each of the five leagues throughout Section IV. Believe it or not, we’re already approaching postseason time, as some playoff matchups are already locked in:
* STAC. The league with the biggest schools in Section IV split into the West, Metro, Central, and East. So far, only Chenango Valley has clinched the Central. They have run the table so far at 13-0, and are preparing themselves for a couple of big games this week vs. Maine-Endwell and Susquehanna Valley. In the West, all three teams are alive in Corning, Horseheads, and Elmira. Horseheads will play both teams this week, while Corning and M-E hook up, and Elmira and Vestal as well. The Metro might require a tiebreaker, as M-E and Vestal are even. In the East, Windsor looks to have a clear path to the division, as they swept SV and only have to defeat Norwich or Oneonta to clinch their spot.
Add it all up, and there will be some serious talent on display this Saturday at Chenango Valley, as the semis and final will be played there the same day.
* IAC. The Small School championship is all set on Thursday. Union Springs (North) will face Tioga (South). This will be a rematch of last year’s championship, won by Union Springs 6-0. In that one, Springs erased years and years of frustration behind Hailee Smith, who spun a three-hitter against a squad that has 10 Small School titles in their storied program history. She also crushed a three-run homer. She’ll be back for this one, and has enjoyed another terrific year. Tioga raced out to a 9-0 record before being upset by Waverly on Friday. Still, they have blown out much of their competition, and have scored 20+ runs in five games. It’s always interesting to see a dominant pitcher matchup with a high-scoring offense, and you’ll get that in this game. Tioga has a few options in the circle in Erin Luther, RaeAnne Feeko, and M.J. Thetga. Feeko and Thetga combined on a no-hitter earlier this year.
In the Large School championship (also on Thursday), Elmira Notre Dame from the South awaits the winner of the North. Right now, it’s looking like either Dryden or Lansing. Both teams split against each other, so a possible tiebreaker could be in the cards. Elmira ND’s only losses this season have been in tournaments to teams like Deposit-Hancock and Chenango Valley. They have the pitcher in Olivia Switzer, and the power in bats like Lauren Bigelow, Shannon Maloney, Ava Mustico, and Izzy Giffin. They will once again be heavy favorites to take home their 16th league crown.
* MAC. Two of the best in the state are here, as Greene (Class C) and Deposit-Hancock (Class D) could very well find themselves back in state championship games. Last season, Greene won the MAC over D-H 2-1 behind an Olivia Kennedy one-hitter. It was just what each team needed – a close, competitive game that propelled them each into sectionals and many more wins to come. Both teams still have dominant pitching in Payton Yahner for Greene, and Kaitlyn Macumber and Addison Makowski for D-H. They will be a really tough out in the semi-finals. The other top contenders look to be Bainbridge-Guilford and Sidney. Neither has defeated the top two this year, but Sidney came close in a 4-3 loss to Greene on April 19. McKenzie Scott broke the 3-3 tie with a solo homer in the 7th. The semis are scheduled for Tuesday and the championship on Thursday.
* Delaware. A unique situation has developed surrounding three teams: Charlotte Valley (6-0), Roxbury (5-0), and Gilboa (5-1). All three still have to play each other. CV clinches a spot with a win over Roxbury on Monday. Wins by Roxbury over CV and Gilboa means they clinch. If Roxbury beats CV and Gilboa beats Roxbury, there will be a three-way tie and the league would have to draw straws to determine the two teams in the championship on Thursday. This happened back in 2018, and Roxbury ended up beating Gilboa 14-4 in the title game. Three really good teams with plenty of big games to come, which is the way it should be this time of year. We’ll see how it all shakes out these next few days.
* Tri-Valley. According to Aktivate (Schedule Galaxy), it appears there will be two semi-final matchups on Tuesday: Schevevus at Laurens/Milford and Morris/Edmeston at Richfield Springs. In the regular season, L/M defeated Schenevus 16-11 on April 24. Taylor Beckley, Kyrah Andrades, and Kara Mertz led the way on offense, and Brooke Mann struck out nine. In the other game, Richfield Springs edged M/E 2-1 on April 21. Emma White hit a walk-off single. Kalen Barnhart struck out six, and All-State selection Hannah Wist of M/E struck out 12. Needless to say, these appear to be two exciting matchups if the regular season is any indication. The championship is scheduled for Thursday.
