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2024 Section IV Blog

5/22/24

 

We are down to the last few teams remaining in Section IV with the Quarterfinal round in the books.  Let’s take a look at the Semi-final matchups in Class B, C, and D (Class AAA, AA, and A have previously been discussed in older blog entries).

 

Class B Semi-final: #12 Sidney at #1 Susquehanna Valley.  In the initial blog preview for sectionals, I stated: “If you’re looking for a potentially sneaky lower seed to make noise, pay attention to Sidney as the last seed.”  It wasn’t a particularly hard prediction to make considering how talented they are.  Through two games, they’ve hit the road to the west and downed Spencer-Van Etten/Candor by one in extra innings, and then Waverly by two.  Now they’ll get to lock horns with the top seed.  SV found themselves in a quick 2-0 hole to a talented Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour squad in the Quarterfinal, but put the game away with eights runs across the 5th and 6th.  This will be a rematch from April 20, won by SV 8-3.  In that game, both teams were deadlocked at 3-3 before SV scored a run in the 4th and never looked back.  It’s another fun pitching matchup between SV’s LilliOnno D’Introno and Sidney’s Ava Cirigliano.  In the first meeting, Cirigliano gave up eight runs on 11 hits, but she’s more than proven since then how dominant she can be.  At this point, Sidney is riding a wave of emotions, and will not be intimidated at all.  SV had three errors in the Quarterfinal win, so a clean game with the gloves will only help their ace hold serve and reach the Championship on Saturday.

 

Class B Semi-final: #6 Windsor at #3 Edison.  While there’s no such thing as rooting for certain teams, it is pretty cool to see two reigning Section IV Champions get to play each other.  That’s because Edison is bumped up to Class B this year, one year after edging Elmira Notre Dame 2-1 for the Class C crown.  Windsor has won two straight to get here, and neither has been close.  They defeated Oneonta and Chenango Valley by a combined score of 23-3 (and the three runs were scored by CV in the 7th when it was well out of hand).  They’re led by Danica Ball in the circle (18 strikeouts in two games), and Anna Finn at the plate (four hits with a grand slam).  Edison has taken four straight, including the IAC Large School Championship over Lansing.  Windsor will be a step up in competition, just as Chenango Forks was in the Quarterfinal, where Edison squeaked by with a 5-4 win.  Forks made it very interesting with a runner on 2nd and two down in the 7th, but a groundout ended the game.  Like the other Class B Semi-final, it’s a battle of aces between Ball and Gabby Milazzo.  Edison getting the home field and making Windsor hit the long road to them can only help.  If you’re looking for a game matching teams with big time winning experience, this is it.

 

Class C Semi-final: #5 Greene at #1 Tioga.  Greene went to Delhi and denied the home team of their first ever sectional win, coming away with an emphatic 12-4 victory.  Abby Yahner and Audra Doll drove in five runs, and Tatianna Wells struck out eight.  They’ll need more of that, as they get a date with top-seeded Tioga, who are coming off a 26-2 shellacking of Marathon.  Simply put, all nine starters in the lineup did well, including a six-RBI day from McKenzie Williams, and five from Erin Luther.  Luther also struck out 10 in a two-hitter.  Tioga has been on an impressive run as of late, with wins over Windsor, Owego, Southern Cayuga, and Union Springs in the IAC Small School Championship game.  Greene will need their best effort from Wells, who will be in charge of cooling off some red hot Tioga bats.  The Trojans did just defeat a good team on the road in Delhi, so they’ll need the same mindset to pull off another upset.

 

Class C Semi-final: #3 Bainbridge-Guilford at #2 Union Springs.  While B-G had a laugher in their Quarterfinal, Union Springs took it down to their last at-bat.  Paityn Delaney, who had 16 strikeouts, walked and stole 2nd to start the bottom of the 7th.  An out later, Ella Dougherty drove her in with a walk-off single and 5-4 victory over Southern Cayuga.  B-G made much quicker work of visiting Elmira Notre Dame, putting up 12 runs in the 2nd to run away with a 19-1 victory.  The top four hitters of the lineup were incredible, as Breanna Casey, Danica Park, Alessandra Cafasso, and Gabriella Cuozzo combined for eight hits, nine runs, and 13 RBIs.  Union Springs will get the home game for this one, but B-G is battle tested with games this year vs. great pitchers in Deposit-Hancock and Sidney.  The energy level of the team that has to travel a long distance to play is always interesting to watch.  If B-G can get their legs and avoid a slow start, they will give themselves a great chance to play for their first ever Section IV title.

 

Class D Semi-final: #5 Windham-Ashland-Jewett at #1 Deposit-Hancock.  W-A-J jumped up 7-0 in their Quarterfinal game at Morris/Edmeston, then withstood a 6th inning rally from the home team to eventually pull away, 12-8.  Hannah Tuttle was credited with a no-hitter, which might seem a little odd considering the score.  But, she also walked 13 and had a defense commit three errors behind her.  M/E had 10 errors, so it was not the cleanest game to say the least.  D-H, on the other hand, got 20 strikeouts from Addison Makowski, and they rolled by Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs 11-0.  Now W-A-J will attempt to do what no other team has done over the last few years when Deposit and Hancock merged softball programs: defeat them.  D-H has a pristine 10-0 sectional record, and plenty of talent to keep it going.  Like all other opponents of D-H in Class D, the odds are stacked high against them.  Tuttle has to make D-H work for everything, and not hand out free pass after free pass, allowing them to run the bases with ease.  W-A-J must enter the game with confidence and compete hard against the top ranked team in the state.

 

Class D Semi-final: #7 Roxbury/Gilboa at #3 Richfield Springs.  Roxbury/Gilboa got some sweet revenge in the Quarterfinal round.  After losing to Charlotte Valley in the Delaware League Championship 18-9, R/G went on the road and earned a 5-3 victory over the Wildcats on Tuesday.  Down 2-1 in the 6th, a couple of Charlotte Valley errors led to RBIs from Aurora Stingle and Savannah Pettersen.  Mikayla Wright went the distance and scattered eight hits.  Richfield Springs scored four runs in the 1st to immediately put pressure on Laurens/Milford, as they went on for the 7-4 win.  Issy Seamon had three hits and Sophia Spencer drove in four runs.  Now the Tri-Valley champs will welcome the Delaware League runner-up in a great battle between smaller schools.  Richfield Springs has won seven straight, as many of them have been by only a few runs, which is a good sign that they can relax in tight situations.  R/G has an offense that can put loads of runs on the board, as they had a stretch of 11 straight double-digit games.  Richfield Springs starter Sophia Spencer will need to get lots of swings and misses, which she’s more than capable of, to guide her team to victory.

5/19/24

 

The First Round of sectionals has come and gone.  There were a couple of upsets in Class B according to the seeding.  #10 Chenango Forks went on the road and edged #7 Lansing 4-3, and #12 Sidney went eight innings to slip by #4 Spencer-Van Etten/Candor 8-7.  Both teams will now hit the road the take on teams rested and waiting to get going.

 

Let’s take a look at the 12 Quarterfinal games across Classes B-D, which all take place on Tuesday. (Classes AAA, AA, and A are either waiting for the Semi-final games, or already know the Championship matchup.  Take a look at my previous blog entry for information on those.)

 

Class B Quarterfinal: #8 Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour at #1 Susquehanna Valley.  WG/O-M had no problem taking care of #9 Whitney Point in a 12-2 win.  That was 10 days after losing 10-5 to the Golden Eagles, so they learned from that loss and got some revenge.  Now they take a trip to Susquehanna Valley (technically, Greenlight Park, SV’s home this season) to compete against the top seed.  They do have a common opponent in Edison.  WG/O-M had a couple of lopsided losses to them (7-0 and 21-0), but in between pulled the 5-4 upset on April 10.  After scoring three in the 7th to go up 5-3, Edison got within one, then WG/O-M stranded two runners in scoring position with one down for the win.  SV suffered their first loss of the season to Edison in the Mary Testa Tournament on April 27 in a narrow 3-1 defeat.  Paige Ells was terrific in the win over Whitney Point, striking out 15 in a two-hitter.  She’ll be up against one of the best in LilliOnna D’Introno.  If Ells can get more swings and misses, they will give themselves a chance.