* It looks like the Weather Gods might agree with us this week, as last week’s schedule was all over the place with the rain. Here’s some big games coming the next few days:
- Monday: Maine-Endwell at Corning, Elmira at Horseheads, Dryden at Southern Cayuga, Sidney at Oneonta
- Tuesday: MAC Semi-finals, Tri-Valley Semi-finals, Horseheads at Corning, Windsor at Union-Endicott, Waverly at Lansing
- Wednesday: Elmira at Vestal, Maine-Endwell at Chenango Valley
- Thursday: IAC Large and Small School Championships, MAC Championship, Delaware Championship, Tri-Valley Championship, Chenango Valley at Susquehanna Valley
- Friday: (no big games scheduled)
- Saturday: STAC Semi-finals and Championship
* Lots of big games this week. Get out there, enjoy the weather, and watch some softball!
Another week of Section IV softball is in the books. While the weather took a turn for the worse, there was still plenty of action to look back on.
* I want to start off with a note about no-hitters. When I post game results nightly on Twitter, I generally don’t share too many individual stats for a few reasons. One, not every team is on an app like Gamechanger which keeps stats as you go. Two, I’d rather keep the focus on the team results. Three, not to take away anything from teams putting up big stats, but some games are so lopsided, it would take all night just to share all of the big hitting numbers. (Keep in mind that Section IV covers much ground with 59 programs competing at varsity this year.)
With that said, no-hitters (and occasional perfect games) are a rare feat that in my mind, deserves an extra mention. What’s happened this season, though, is a lot of this: “Team A – We threw a no-hitter!” “Team B – no you didn’t!” And on and on it goes. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but my only plea is that whenever a game ends and one team thinks they didn’t give up a hit, please confirm that with the other book. It’s all about the kids, remember. Throwing a no-no might never happen for them again, so everyone should be on the same page with it. Ultimately, it's up to the home book, so when in doubt, that’s what I go with when it’s reported.
* The annual Mary Testa Tournament took place on Saturday, and, like usual, weather played a big factor. Thankfully, four of the seven tournaments did take place. The games at Windsor, Susquehanna Valley, and Union-Endicott did not. Hopefully, some games like Corning vs. SV and Windsor vs. Greene can be rescheduled. Let’s take a look at the results:
* Chenango Valley – There were three heavyweights representing three different classes. CV (Class B), Elmira Notre Dame (Class C), and Deposit-Hancock (Class D) played a round robin. CV came out on top, downing D-H 12-2 to start the day and Elmira ND 9-6 to end the day. They got big contributions from Madeline Trisket, who gave up one earned run in the first game, and came on in relief to shut out Elmira ND over 5 1/3 innings. CV’s bats were on fire all day, as Makenzi Reinhard hit three doubles, Kate Hope and Trisket tripled, and Kaylee Watson added a two-run shot. The closest game was the middle one, where D-H got two runs in the top of the 7th to down Elmira ND 2-1. An error started things off, followed by an RBI triple from Sarah Gross and RBI single by Addison Makowski. Great to see teams from different classes get to clash like this.
* Maine-Endwell – The Spartans welcomed two out-of-section teams in Webster Schroder and Abington Heights, PA. After suffering their first loss of the season to Vestal last Monday (more on that in a bit), M-E has gone 4-0 since then, dismantling Union-Endicott, Binghamton, and the two Testa teams by a combined score of 56-7. In these two games, they defeated Abington Heights 13-5 behind five hitters recording multiple hits, including a three-run homer from Olivia Lewis. In the second game, M-E took down defending Class A state champion Webster Schroder (the team that beat Vestal in the title game) 9-2. Lewis went the distance, striking out 13, and added two more homers just for fun! The top of the order of Kaety L’Amoreaux, Lauren Dundon, and Lewis combined to go 7-for-10 with 7 runs and 6 RBIs.
* Waverly – Elmira took the team title thanks to a pair of wins: 7-3 over Waverly and 7-4 over Pittsford Sutherland. In the final game, Waverly fell 12-0 to Sutherland. Each game was shortened to five innings because of the rainy weather. In the first game, Elmira put up a five-spot in the 2nd with some small ball: RBI single, RBI single, error, RBI groundout, and sac fly. Madison Smith got the win in the circle. In the 7-4 win over Sutherland, Payton Ross had three hits and took the win with five strikeouts. Addisyn Chorney and Ava Sherman each had two hits. Unfortunately for Waverly, they fell behind 4-0 to Sutherland right away and never could recover. Alivia Daddona had the Wolverines’ lone hit.
* Vestal – Johnson City played host and took their act to Vestal, where the turf infield helped get the games in. Canandaigua came away with two wins, beating Chenango Forks 5-4 in 8 innings and Johnson City 5-3. In a battle of STAC teams, Forks overcame an early 3-0 hole to win 7-3. Shay Bernardini launched a three-run homer to tie the game in the 3rd, then after a walk to Sarah Nickerson, Jessica Stone hit an RBI triple, followed by an RBI single from Angela Forster to take the lead for good. In the 5-4 loss to Canandaigua, Forks put up two in the 7th to tie the game, but a sacrifice bunt proved to the winning run in the 8th. JC got two home runs from Annabel Burke and Gianna Harrington in the Canandaigua game, but couldn’t get much else going.
* As for other big games this week, I already mentioned that Vestal downed M-E 6-5 in a game that lived up to the hype. Before the game started, the current state rankings were released, and right on time, Vestal was #1 and M-E #2. The Spartans jumped up 1-0 right away on a L’Amoreaux leadoff homer. Their lead was stretched to 3-0 before the Golden Bears tied it in the 3rd. An error helped the first run score, and Kelsey Brady hit a two-run double right after. Fast forward to the 7th, and Kendall Brady singled leading off, made her way to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a walk-off single from Edna Kiefer. The rematch is Friday, May 5. Look for more fireworks between two of the state’s finest.
* One more game that stood out this week was the lowest scoring one of the season, Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs’ 1-0 win over Charlotte Valley. Considering how many runs teams have been putting up this year, it was a surprise! What else made this game stand out? It featured a rare no-hitter by the losing team. Charlotte Valley’s Brinlee Wright went the distance, struck out nine, and walked three. The game’s only run was scored in the 4th. After a leadoff walk by CV-S/SS’ Kyra Druse, she stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a groundout, and scored on an RBI groundout from Lexi Dygert. Kudos to both teams for playing such a close, hard-fought game.
* It’s time to take a look ahead at the big games of the week. As usual, constantly check schedules due to rainouts and rescheduling. But, here’s where we stand right now:
- Monday: Corning at Elmira, Dryden at Edison, Windham-Ashland-Jewett at Charlotte Valley, Schenevus at Morris/Edmeston
- Tuesday: Horseheads at Elmira, Chenango Valley at Greene, Sidney at Bainbridge-Guilford
- Wednesday: Maine-Endwell at Corning, Greene at Elmira, Windsor at Susquehanna Valley, Dryden at Union Springs, Elmira Notre Dame at Tioga, Laurens/Milford at Morris/Edmeston
- Thursday: Horseheads at Edison, Gilboa at Charlotte Valley
- Friday: Vestal at Maine-Endwell, Gilboa at Windham-Ashland-Jewett
- Saturday: Maine-Endwell at C-NS Northstar Elite Play Date, Susquehanna Valley and Windsor at Mudville, Southern Cayuga vs. Port Byron and Union Springs vs. Weedsport in Cayuga Tournament, Deposit-Hancock at Sullivan West Tournament
* Have a great week!
Welcome back to the blog! I asked for some more competitive games this week, and Section IV delivered. Here’s a look at some of the tight contests from the past seven days.
* Chenango Valley got their week off to a good start with a 1-0, 8-inning win over Elmira. It was a classic pitcher’s duel between CV’s Madeline Trisket (who went on to throw a no-hitter over Windsor on Friday) and Elmira’s Payton Ross (who was involved in quite the bizarre ending to a game two days later, but more on that in a bit.) Trisket gathered CV’s first hit in the 7th with a leadoff triple, but was stranded. In the 8th, Elmira loaded the bases with one out, but a 1-2-3 double play ended the inning. Makenzi Reinhard led off the bottom half with a single, went to 2nd on an error, to 3rd on defense indifference, and scored the game’s lone run on Kate Hope’s sacrifice fly to right. Trisket ended up with 7 strikeouts and Ross with 11.