 

Class B Quarterfinal: #12 Sidney at #4 Waverly.  Sidney entered their First Round matchup in Spencer-Van Etten/Candor up 7-3 in the 7th, only to give up four runs and seemingly lose all of their momentum.  But, they got one back in the 8th, then Ava Cirigliano got SVEC in order for the 8-7 victory.  Now they will make the trip to Waverly and their brand new turf.  Sidney also plays on turf, so that won’t affect them one bit.  Waverly just missed out on winning the STAC Central division, but have enjoyed a solid season, as they’ve won four of the last five.  Two common opponents have been Norwich and Chenango Valley.  Both teams handled Norwich quite easily.  Sidney made a big statement in a 6-4 win over CV on April 19, as Cirigliano had three hits and struck out 12 in the circle.  Waverly had a dramatic 13-12 victory over CV on April 9, with Hannah Carpenter belting a walk-off homer.  CV won the rematch 14-2 on April 24.  Cirigliano is capable of carrying her team to victory, so the Waverly bats will have to put runners on to try to frustrate her.

 

Class B Quarterfinal: #6 Windsor at #3 Chenango Valley.  Arguably the most intriguing of the 12 games, as this is a rematch of last year’s Class B Championship, won by Windsor 9-7.  That was a wild game in which leads were exchanged early, only for Windsor to jump up 9-3 in the 3rd, then hold off a furious CV rally where they turned a double play with the bases loaded to end the game.  Some of the faces have changed from that game, but Windsor still has Danica Ball in the circle, and she struck out an incredible 19 CV batters in their first matchup on April 29 for the 10-4 win.  CV actually cut that deficit to 5-4 in the 5th, but immediately gave back three runs to end the threat.  Windsor is coming off a dominant 12-0 win over #11 Oneonta, good for their sixth straight victory (starting with the CV game).  CV won’t do themselves any favors by falling into an early hole again, so they will have to get a good start by one of their two options in the circle, Natalie Tyler or Abby Cron.  Their last game was a 3-0 loss to undefeated, #1 state Class AA ranked Vestal in the STAC Semi-final, so they have to feel good about their ability to limit the damage against a good offense.

 

Class B Quarterfinal: #10 Chenango Forks at #2 Edison.  In addition to Sidney, Chenango Forks also got a one-run victory on the road against an IAC opponent.  A run in the top of the 7th proved very valuable, as Lansing got one back but no more, as CF won 4-3.  Jessica Stone went the distance, striking out eight and giving up only three hits.  They’ll need more of that, as they go out to Edison, the IAC Large School Champions.  Edison starter Gabby Milazzo is one of the best around.  In the 9-3 IAC title game victory over Lansing, she struck out 12, gave up three hits, and did not give up an earned run.  CF will have to find ways to get runners on base, which will be difficult to do, then get their running game going to score some runs on a pitcher who doesn’t give up many.  Edison will look to prove they can win a Class B title, just as they won in Class C last season.

 

Class C Quarterfinal: #8 Marathon at #1 Tioga.  Marathon earned a close 5-4 win over visiting #9 Moravia in the First Round.  Leadoff walks to Melodie Sutton and Marissa Allen started the 4th, and both came across on a two-run double by Cassie Forrest, which turned out to be the game winning runs.  That win sets up a road trip to Tioga, the IAC Small School Champions.  These teams met back on April 25, and to say the least, it wasn’t pretty.  Tioga won 20-1 in five innings behind a one-hitter by Erin Luther and an offense that pounded out 19 hits in only four at-bats.  So, it pretty much goes without saying that Tioga will be favored in this one.  The Tigers have won nine straight, including the league title win over Union Springs to end their undefeated season.  Marathon will have to hope for a fast start to the game to put some doubt in the home team’s heads.

 

Class C Quarterfinal: #5 Greene at #4 Delhi.  (Previewed in previous blog entry.)

 

Class C Quarterfinal: #6 Elmira Notre Dame at #3 Bainbridge-Guilford.  This is a rematch from last year’s Quarterfinal, won by Elmira ND 12-0.  Two of the stars of that game were Olivia Switzer (two-hitter) and Lawson Bigelow (home run).  They’ve since graduated, and the results for this year’s team has been different than what they’ve been used to at 4-13.  They started the year 3-2 before hitting a rough patch.  B-G has been cruising all year long, winners of their first 11, and three of their last four.  They suffered a close loss to Sidney in the MAC Semi-final, but bounced right back to beat Unatego in the Consolation.  We’ll see what kind of energy Elmira ND has after making the long trek to Bainbridge with an offense that has scored one run in their last four games.

 

Class C Quarterfinal: #7 Southern Cayuga at #2 Union Springs.  Southern Cayuga took advantage of seven walks and four Seton errors to get a home win in the First Round, 10-2.  Now they’ll get a third crack at Union Springs, and the first two were all Wolves by scores of 3-1 and 14-2.  Ava Harvatine of Southern Cayuga kept it close in the first game with 10 strikeouts.  In the second game, Paityn Delaney led the way for Union Springs with eight strikeouts and three hits at the plate.  Both of those games were at the beginning of the season, and a lot has happened since then.  Southern Cayuga is coming off of a Class D Championship appearance last season, and has the same pitcher in Harvatine leading the way.  Union Springs suffered their first blemish to Tioga in the IAC Small School Championship on a walk-off, but are sporting a dazzling 12-1 record.  Grace Chalupnicki has a no-hitter this season and hasn’t lost on her home field.

 

Class D Quarterfinal: #9 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs at #1 Deposit-Hancock.  CV-S/SS left no doubt in the First Round, pounding #8 Schenevus 14-2 for a huge road win.  Mia Dubben tossed a two-hitter, and the offense was led by Kyra Druse and Lexi Dygert with three hits apiece.  As much fun as that win was, now they are entering a whole different world with a visit to Deposit-Hancock.  D-H only has two losses this season to much bigger schools in Maine-Endwell and Marlboro by a combined four runs.  They won the MAC Championship in a narrow victory over Sidney, 2-1.  Time and time again, they’ve proven why they are the best Class D program in the state, and their quest for a state title begins with this game.  CV-S/SS will be a huge underdog, but as long as they’re not intimidated before they even walk on the field, they will give themselves a chance to compete.

 

Class D Quarterfinal: #5 Windham-Ashland-Jewett at #4 Morris/Edmeston.  Both teams had a bye to this game.  Morris/Edmeston is coming off of a 6-3 loss to Richfield Springs in the Tri-Valley Championship.  They had the tying run up to bat in the 7th, but couldn’t pull through.  W-A-J lost the Delaware League Tiebreaker to Charlotte Valley, 16-6.  They were up 6-3 heading into the 6th, then surrendered a whopping 12 runs.  So, both teams are coming off of league playoff losses, but have a chance to quickly turn that around.  Hannah Wist is only a junior and already a three-time All-State selection, and she’s talented enough to carry M/E to a home win.  W-A-J has to shake off a couple of lopsided losses at the end of the season and show why they were 7-0 and ranked in the state at one point this season.

 

Class D Quarterfinal: #6 Laurens/Milford at #3 Richfield Springs.  These teams were destined to face each other again, as it’s their fourth game already this season.  Technically, it’s the third game, as the first one was called for rain tied 12-12.  Rounds 2 and 3 belonged to Richfield Springs by victories of 9-5 and 11-6 in the Tri-Valley Semi-final.  In the most recent one, Richfield Springs jumped up 9-2 after two innings and cruised.  Sophia Spencer scattered eight hits in the circle, and five hitters had multiple hits, led by three apiece from Riley Constantinetis and Morgan Marriott.  Laurens/Milford bounced back from that loss to win three straight, including a pair over Roxbury/Gilboa and Unatego in the Wier/Chase Tournament.  Richfield Springs has six consecutive wins, so both teams are playing very well entering this one.

 

Class D Quarterfinal: #7 Roxbury/Gilboa at #2 Charlotte Valley.  The Delaware League Champions open their sectional play at home, winners of six straight.  That league title win was over their opponent, Roxbury/Gilboa, by a score of 18-9.  An 8-3 lead was turned into an 18-3 advantage in the 6th.  Brinlee Wright got the win in the circle and drove in four runs.  Six hitters had two hits each, with Lila Waid driving in three runs as well.  Earlier in the season, Charlotte Valley won the first game 9-1 behind three hits and three runs from Josephine Butler.  So, it’s been all Charlotte Valley through the first two matchups.  A closer look at the box score from the DL Championship shows that Roxbury/Gilboa scored six runs in the 7th, which shows the fight they have.  A big hole is obviously not what they want again, so keeping the big bats from Charlotte Valley in check early will help give them confidence to pull the road upset.