* Also on Monday, Hunter-Tannersville edged South Kortright 19-18 in one of many high scoring, back-and-forth affairs we’ve already seen this year. H-T was down 18-11 entering the 7th, but a huge 8-run inning sealed the comeback. South Kortright has played five games this year, and all five have involved both teams scoring in double digits. H-T has an all or nothing offense thus far, scoring 24 and 19 in wins, and 3 and 0 in losses.
* On Tuesday, Schenevus and Roxbury deadlocked at 21-21 with the game being called (presumably by darkness). If you thought Hunter-Tannersville’s comeback was wild, then Schenevus did it one better. They erased an incredible 14-run deficit to tie it. Both teams won their other two contests by putting up a bunch of runs. (I’m unaware if the game will be continued, but Schenevus’ Aktivate page does list it as a tie, so perhaps they won’t.)
* The craziest, and most controversial, game this week was Corning vs. Elmira on Wednesday. Elmira built up leads of 5-1 and 7-4, but Corning used a 9-run 5th to get right back into it. With Corning up 13-9 entering the final inning, here’s where things got nuts. Elmira scored two runs on an error and an RBI single by Lily Cornacchio. As I mentioned before, Payton Ross then became part of a bizarre ending. It started off very well, as she smashed a game tying, two-run homer to right center. Just when you thought we were back to square one, the lead runner was called out for not touching home plate. That made it three outs, and also made it a Corning win at 13-11. That’s an extremely tough way to end a game, but will only serve as a learning experience for everyone involved. Elmira went on to beat Binghamton 13-0 on Friday, so they didn’t let the bitter loss linger.
* Thursday saw Dryden get by Spencer-Van Etten/Candor 7-6 in a game featuring two teams from the IAC making some noise. Dryden is led by Georgian Court University commit Kahlen Cornell, the IAC North Large School MVP last season. She put on quite the show in this one. With SVEC up 6-3 going into the bottom of the 7th, Dryden hit three doubles and took advantage of an error to grab the win. One of those doubles was by Cornell, which was a walk-off two-run double to end it. She went 4-for-4 at the plate and struck out 10 in the circle. Two days earlier, it was SVEC getting the victory, 18-7.
* In a battle of two teams that went to state championship games last year, Deposit-Hancock put up three in the 6th to break a scoreless tie, and went on to beat Greene 4-1. D-H, the reigning, defending, undisputed Class D champions of New York, had their hands full in the 7th. Greene scored a run to make it 4-1, then loaded the bases with nobody out. Undeterred, D-H’s ace Kaitlyn Macumber calmly struck out the next three to secure the win. D-H continues to roll this year at 8-0, and swept a pair in Mudville on Saturday, with Macumber being named MVP. Greene was coming off a 4-3 victory over Sidney, which saw McKenzie Scott smoke a game winning solo homer in the top of the 7th. With Payton Yahner doing her thing in the circle, they’re looking to again get back to the Class C title game and win it this time.
* As the list of no-hitters continues to grow, perhaps the one that stands out the most is what Maine-Endwell superstar Olivia Lewis did to Horseheads on Thursday. The Monmouth commit fired a perfect game. If that’s not impressive enough for you, factor in 18 of the 21 hitters being retired by strikeout, and maybe that will do the trick. That’s two no-no’s for her this season, and five over the last three seasons. This is to take nothing away from the no-hitters we see across Section IV, but with the competition a team like Maine-Endwell faces each game in STAC, it’s that much harder to do. I’ve been tracking no-hitters since the 2017 season, and it’s first time Horseheads has been held hitless. And considering they’re coming off a Class AA sectional championship over Corning last year, that should tell you all you need to know about the type of program they have. Kudos to Miss Lewis for pitching a game she’ll never forget.
* Also joining the Perfect Game Club is another Olivia, Olivia Switzer of Elmira Notre Dame. She struck out 11 Waverly Wolverines, and added three RBIs and three runs scored as part of a four-hit day at the plate. The Crusaders are 6-0 in IAC competition, and are once again the team to beat in that conference. They also are looking to get back to the Class C championship, where they fell to Greene last season. That would be a rematch worth watching if it comes to fruition.
* On a side note, it’s amazing how many pitchers named “Olivia” have thrown no-hitters in Section IV. I’ve already discussed Lewis and Kennedy. There’s also Olivia Somers of Whitney Point, who tossed one over Trumansburg on April 5. Olivia Kennedy of Greene dominated during her high school days, as she’s a two-time NYS Class C Player of the Year. Olivia DeMott tossed multiple no-hitters during her time at Sidney. Parents, if you’re thinking of having a softball baby, you might want to name her Olivia!
* There’s a big game in STAC coming up on Monday, as Maine-Endwell visits Vestal. The Metro foes are ranked very high in Class A after the first poll was released (M-E #1, Vestal #3). Both are at the absolute tops of their games. M-E is 6-0 and coming off of the big Horseheads win. Vestal went undefeated in Myrtle Beach with five wins, part of their blistering 9-0 start. These teams met last year in the Class A Championship, with Vestal racing out to an incredible 9-0 lead, and holding on for dear life to win 9-7. As loaded as the Vestal offense is, if there’s one person who’s capable of keeping them quiet, it’s Olivia Lewis. This will be their first meeting before the location switches to M-E on May 5. Round 3? It could be the sectional championship in Horseheads on May 27. Time will tell.
* Here’s the rest of the big games happening this week, including the full schedule for the Mary Testa Tournament at various locations on Saturday:
- Monday: Corning at Horseheads, Union-Endicott at Chenango Valley, Elmira Notre Dame at Edison, Gilboa at Windham-Ashland-Jewett, Laurens/Milford at Schenevus
- Tuesday: (No big games of note.)
- Wednesday: Union-Endicott at Vestal, Chenango Valley at Susquehanna Valley, Waverly at Dryden, Elmira Notre Dame at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Morris/Edmeston at Unadilla Valley
- Thursday: Tioga at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Bainbridge-Guilford at Deposit-Hancock, Sidney at Unadilla Valley
- Friday: Horseheads at Elmira, Union-Endicott at Maine-Endwell
* Mary Testa Tournament on Saturday:
- at Union-Endicott: 10 am-U-E vs. Tioga; noon-Tioga vs. Owego; 2 pm-U-E vs. Owego
- at Maine-Endwell: 10 am-M-E vs. Abington Heights; noon-Abington Heights vs. Webster Schroeder; 2 pm-M-E vs. Webster Schroeder
- at Windsor: 10 am-Windsor vs. Greene; noon-Greene vs. Edison; 2 pm-Windsor vs. Edison
- at Chenango Valley: 10 am-CV vs. Deposit-Hancock; noon-Deposit-Hancock vs. Elmira Notre Dame; 2 pm-CV vs. Elmira Notre Dame
- at Johnson City: 10 am-JC vs. Chenango Forks; noon-Chenango Forks vs. Canandaigua; 2 pm-JC vs. Canandaigua
- at Susquehanna Valley: 10 am-SV vs. Corning; noon-Corning vs. Cohoes; 2 pm-SV vs. Cohoes
- at Waverly: 10 am-Waverly vs. Elmira; noon-Elmira vs. Pittsford Sutherland; 2pm-Waverly vs. Pittsford Sutherland
* Enjoy the week and go watch some softball!
The Section IV softball season is in full swing! We’ve actually had some great weather the past couple of weeks, which is a rarity around here. But, we’ll take it. Lots of games have been going on the first couple weeks of April, as teams have been competing during their Spring Break.
Let’s take a look at the action so far:
* Three teams went to Myrtle Beach to compete on their week off: Corning, Vestal, and Horseheads. Each told interesting tales. Corning played three regular season games and ended up a flawless 3-0. After winning comfortably the first couple of games, they edged out McLean from Virginia 5-3 thanks to a two-run error in the 7th. Their offense has been delivering at a high rate. Vestal ran the table at a perfect 5-0. Only the first couple of games were close, as they beat Elizabeth Seton, MD 4-2 and Tallwood, VA 12-8. They only got better and better as it went on, blowing out the next three opponents by a combined 43-5. After going all the way to the state championship game in Class A last year, they have to be feeling great about the start of their season.