5/15/24

 

It’s time for sectionals!  With New York adding a sixth classification, there’s even more matchups to look forward to.  Check out all of the brackets by clicking here.

 

Let’s take a look at all six classes:

 

Class AAA

* Top 2 seeds: Corning, Elmira

* Number of teams qualified: 2

* Championship matchup: #1 Corning vs. #2 Elmira

* Date of game: Championship – 5/25

* Most intriguing game: #1 Corning vs. #2 Elmira.  Get ready to see these teams face each other for the Class AAA title for many years to come (unless something changes with classifications again).  Corning is 2-0 against Elmira this year.  The first one was close, as Corning scored five in the 5th and 6th to overcome 4-2 deficit and win 8-6.  Peyton Sullivan and Matti Johnston split the game in the circle.  In the second game, Elmira opened their brand-new field, but Corning ruined the fun with an 18-2 blowout.  A 4-2 lead for Corning going into the 4th was quickly turned into a 14-2 advantage.  Johnston homered and drove in five.  Corning was also 2-0 heading into the championship last year, and beat Elmira again 6-4.  Elmira has been a bit shaky lately, but did have a quality win over Edison in the Mary Testa Tournament.  Corning will look to keep their momentum going after appearing in the STAC Championship.

* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):

#1 Corning: 8-8 (4)

#2 Elmira: 2-10 (0)

 

Class AA

* Top 3 seeds: Vestal, Horseheads, Union-Endicott

* Number of teams qualified: 3

* Semi-final matchup: #3 Union-Endicott at #2 Horseheads (#1 Vestal has a bye)

* Dates of games: Semi-final – 5/22; Championship – 5/25

* Most intriguing game: #3 Union-Endicott at #2 Horseheads.  It’s a rematch from May 3, won by Union-Endicott 10-2.  Mary Morse led the charge with three RBIs, and Taylor McManus scattered seven hits in the circle.  Both teams have played some great competition this year both in their division through STAC, and out of state.  Horseheads went 2-1 in Virginia over their Spring Break, and U-E went 1-2 in a tournament in Williamsport, PA.  The winner gets a date with top-seeded Vestal in the Championship, whom both teams have played already this year.

* Other thoughts: Vestal is undefeated at 18-0, and winners of a STAC Championship over Corning, their first league title since 1987.  They lost a wild, high scoring affair to Maine-Endwell last season in the Class A Championship, 11-7.  They have to feel like this is their best chance to advance through Section IV and get that elusive state championship, which they’ve been unable to do in their storied history.  First things first, though, as they certainly will be tested against the winner of the Semi-final game.  They beat Horseheads 5-2 back in March, and narrowly downed U-E by scores of 2-1 and 2-0 recently.  They are similar to Corning from 2022, who also had a loaded offense and sky-high expectations, but fell to Horseheads in the Championship, 7-5.  A big difference is that Vestal has Reilly Storer in the circle, and only once this season have they given up five or more runs, and that was in a 20-6 blowout win over Maine-Endwell.  They are the team to beat and for good reason.

* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):

#1 Vestal: 36-37 (9)

#2 Horseheads: 48-31 (13)

#3 Union-Endicott: 46-30 (13)

 

Class A

* Top 2 seeds: Maine-Endwell, Owego

* Number of teams qualified: 2

* Championship matchup: #1 Maine-Endwell vs. #2 Owego

* Date of game: Championship – 5/25

* Most intriguing game: #1 Maine-Endwell vs. #2 Owego.  Maine-Endwell will be looking to claim their 14th Section IV title, while Owego seeks its first.  M-E has been on a tear as of late, winners of six straight, including victories over Union-Endicott, Elmira, and Webster Thomas.  If the plan was to peak at the right time, they’re doing just that.  In the win over U-E, Lauren Dundon spun a one-hitter in a 2-0 victory, and then followed that up with a 6-1 win over Elmira where she struck out seven.  The names have changed a little from last year’s state championship run, and after going through a bit of an up and down start to the season, they are playing their best ball.  Owego has gone through a similar season in which they were taking some tough losses early, but has played much better as of late.  They’ve won two straight in blowout fashion, and suffered one-run losses to Chenango Valley and Tioga right before.  They will be the underdogs in this game, so the pressure will be on M-E.

* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):

#1 Maine-Endwell: 34-20 (13)

#2 Owego: 18-30 (0)

 

Class B

* Top 4 seeds: Susquehanna Valley, Edison, Chenango Valley, Waverly

* Number of teams qualified: 12

* 1st Round matchups: #9 Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour at #8 Whitney Point; #12 Sidney at #5 Spencer-Van Etten/Candor; #11 Oneonta at #6 Windsor; #10 Chenango Forks at #7 Lansing (Top 4 seeds have byes)

* Quarterfinal games: #1 Susquehanna Valley hosts WG/O-M/WP winner, #2 Lansing hosts CF/Lansing winner; #3 Chenango Valley hosts Oneonta/Windsor winner; #4 Waverly hosts Sidney/SVEC winner

* Dates of games: 1st Round – 5/16; Quarterfinals – 5/21; Semi-finals – 5/23; Championship – 5/25

* Most intriguing 1st Round game: #11 Oneonta at #6 Windsor. One of the most interesting draws is Windsor, who comes in with victories over three of the teams seeded above them in Susquehanna Valley, Chenango Valley, and Waverly.  Oneonta secured one of their biggest victories in recent program history on April 8, when they went to Windsor and stunned the home team 3-2.  Ivy Tice was sensational with a one-hitter, and the Yellowjackets escaped a bases loaded, one-out jam in the 7th.  The rematch on May 3 was another close one, this time won by Windsor on the road, 7-5.  Danica Ball had 13 strikeouts (Kyla Good had 14 the first game).  Windsor comes in playing better ball recently with a five-game winning streak.  Oneonta, on the other hand, is on a four-game skid that started with the Windsor loss.  All that aside, Oneonta has to feel confident that they can not only play with the reigning Class B champs, but beat them as well.  The closer this game is as it gets into the later innings, the more pressure the Black Knights will feel.

* Other thoughts: Susquehanna Valley essentially could get three home games, as the Championship is played at Greenlight Park (the former BAGSAI), where they have played as a home field all season as turf is being installed at their school.  Plus, they are on the opposite side of the bracket from Windsor and Edison, two of only three teams to beat them this year, so they have to be feeling good about advancing far.  Chenango Valley probably has the toughest draw for a high seed, as they could potentially matchup with Windsor in the Quarterfinal, the team that beat them in the Championship last year.  Edison is the reigning Class C champion and only has three losses this year.  If you’re looking for a possible sneaky lower seed to make noise, pay attention to Sidney as the last seed.  They have an ace in Ava Cirigliano, wins over Chenango Valley and Bainbridge-Guilford, and two one-run losses to Deposit-Hancock.  They are not your typical final seed by any means.

* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):

#1 Susquehanna Valley: 58-24 (14)

#2 Edison: 50-26 (7)

#3 Chenango Valley: 54-28 (8)

#4 Waverly: 16-27 (1)

#5 Spencer-Van Etten/Candor: 1-1 (0)

#6 Windsor: 58-27 (11)

#7 Lansing: 40-30 (3)

#8 Whitney Point: 14-23 (0)

#9 Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour: (first year as combined program)

#10 Chenango Forks: 45-33 (8)

#11 Oneonta: 8-18 (0)

#12 Sidney: 26-30 (2)

 

Class C

* Top 4 seeds: Tioga, Union Springs, Bainbridge-Guilford, Delhi

* Number of teams qualified: 10

* 1st Round matchups: #9 Moravia at #8 Marathon; #10 Seton at #7 Southern Cayuga (Top 6 seeds have byes)

* Quarterfinal matchups: #5 Greene at #4 Delhi; #6 Elmira Notre Dame at #3 Bainbridge-Guilford (#1 Tioga hosts Moravia/Marathon winner; #2 Union Springs hosts Seton/Southern Cayuga winner)

* Dates of games: 1st Round – 5/16; Quarterfinals – 5/21; Semi-finals – 5/23; Championship – 5/25

* Most intriguing quarterfinal game: #5 Greene at #4 Delhi.  History is on the line in this one, as Delhi has never won a sectional game (or the combined Delhi/Downsville last year, which lost 6-2 to Spencer-Van Etten/Candor).  This year, they get a home game and have to like their chances of breaking the drought.  They’re coming in with two straight wins, and have played some of the better teams in MAC well, with close losses to Sidney and Bainbridge-Guilford.  In order to get through sectionals, you have to have an ace on the mound with strikeout potential, and they have that in Alli Ferrara.  She reached the 500-career strikeout mark in a win over Afton.  Greene counters as winners of four straight and seven of the last eight.  They dropped the first game of the season to Delhi 13-12, as Ferrara tripled in the 7th and scored the winning run soon after.  Cali Knapp recently threw a no-hitter over Walton/Downsville, and Tatianna Wells pitched a shutout over Oxford.  Expect a close game just like the season opener was, just not as high scoring.

* Other thoughts: Secretly, teams have to be relieved that Edison is bumped up to Class B this year, as they would have been a very tough out.  Tioga defeated Union Springs 5-4 in the IAC Small School Championship, as McKenzie Williams hit a walk-off double to win it.  That was the first loss of the year for Union Springs, who beat Tioga earlier in the season 13-11.  As the top two seeds, it could be Round 3 for the Class C Championship this time.  Bainbridge-Guilford started the season with 11 straight wins.  They welcome Elmira Notre Dame, which is a change of recent history, as B-G has usually had to hit the road to Elmira ND.  Southern Cayuga reached the Class D Championship last year, falling to Deposit-Hancock.  They welcome Seton in the 1st Round, and it will be interesting to see if Seton’s schedule vs. bigger schools in STAC pays off vs. an IAC team used to playing smaller schools.

* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):

#1 Tioga: 32-29 (1)

#2 Union Springs: 15-27 (0)

#3 Bainbridge-Guilford: 11-27 (0)

#4 Delhi: 0-5 (0)

#5 Greene: 27-31 (2)

#6 Elmira Notre Dame: 77-27 (14)

#7 Southern Cayuga: 12-23 (0)

#8 Marathon: 20-19 (0)

#9 Moravia: 20-30 (2)

#10 Seton: 61-22 (10)

 

Class D

* Top 4 seeds: Deposit-Hancock, Charlotte Valley, Richfield Springs, Morris/Edmeston

* Number of teams qualified: 10

* 1st Round matchups: #9 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs at #8 Schenevus; #10 Hunter-Tannersville at #7 Roxbury/Gilboa (Top 6 seeds have byes)

* Quarterfinal matchups: #5 Windham-Ashland-Jewett at #4 Morris; #6 Laurens/Milford at #3 Richfield Springs (#1 Deposit-Hancock hosts Cherry Valley-Springfield/Schenevus winner; #2 Charlotte Valley hosts Hunter-Tannersville/Roxbury winner)

* Dates of games: 1st Round – 5/16; Quarterfinals – 5/21; Semi-finals – 5/23; Championship – 5/25

* Most intriguing 1st round game: #9 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs at #8 Schenevus.  Another game that is a rematch from earlier in the season, won by Schenevus 5-2.  Autumn Burton went the distance in the circle and picked up six strikeouts.  She contributed at the plate as well with three hits and three RBIs.  Cady Ritton went 2-for-2 with three runs.  Schenevus appeared in the Tri-Valley Semi-final, losing to Morris/Edmeston 9-6, then falling in the Consolation to Laurens/Milford, 10-3.  So, they’re on a bit of a skid right now, as they lost two straight before the TVL playoffs as well.  CV-S/SS just played TVL champs Richfield Springs tough in a 6-2 loss, and won four straight before that in which the offense averaged just over 18 runs a game.

* Other thoughts: The one team that obviously stands out above the rest is Deposit-Hancock.  It would be a monumental upset for them to lose, as their level of play is more like a Class A school than Class D.  They are also the only team in this bracket that has won a Section IV Championship before.  But, that’s why they play the game, and anything is possible.  As is usually the case, they have to protect against looking too far ahead and instead focus on the task at hand.  Charlotte Valley is coming off a Delaware League Championship, and has been rolling all season long.  Two of their three losses have been to Windham-Ashland-Jewett and Morris/Edmeston, who are facing each other on the D-H side of the bracket.  Morris/Edmeston dropped a close one to Richfield Springs in the Tri-Valley Championship, 6-3.  Richfield Springs has defeated Laurens/Milford twice, with a third game stopped due to rain tied 12-12.  This will be their fourth matchup this season, which doesn’t happen often.

* All-time sectional records (championships in parenthesis):

#1 Deposit-Hancock: 9-0 (3)

#2 Charlotte Valley: 10-20 (0)

#3 Richfield Springs: 6-10 (0)

#4 Morris/Edmeston: 3-2 (0)

#5 Windham-Ashland-Jewett: 8-17 (0)

#6 Laurens/Milford: 0-1 (0)

#7 Roxbury/Gilboa: (first year as combined program)

#8 Schenevus: 32-34 (0)

#9 Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs: 1-1 (0)

5/12/24

 

With the Section IV playoff pairings about to be announced this week, there’s still three league championships that have to be played.  Let’s take a look at the STAC, MAC, and Tri-Valley Championship games, set to take place early this week.

 

* STAC Championship: (Metro) Vestal at (West) Corning, Tuesday. (Thanks to our friends at STAC for help with this preview.)  Both teams were victorious on Saturday at Chenango Valley in their Semi-final games.  Vestal started things off with a low scoring 3-0 victory over Chenango Valley.  Reilly Storer held CV to two hits and recorded her 100th strikeout of the season in the process.  Cat Petteys continued her amazing season with a solo home run.  In the 2nd game, Corning used a fast start to get up 3-0 in the 1st on Susquehanna Valley, then after SV tied it in the 3rd mostly on wild pitches, they put it away with two in the 6th and five in the 7th to win 10-4.  It was only SV’s third loss of the season.  Now Vestal will take their #1 Class AA state ranking to Corning, as the larger enrollment hosts the Championship game this season.  These teams met way back on March 26 at Vestal, as the Golden Bears won 5-1.  Storer scattered five hits and struck out 11, and Kendall Brady hit a solo home run.  Brady, however, did not appear in the Semi-final game, so it remains to be seen if she’ll play on Monday.  While Vestal is certainly capable of scoring in bunches, they’ve actually had wins of 2-1 and 2-0 over Union-Endicott recently, in addition to the CV win.  So, it’s not all about the offense.  Corning came into the SV game losers of two straight, but did not have a hangover from that at all.  Now they’ll get to play on their home field, which can only help them.  New Haven recruit Peyton Sullivan started the first game against Vestal, but it was Matti Johnston who went the distance to hold a potent SV offense to only one earned run on five hits, striking out nine.  Don’t be surprised if both make appearances in this game.

 

* MAC Championship: #3 Sidney at #1 Deposit-Hancock, Monday.  Much like the STAC Championship game, the MAC Championship is a rematch from very early in the season.  On April 10, Sidney gave Deposit-Hancock all they could handle in a close 7-6 loss.  D-H was cruising up 6-0, but Sidney came storming back to tie it in the 4th.  An error allowed a run to score in the 5th, and D-H held on for the close victory.  D-H has challenged themselves with games against many big schools this year, such as Maine-Endwell and Marlboro.  But, in terms of enrollments near their size, Sidney was by far their closest game in a season full of many lopsided victories.  Ava Cirigliano does a lot for the Sabers, and her 10 strikeouts in the first matchup is an indication that she’s capable of putting up blanks against the very best.  She also struck out 11 in a victory over Chenango Valley, and in the Semi-final, added nine more in downing one-loss Bainbridge-Guilford.  Both were road victories.  While D-H has dominated within the state with two straight Class D State Championships, they actually have lost their last two MAC Championship games to Greene.  Addison Makowski and Aubrey Smith have roughly split the number of starts this season.  Smith got the ball in a 9-0 Semi-final win over Unatego, allowing four hits and striking out 13.  On May 2, Makowski took a no-hitter into the 7th inning in a 6-1 win over Bainbridge-Guilford, gathering a whopping 18 strikeouts.  No matter who gets the call to start, it will be a great pitching matchup between two of the best around.