* Defending Class AA champion Horseheads had some tougher results, losing all five games. Their last game was the closest, dropping a 6-5 decision to University HS, Virginia on walk-off fielder’s choice. In the words of their head coach Paul Richmond, “We asked to play the best, and we are getting it.” Why do so? Take a look at their first game back from break: a 4-3 victory over Union-Endicott. Molly Wolf drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 7th, and Maddie Matkosky slammed the door in the bottom half. Those same U-E Tigers then went on to hand Corning their first loss of the season in a dramatic, 9-8 comeback win. Corning went up 8-6 in the top of the 7th, just to see U-E win on a walk-off two-run single by Taylor McManus.
* Add it all up, and all three of these teams became better and more battle tested after playing some high-level competition away from home.
* The three other Section IV champions from last year have all started off hot: Chenango Valley (Class B) 5-0, Greene (Class C) 3-1, and Deposit-Hancock (Class D) 3-0. The one loss by Greene was in about as tough a non-league game as you’ll find, as they went to Maine-Endwell and lost 7-0. But, those are the types of games smaller schools like Greene will benefit from, much like D-H did last year in competing against bigger schools like Corning and CV. Two of their wins have featured no-hitters by Payton Yahner, who is picking up right where Olivia Kennedy left off last year. That’s no easy feat, but she’s been up to the task.
* Chenango Valley won a Class B championship game rematch over Owego 13-5 behind a 5-for-5 day from leadoff hitter Kate Hope. The Warriors built up an 8-0 advantage before the Indians fought back to make it 8-5 in the 4th. CV then pulled away with a 3-run 5th. They have four more games this week, all at home, including a Friday tilt vs. Windsor. That will be one to watch.
* Two of the usual teams that dominate in the IAC had an early season clash, as Elmira Notre Dame defeated Edison 9-1. Edison had come in 3-0, including a 7-1 win over Union Springs (who are also playing great at 5-1). In this one, Lawson Bigelow got the scoring started with a two-run double in the first, and the Crusaders never looked back. Leadoff hitter Ava Mustico got on base all four times, and Reagan Burge drove in a pair of runs. Give Spencer-Van Etten/Candor credit for playing Elmira ND tough on Friday, as they kept it close at 4-2. The combined SVEC has bounced back from a pair of blowout losses to Tioga and Edison to start the season to win their next two before being edged on Friday.
* Already, we’ve seen seven no-hitters tossed. Two notes about that: 1) Section IV is historically very rich in pitching, and this season appears to be carrying on that tradition. 2) Sometimes one team’s no-hitter is another team’s hit. Ultimately, it’s up to the home book to decide on the final stats, but the hope is that both squads confirm it so the stats all line up. One no-no that really stood out is Madie Dening of Oneonta. She did it in an 11-0 victory over Norwich, striking out 8. That’s the first one the Yellowjackets have thrown since three-time All-State member Bri Baker did it in 2015. It’s always great to see some new names step up like that.
* One last takeaway is the number of lopsided games there have been. Simply put, some teams are a little more ready for primetime than others. There are teams that feature lots of travel ball players, so they get their reps year-round to one extent of another. Other teams just aren’t as experienced, so it’s as if they’re playing catch up from day one. And while the weather has been nice in April, the season starts in mid-March, and there’s plenty of days spent inside of a gym. While it’s certainly better than nothing, it doesn’t quite replicate being outside on the diamond. I would expect we’ll start seeing some more competitive games in the weeks ahead.
* With Spring Break games over (sorry, kids, but it’s back to school for you!), league play will start to heat up. Here’s a look at some key games this week. Keep in mind that the dates are subject to change, so constantly check your team’s schedule for the latest updates:
- Monday: Elmira at Chenango Valley, Vestal at Horseheads, Spencer-Van Etten/Candor at Dryden
- Tuesday: Owego at Windsor, Dryden at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Charlotte Valley at Delhi/Downsville, Roxbury at Schenevus
- Wednesday: Vestal at Union-Endicott, Edison at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Harpursville at Deposit-Hancock, Greene at Sidney
- Thursday: Maine-Endwell at Horseheads
- Friday: Vestal at Corning, Windsor at Chenango Valley, Susquehanna Valley at Owego, Bainbridge-Guilford at Harpursville, Deposit-Hancock at Greene
- Saturday: Union Springs at Cayuga County Tournament, Elmira Notre Dame and Deposit-Hancock at Mudville Tournament, Laurens Leopards Tournament (Laurens/Milford, Charlotte Valley, Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs, Hamilton)
* Enjoy the week!