 

* Tri-Valley Championship: #1 Morris/Edmeston vs. #2 Richfield Springs, Tuesday at Sidney.  After the top seeds held serve in the Semi-finals (M/E beat Schenevus 9-3; Richfield Springs beat Laurens/Milford 11-6), these teams will meet on Tuesday on the turf at Sidney.  On April 19, they locked horns at Cooperstown’s All-Star Village, and M/E got the 7-1 victory.  Hannah Wist, a three-time All-State selection, led the way with a complete game, four-hit gem, striking out nine.  She also added a pair of hits and RBIs hitting in the cleanup spot.  Since that loss, Richfield Springs has only lost one more time by a run to Greene.  After the Semi-final win, they beat Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs 6-2 on Saturday, so they’re staying sharp.  M/E comes in winners of two straight and three of the last four.  In the victory over Schenevus, Wist, Samantha Coyle, and Ella Sparaco each had two hits, and Wist added 11 strikeouts in the circle.  In the Championship, Richfield Springs will most likely give the ball to Sophia Spencer.  She walked six in their first matchup, so she’ll obviously need to cut down on that in order to take down the top seed.  She was terrific in the recent win over CV-S/SS, striking out nine and only walking two.

 

* The sectional seeding meeting is taking place on Monday, with brackets to be released soon after.  Games are scheduled to begin on Thursday, with championships set to take place on Saturday, May 25 at Greenlight Park (the former BAGSAI).  Once pairings are set, I will be back with a full preview for all six classes (remember, there’s a Class AAA this year).  Stay tuned, as the most exciting time of the softball season is upon us!

5/5/24

 

Just like that, we are in the month of May, and league championship season is upon us.  As of this writing, only the IAC Small and Large School Championships are set, with all other leagues either in Semi-finals first, or all matchups TBD.

 

This week, I’ll preview those IAC title games, and take a look at which teams could play for their respective league championships.

 

* IAC Large School Championship, Thursday at Wells College, 5:00: (North) Lansing vs. (South) Edison. Lansing last appeared in an IAC championship game in 2019, falling to Elmira Notre Dame 11-0 for the Large School title.  They have never won a Large School title, and but have won seven Small School titles, last in 1999 (part of four straight).  They will have their hands full with Edison, who come into this game ranked #8 in Class B, one year removed from a State Semi-final appearance in Class C.  These teams met once back on April 1, and Edison scored 14 runs in the 3rd and 4th to win by mercy, 14-1.  All nine starters reached base, Carissa Cowan homered, and Gabby Milazzo spun a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts in five innings.  Lansing, to their credit, has turned things around quite nicely after that loss and the next one to Whitney Point, as they’ve gone 9-1 since then, with the only loss by a run to Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour.  To pull the upset here, starter Piper Mason will need to be at her very best, as Edison has scored in double digits nine times.  The Spartans also have big wins over challenging teams like Susquehanna Valley and Tuckahoe, so they will be ready as they look to grab their 10th IAC title.  As is usually the case where one team is favored on paper, it’s up to the underdog to keep it close late, and put all the pressure on the favorite.

 

* IAC Small School Championship, Thursday at Wells College, 3:00: (North) Union Springs vs. (South) Tioga.  For the fourth straight year, these two teams will clash for a Small School championship.  The last two years, Union Springs has gotten the edge by scores of 2-0 last year and 6-0 the year before.  In 2021, it was all Tioga, 17-0.  Tioga has the second most IAC titles with 10 (Elmira Notre Dame has 16), and Union Springs has five total, with their victory in 2022 the first since 1976.  This will be a rematch from April 22 when Union Springs won a slugfest, 13-11.  In that one, the Wolves jumped up 10-2 after two innings, then held off a charging Tigers team that got it within 11-10 in the 6th.  Wolves’ starter Gracie Chalupnicki picked up 13 strikeouts that day, but Tioga did tag her for 13 hits, including five doubles and three home runs.  And to think, that still wasn’t enough to win.  Union Springs enters this contest a perfect 11-0, and the majority of them have been blowouts.  Tioga has some very impressive wins of late, downing Windsor 5-4 and Owego 6-5.  Both RaeAnne Feeko and Erin Luther have been given the ball in the circle this year, with Luther getting most of the innings.  This has all the makings of another close game.

 

* STAC.  At this point, only two division titles have been decided: Corning in the West, and Vestal in the Metro.  Vestal will be the top seed out of that half of the conference with the better record.  In the bottom half of the conference, it’s mostly down to Chenango Valley, Waverly, and possibly Chenango Forks (with some wins and lots of help) in the Central, while Susquehanna Valley and Windsor continue to duke it out in the East.  The favorite right now has to be Vestal, who have run the table at this point at 15-0.  They’ve beaten teams both in Section IV and out, such as their 5-1 win over Saratoga Springs on Saturday, or their perfect 4-0 run in Myrtle Beach.  It will be really tough for any team to defeat them.

 

* MAC.  The top two teams that have emerged are Deposit-Hancock and Bainbridge-Guilford.  D-H defeated B-G 6-1 last week, with D-H starter Addison Makowski taking a no-hitter into the 7th before the Bobcats made a little bit of noise.  Makowski has two no-no’s this season, and is capable of doing it again at any point in continuing the rich pitching tradition of that program.  As for the final two teams to complete the semi-finals, Sidney and Delhi would appear to be in the lead, with Greene slightly behind.  However, Greene has lost both contests to those two teams.

 

* Delaware.  There is possible scenario of a three-way tie atop the division, so straws had to be drawn since normally it’s only the top two that go right to the Championship game.  Roxbury/Gilboa was the lucky winner, as they will get the bye to Thursday and await the winner of Charlotte Valley at Windham-Ashland-Jewett on Tuesday, if that three-way tie happens.  These teams met on April 29, as W-A-J won 10-1.  Hannah Tuttle pitched a two-hitter and gathered two doubles at the plate.  It was only a 4-1 game going into the 5th, but W-A-J put up six runs as, incredibly, four hitters were hit by pitches.  Some errors also did CV in, and the onslaught was on.  Obviously, CV needs to play a much cleaner game this time around and get their bats going more.  That’s something they’ve done plenty of times this year, as they just won the Doug Calhoun Classic with wins of 21-3 over Walton/Downsville and 9-5 over Laurens/Milford.

 

* Tri-Valley.  The Semi-finals are set: #4 Schenevus vs. #1 Morris/Edmeston at Oneonta All-Star Village on Tuesday, and Laurens/Milford at Richfield Springs on Wednesday.  The Championship will be on Friday.  I’ll wait for a little more clarification on this before giving a preview for sure.  Of the two games listed, Morris/Edmeston just beat Schenevus 5-3 on April 29, and Richfield Springs edged Laurens/Milford 9-5 on the same day.

 

* Here’s a look at the big games coming up this week, as the regular season wraps up, and league playoffs get going:

            - Monday: Maine-Endwell at Elmira, Vestal at Union-Endicott, Chenango Forks at Oneonta, Susquehanna Valley at Chenango Valley, Waverly at Windsor

            - Tuesday: Delaware League Semi-final (tentative): Charlotte Valley at Windham-Ashland-Jewett, Tri-Valley Semi-final: Schenevus vs. Morris/Edmeston at Oneonta All-Star Village, MAC Semi-finals, Union-Endicott at Corning, Elmira at Horseheads

            - Wednesday: Tri-Valley Semi-final: Laurens/Milford at Richfield Springs, Chenango Valley at Chenango Forks

            - Thursday: IAC Small School Championship at Wells College, 3:00: Tioga vs. Union Springs, IAC Large School Championship at Wells College, 5:00: Lansing vs. Edison, Delaware League Championship (tentative): Roxbury/Gilboa vs. Semi-final winner, MAC Championship, Horseheads at Windsor, Chenango Forks at Susquehanna Valley

            - Friday: Tri-Valley Championship, Thomas at Maine-Endwell

            - Saturday: STAC Semi-finals and Championship at Chenango Valley, Bainbridge-Guilford, Oneonta, and Seton at Mudville Tournament

 

* There’s a lot going on this week in Section IV softball.  Enjoy all of the big games!

4/28/24

 

Saturday brought a great day of action all across Section IV, with all six Mary Testa Tournaments getting every game in, despite some rain in the afternoon.  Let’s recap the week that was in Section IV:

 

* We’ll start off at Greenlight Park, where Susquehanna Valley calls the former BAGSAI site home for this season, as their school is getting turf installed.  It was the only site where each participant was strictly from Section IV, and it did not disappoint.  The first game saw Edison stop SV’s unbeaten streak to start the season at 11.  It was in comeback fashion as well, as SV got on the board first on Madison Evans’ RBI single in the 2nd.  In the 4th, Kailey Ripley’s double scored Gabby Milazzo, and Ripley scored soon after on Charlee Storman’s RBI single.  That was all Milazzo would need in the circle, as she went the distance, giving up eight hits and striking out five.  That’s on the low end for her lofty standards, so it’s good for Edison to know their defense can win games too.  SV ace LilliOnna D’Introno struck out 12, but Edison was able to hang 13 hits on her.  I fully expect to see these teams cross paths in a few weeks’ time in the Class B playoffs.  If this game was any indication, it will go right down to the final pitch.

 

* SV bounced right back by beating Elmira handily in the final game of the day, 18-6.  What you probably didn’t know was that Elmira was up 6-3 going into the 5th, but the SV offense exploded for 15 runs in the final three frames.  Kylee Richardson (double) and Danica LaBarre (single) each drove in a pair of runs to give the Sabers the lead for good.  Paige Weaver was 4-for-4 with four runs scored, and LaBarre cleared the bases with a triple in the 6th, part of her seven RBI day.

 

* In between, Elmira earned a 5-1 win over Edison, as all three teams went 1-1 on the day.  That shows how strong each team is.  Ava Cornacchio gave up only four hits.  The Express took the early lead on a Ryleigh Ogden two-run triple in the 1st, then got separation with three more runs in the 3rd.  Addison Taft and Addisyn Chorney each had run-scoring singles, and another run was tacked on via error.

 

* At Chenango Valley, Corning got a split on the day.  They lost their first game to a very strong team from Abington Heights, Pennsylvania 7-2 (who were coming off a 6-0 win over Chenango Valley).  In the final game vs. CV, Corning found themselves in an immediate 3-0 hole thanks to some walks and singles.  There was no hangover, however, as they came right back and put up a 10-spot in the bottom of the frame.  Sophia Polzella started it all with a leadoff walk.  Matti Johnston then tripled her home and scored on an errant throw, and Corning had two runs back.  The onslaught was then on, as Kayleigh Sparks and Polzella hit back-to-back home runs, and 14 batters appeared to take the 10-3 lead.  Lauren DeRosa tacked on an inside-the-park home run for good measure, and the game was over after five innings.

 

* Two teams that appeared in State Championship weekend last June tangled in Windsor, as Deposit-Hancock squeaked by the Black Knights 3-1.  Much like in their 3-2 loss to Susquehanna Valley on April 15, it was Windsor’s defense that unraveled and let their opponent score some unearned runs.  Don’t be misled by that, though.  It’s D-H’s aggressive and masterful baserunning that puts so much pressure on the other team, leading to the opposing defense making mistakes at inopportune times.  All three runs were scored on passed balls and errors.  It ended up being a perfect day for D-H, who went on to down Class A Batavia 14-1.  Olivia Johnston hit leadoff and drove in four runs, and seven players recorded hits off a team that just blew by Tioga in the game before, 16-2.  It’s been said many times in the past, but so much credit has to be given to D-H coach Dan Briggs for constantly finding bigger competition to compete against.  They got one-hit and lost to Maine-Endwell 3-0 on Thursday, then bounced right back and got two huge wins a couple of days later.  That’s why they’re one of the best programs in the state!

 

* Some other notes from around the other Testa games: Maine-Endwell went from being no-hit against Webster Schroeder (a team that is currently unbeaten and won the Class AA State Championship two years ago), to beating Cohoes 14-1 later in the day.  There aren’t any M-E stats that I can specifically tell, because the Cohoes Gamechanger lists the players as “Player A” down to “Player J.”  “Player A” and "Player G” each drove in two runs, and “Player A” pitched a complete game (6-inning mercy rule).  Kudos to all “Players” in the lineup… real names be damned.

 

* Union-Endicott swept a pair at their home field, and Chenango Forks and Waverly each went one up, own down.  U-E started the day off very well with a 12-0 blanking of Forks, with Morgan Ashman driving in four, and Taylor McManus and Jordyn Frantz combining on a three-hitter.  Forks shrugged that off and got an exciting 7-6 victory over Canandaigua, scoring two in the 7th to surge back ahead.  Alexis Scott singled leading off, and tied the game on a steal of home a couple batters later.  Jessica Stone’s RBI single gave Forks the lead for good.  U-E capped their day with another big win, 16-4 over Canandaigua.  Waverly held off Johnson City 11-7, as the offense pounded out 16 hits, led by Madison Cron’s 4-for-4 day.  The Wolverines built a 10-2 lead before JC scored four in the 5th, but could get no closer.  Megan Apgar had three RBIs.  They then fell to Pittsford Sutherland 12-3, as the rain and wind were whipping around.

 

* Give the man behind this tournament, Jim Testa of Union-Endicott, plenty of praise for bringing in quality competition for the Section IV teams to face.  Canandaigua, Abington Heights, Pittsford Sutherland, Webster Schroeder, Cohoes, and Batavia combined to go 6-4 against some of the very best Section IV has to offer.  Keep those teams in mind when it comes state playoffs time.

 

* There’s a couple of notable unbeaten teams remaining.  Union Springs has put up double digits in eight of their nine games, and in the one they haven’t, they beat Southern Cayuga 3-1.  Grace Chalupnicki has a no-hitter this season, and leads a team that is one of the tops in the IAC. Bainbridge-Guilford is 10-0 after a four-win week.  They won two close games (4-2 over Sidney, 8-7 over Unatego) and two blowouts (24-3 over Walton/Downsville, 18-3 over Harpursville).  While B-G still has to get by Deposit-Hancock in the MAC, they do not have to worry about D-H in sectionals, as B-G is in Class C and D-H in Class D.  Plus, Edison has been moved up to Class B, making Class C wide open this year.  Union Springs is also in Class C, so keep an eye on both of these teams going forward.

 

* Next week, we’ll take a closer look at the individual league races across Section IV, as it’s almost playoff time with May here on Wednesday.

 

* In the meantime, here’s the big games coming up this week.  Monday has plenty of great action, with some big tournaments this weekend to cap it off:

            - Monday: Corning at Elmira, Horseheads at Sidney, Union-Endicott at Vestal, Chenango Valley at Windsor, Waverly at Owego, Susquehanna Valley at Oneonta, Moravia at Union Springs, Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Charlotte Valley at Windham-Ashland-Jewett, Morris/Edmeston at Schenevus

            - Tuesday: Elmira at Horseheads, Southern Cayuga at Tioga

            - Wednesday: Horseheads at Corning, Union-Endicott at Maine-Endwell, Windsor at Susquehanna Valley, Union Springs at Moravia, Spencer-Van Etten/Candor at Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour, Delhi at Bainbridge-Guilford, Windham-Ashland-Jewett at Roxbury/Gilboa, Morris/Edmeston at Greene

            - Thursday: Waverly at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Deposit-Hancock at Bainbridge-Guilford, Charlotte Valley at Morris/Edmeston

            - Friday: Union-Endicott at Horseheads, Waverly at Chenango Forks, Windsor at Oneonta, Moravia at Union Springs, Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Tioga at Owego, Schenevus at Roxbury/Gilboa

            - Saturday: Vestal at Camden Invitational, Moribito Tournament at Greenlight Park (Horseheads, Edison, Deposit-Hancock), SFCU Tournament at Oneonta All-Star Village (Bainbridge-Guilford, Sidney, Seton, Norwich), Doug Calhoun Tournament at Charlotte Valley (Charlotte Valley, Walton/Downsville, Laurens/Milford, Worcester)

            - Sunday: Moribito Tournament at Greenlight Park (Horseheads, Edison, Deposit-Hancock)

 

* The weather is warming up with lots of great games on the schedule.  Enjoy the week!

4/21/24

 

We are rolling through the month of April, as teams are battling both their opponents and the weather!  Despite the rain, plenty of action still took place this week.  Let’s take a look at it.

 

* Monday was a very nice day (that yellow circle in the sky I think called sun, and decent enough temperature), and a couple of big games in STAC took place.  Susquehanna Valley went to Windsor and took care of business 3-2.  The game was knotted at 1-1 when SV plated a couple in the 5th, and it was the Windsor defense that did them in.  Leadoff hitter Julia Ricci reached on a botched pop-up in the infield, and Kylee Richardson walked two outs later.  Danica LaBarre drove in Ricci with an infield single, and Richardson scored on a wild pitch to go up 3-1.  Windsor got a run back on an RBI double by Ashlee Hagerman in the bottom of the 5th, but SV starter LilliOnna D’Introno shut the door after, working around a little traffic on the bases.  She finished with 12 strikeouts, and Windsor starter Danica Ball had 10.  The rematch is on May 1 at SV, who are playing their home games at the new Greenlight Park at BCC, formally known as BAGSAI.  Circle that one.

 

* The other big result from STAC on Monday was Union-Endicott’s dramatic 5-4 win over Maine-Endwell in 8 innings.  With U-E up 4-1 going into the 7th, Mariana Cruz stepped up huge for M-E with a clutch three-run homer to tie it up.  To extra innings they went before Dominika Diaz walked it off for U-E with a run-scoring double.  Both teams went away from home for some good competition this weekend.  U-E went to the Williamsport Tournament and went 1-2, with a win over Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania.  M-E dropped a couple of tough ones to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Averill Park.  Win or lose, it’s always encouraging to see teams get out of the comfort zones a bit and take on teams from other areas.  It will certainly pay off, too.

 

* Speaking of which, a result that definitely caught my eye was Deposit-Hancock downing Elmira 3-2 on Saturday, with the game played at a neutral location in Greenlight Park.  This was a game originally scheduled for last Saturday, so it was good to see both teams work together to still make it happen.  Elmira built a 2-0 lead an RBI single by Addisyn Chorney and Ava Cornacchio scoring on an error.  D-H started their comeback in the 5th.  Elmira gave that error right back, as Abby Russell scored with two outs to make it 2-1.  Addison Makowski, a First Team All-State selection for the Class D state champs from last year, proved why she is who she is with a two-run home run in the 6th to give D-H the lead for good.  Makowski added in 12 strikeouts in the circle.  Both teams could very well find themselves back at Greenlight Park in just over a month playing for Section IV championships (Elmira in AAA, D-H in D), so it’s good for them to be familiar with the new turf there.

 

* Two other non-league games (both STAC vs. MAC) that had close results were Oneonta defeating Delhi, and Sidney downing Chenango Valley.  Oneonta already has a huge road victory over Windsor this season, and were able to get a comeback win over visiting Delhi on Tuesday.  Delhi was down 7-5 heading into their half of the 7th, but were able to take advantage of two errors, two walks, and a hit batter to tie it.  It could have been worse, but Delhi’s own baserunning did them in, as the last out was recorded when the runner failed to tag up from 3rd.  Delhi took the lead in the 8th to go up 8-7.  That set the stage for the dramatics, as Oneonta’s Ivy Tice smashed a two-run bomb to center for the walk-off, 9-8 victory.  Sidney went to CV on Friday and took the lead for good in the 5th.  Chloie Taylor’s two-run single tied it at 4, and she scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.  Ava Cirigliano, who finished with 11 strikeouts, added an RBI single in the 6th.  She was able to hold the Warriors scoreless over the final three frames.

 

* One team to keep an eye on in Class B this year is Edison.  People might not even realize they are in Class B, as they’ve been dominating Class C for many years.  But with the sixth classification added this year across New York (Class AAA), it caused some schools to reshuffle where they land.  Class B has the unique distinction of having two current Section IV champions in Windsor and now Edison.  Last year, Edison downed a very strong Elmira Notre Dame team 2-1 to win Class C in a game that featured a one-hitter by Gabby Milazzo.  She’s back again, and they have won three straight games by a combined score of 48-3.  Milazzo threw a five-inning perfect game in a 21-0 win over Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour.  That was no easy feat, as WG/O-M beat Edison 5-4 back on April 10, and have been enjoying a great season.  Come sectionals time, it will be interesting to see how Edison fares in possible matchups against some of the STAC teams in Class B, including Windsor and Susquehanna Valley.  The Spartans are no strangers to winning, going all the way to the State Semi-final last year.  There’s no reason to think they won’t be ready for the challenge against new schools in the postseason.

 

* Coming up this Saturday is my favorite tournament in Section IV, the Mary Testa Tournament.  It features several non-league games between teams that don’t get many chances to face off with each other.  Over the last several years, the typical April weather has reared its ugly head time and time again for this tournament.  Last year was a cold, miserable day, with three of the seven tournaments not taking place.  As I type this, the weather currently looks like 60 with possible rain.  We’ll see what it ends up doing, but at least it’s not 40 like it was last year.  There are plenty of great teams from around Section IV participating in this, along with some from outside the area.

 

* The Section IV vs. Section IV games in the Testa Tournament that really stand out are Windsor vs. Deposit-Hancock, Chenango Valley vs. Corning, Johnson City vs. Waverly, and Chenango Forks vs. Union-Endicott.  Plus, the three-team round robin between Susquehanna Valley, Edison, and Elmira.  At the bottom of this entry, the full schedule is posted across the six sites. Should be a big day of great softball!

 

* Hopefully, teams have been able to go outside more often and practice on their fields.  If there’s one thing that has jumped out a bit in looking at box scores and reading game reports, it’s the number of errors committed on defense.  These are high school kids, so that’s not to bash or even blame them, as a lot of their practices have most likely taken place indoors.  Think about it: How many sports are there where you can’t even practice on your field/court as the season starts?  Other than softball and baseball, I’m not sure there are any others.  You can get all the reps you want inside (and of course, that helps), but it’s hard to truly replicate what you’ll see in games if you can’t go outside on the diamond.  As the season approaches the midway point, I’d count on seeing some cleaner action as teams are able to shake off the rust with better practice conditions.

 

* Here’s a look at the big games coming up this week.  As always, dates are subject to change:

            - Monday: Maine-Endwell at Vestal, Waverly at Susquehanna Valley, Tioga at Union Springs, Delhi at Deposit-Hancock

            - Tuesday: Spencer-Van Etten/Candor at Edison, Sidney at Bainbridge-Guilford, Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs at Schenevus

            - Wednesday: Elmira at Corning, Waverly at Chenango Valley, Lansing at Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour, Moravia at Tioga

            - Thursday: Deposit-Hancock at Maine-Endwell, Chenango Forks at Chenango Valley, Oneonta at Johnson City, Sidney at Delhi, Charlotte Valley at Morris/Edmeston, Schenevus at Hunter-Tannersville

            - Friday: (No big games now, as it’s a rare light day)

            - Saturday: Union Springs at Newark Valley, Delhi at Roxbury/Gilboa, Laurens Tournament

 

* Here's the full schedule for the Mary Testa Tournament held on Saturday across various sites:

            - at Union-Endicott: 10 am-Union-Endicott vs. Chenango Forks, noon-Chenango Forks vs. Canandaigua, 2 pm-Union-Endicott vs. Canandaigua

            - at Maine-Endwell: 11 am-Maine-Endwell vs. Webster Schroeder, 1 pm-Webster Schroeder vs. Cohoes, 3 pm-Maine-Endwell vs. Cohoes

            - at Chenango Valley: 10 am-Chenango Valley vs. Abington Heights, PA, noon-Corning vs. Abington Heights, PA, 2 pm-Chenango Valley vs. Corning

            - at Greenlight Park (Susquehanna Valley home site): 10 am-Susquehanna Valley vs. Edison, noon-Edison vs. Elmira, 2 pm-Susquehanna Valley vs. Elmira

            - at Johnson City: 10 am-Johnson City vs. Waverly, noon-Waverly vs. Pittsford Sutherland, 2 pm-Johnson City vs. Pittsford Sutherland

            - at Windsor: 11 am-Windsor vs. Deposit-Hancock and Tioga vs. Batavia, 1 pm-Championship and Consolation games

 

* Lots of great games this week, so get out there and enjoy it!

4/14/24

 

We had a full week of action in Section IV, as every team in all five leagues is now on the board.  The last team to play was Cherry Valley-Springfield/Sharon Springs in the Tri-Valley, as they downed Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville of Section II 7-6 on Saturday.  That might be a battle of the longest names we’ll ever see!  Even with the up and down weather, it’s good to see every team take the field at least once.  Many teams from the Delaware and Tri-Valley have played only one or two games thus far.

 

Let’s take a look back at the week that was.

 

* Last week we looked at Vestal and the red hot start they’re off to.  That only got better this week with a very impressive 20-6 win over Maine-Endwell, the defending Class A state champions.  The top three in the order told the story.  Kendall Brady hit leadoff and went 4-for-5 with a home run, double, and 4 RBIs.  Caitlyn Petteys hit 3rd and went 3-for-3 with a home run, double, and 5 RBIs.  Perhaps the most interesting stat line was #2 hitter Lauren Policare, who had no official at-bats because she took five walks!  That led to four runs for her.  They also had production in the bottom of the order, led by Alessandra Carter’s three hits.  It’s still relatively early in the season, but right now, they’re the top team to beat both in STAC and Class AA.  Heck, maybe even the whole state.

 

* Another team from STAC making noise is Susquehanna Valley, and it all starts with pitcher LilliOnna D’Introno.  Through six games, she already has recorded three no-hitters over Owego, Norwich, and Binghamton.  Through 35 innings, she’s only surrendered nine hits.  She’s also hitting over .400 (.412), part of a team that currently has six players hitting at least .400.  Leadoff hitter Paige Weaver leads the charge with a .682 average (15-for-22).  The competition will start to heat up this week, starting with a road trip to Windsor and their brand new turf.  Windsor had a close 3-2 loss to upstart Oneonta this week, but bounced back by blanking Norwich on Thursday.  This will be a rematch of last year’s Class B Semi-finals, won by Windsor 7-2, who rode that win all the way to the State Semi-final.  A pitching matchup of Danica Ball vs. D’Introno will be fun to watch.

 

* The wildest week might have come from the STAC Central, as the teams traded wins.  Waverly was down 6-0 to Chenango Valley, only to storm back and take a 9-6 lead, then CV took a 12-9 lead, Waverly tied it at 12 in the 6th, then won it on a walk-off home run by Hannah Carpenter.  Got all of that?  There was a total of 260 pitches thrown in this game.  The same day, Owego edged Seton 7-6, part of their 2-0 week that included a 7-3 win over Chenango Forks.  Brooklyn Gaurnier hit a walk-off homer to down Seton.  Seton went 0-3 this week, but give them lots of credit for their close losses to Owego and Chenango Forks (1-0).  In their 18-6 loss to Chenango Valley, they actually started off the game up 4-0 before the CV bats got going and their own defense let them down.  Still, plenty to learn from.  This division looks to be a true battle all season long.

 

* Over in the IAC, one team that has started off on fire is Spencer-Van Etten/Candor (SVEC for short).  They did something very few teams have done in recent memory, and that’s take three straight from Elmira Notre Dame (END had a victory over Sayre, PA wedged in between).  None of the games were close either, with wins of 14-1, 12-3, and 11-1 (the last two games played as a doubleheader on Friday).  As the Tioga County Sports Report pointed out, “The Spencer-Van Etten/Candor softball team proved that Wednesday’s 14-1 victory over Elmira Notre Dame was no fluke.”  In the first game, a five-inning mercy win, Roni Presher gave up only three hits, and Phoebe Swartz and Nicola Soper combined for seven RBIs.  The doubleheader sweep was more of the same, with Aubrie Kastenhuber pitching the first game and Presher the second.  Simply put, losses like this just don’t happen to Elmira ND.  A quick look into the archives of this site, which goes back to 2017, shows that this is their first three-game skid vs. IAC teams.  Who knows the last time it’s happened, if at all?  (Doubtful it was 2016 when they won a Class C state title, or 2015 when they lost in the state championship.)  Now SVEC gets to play a three-game set vs. Edison, who like Elmira ND, have built their program up into one of the best in the state.  Gabby Milazzo, Edison’s ace, pitched a five-inning perfect game with eight strikeouts over Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour in a 21-0 whitewashing.  That was two days after WG/O-M pulled a 5-4 upset over Edison, so it was quite the bounceback victory.  This will be a great test to see if SVEC can hang with the best.

 

* Another team that has made a statement in the early going is the Delhi Bulldogs of the MAC.  They defeated the combined Walton/Downsville 17-0 on two separate occasions, but perhaps the most impressive win was a 13-12 nod over Greene, the defending MAC champions.  Alli Ferrara has been the star in the circle with three hits total surrendered in the two W/D wins, but it was her bat that won the Greene game.  Her triple in the 7th led to the winning run.  The 12 strikeouts she collected pitching certainly didn’t hurt either.  Delhi has had a strong basketball program (girls and boys) for many years, but softball hasn’t been as kind until the last couple of years.  They qualified for sectionals last year before falling to SVEC 6-2 in the Class C First Round.  That put their all-time Section IV playoffs record at 0-5 (0-6 combined with Downsville last year).  Could this be the year they break through and make school history with a victory in sectionals?  Time will tell, but to have a pitcher with huge strikeout potential like Ferrara taking the ball each game, they have to like their chances.

 

* Warmer weather seems to be the norm coming up this week (I know, I know… but let’s think positively).  Here’s a look at some of the big games coming up, with Monday being absolutely loaded:

            - Monday: Corning at Horseheads, Johnson City at Vestal, Maine-Endwell at Union-Endicott, Chenango Forks at Waverly, Owego at Chenango Valley, Susquehanna Valley at Windsor, Lansing at Dryden, Union Springs at Marathon, Edison at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Elmira Notre Dame at Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour, Greene at Bainbridge-Guilford, Stamford/Jefferson at Charlotte Valley, Richfield Springs at Schenevus

            - Tuesday: Delhi at Oneonta, Charlotte Valley at Bainbridge-Guilford

            - Wednesday: Elmira at Union-Endicott, Horseheads at Maine-Endwell, Windsor at Chenango Forks, Owego at Waverly, Dryden at Lansing, Marathon at Union Springs, Edison at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour at Elmira Notre Dame, Roxbury/Gilboa vs. Morris/Edmeston at Cooperstown All-Star Village

            - Thursday: Johnson City at Chenango Valley, Delhi at Bainbridge-Guilford, Sidney at Greene

            - Friday: Vestal at Elmira, Oneonta at Waverly, Lansing at Dryden, Union Springs at Marathon, Spencer-Van Etten/Candor at Edison, Elmira Notre Dame at Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour, Greene at Deposit-Hancock, Richfield Springs at Morris/Edmeston

            - Saturday: Sidney at Susquehanna Valley, Windsor at Mudville Tournament (vs. Troy and Schuylerville), Dryden at Greene

 

* Enjoy some softball this week!

4/7/24

 

Welcome back to the blog, 2024 edition!  While many of our Section IV teams haven’t taken the field yet, a bunch of others have.  Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen so far.

 

* Vestal already has six games in thanks to some good weather at the end of March, and a Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach.  Six up, six down for the Golden Bears.  They got right into things with two tough matchups against Corning (5-1 win) and Horseheads (5-2 win).  Against Corning, Kendall Brady started things off with a leadoff homer, and they never looked back in knocking off the 2023 Class AA champs.  Two days later, Horseheads came to Vestal in battle of Class AA contenders this year (Corning is up to Class AAA).  This time, Vestal jumped out to a 2-0 lead, as Reilly Storer held the Blue Raiders to one earned run (two total) with six strikeouts.  Through two games, that put up her totals up to two earned runs with 17 strikeouts against two very good teams.

 

The Golden Bears then went a perfect 4-0 in Myrtle Beach, defeating teams from West Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina.  Their closest game was a 6-4 victory over Elizabeth Seton, MD.  Tied up at 4-4 entering the 6th, Adrienne Mayes singled to leadoff the inning.  After being sacrificed to 2nd, she soon stole 3rd and scored on a wild pitch.  An RBI single by UConn commit Caitlyn Petteys made it 6-4.  While this offense has plenty of power, they also showed they can score with small ball and good baserunning.  That’s a great sign going forward.

* Two other teams that made the Myrtle Beach trip were Chenango Forks and Susquehanna Valley.  Each only got two games in, with mixed results.  In Forks’ first game, they got within 4-3 to Poca, WV, but were unable to tie it up in the 7th.  In the next game, they built a 5-2 lead over Carlisle, OH entering the 6th, but couldn’t hold on, as Carlisle scored seven unanswered runs to win 9-5.  Susquehanna Valley dominated their two games.  It started off with an 8-0 blanking of Trinity Christian, WV.  LilliOnna D’Introno hurled a two-hitter, and Kylee Richardson and Paige Weaver combined for seven hits and six runs.  Their next game was more of the same, a 16-5 win over Robert C. Byrd, WV.  D’Introno had 14 strikeouts, and the offense was led by Weaver’s three hits, and two hits apiece by Richardson, D’Introno, Danica LaBarre, and Madison Evans.  Win or lose, it’s great experience for all of these teams to get away for a bit, test your skills against unknown teams, and learn from it to get better once you return home.

 

* There was a milestone reached on March 28, and it was a big one.  Roxbury’s Jane Ware collected her 500th career victory, as the combined Roxbury/Gilboa squad dominated Margaretville 19-3.  Nate Lull was at the game and noted the big crowd that was there.  An 8-run 4th inning put the game away for good after R/G held a 4-2 edge.  Mikalya Wright had a strong game in the circle.  A great picture was shared on Nate’s X feed, showing many faces from the past that came for the big moment.

Along the way, Coach Ware has won 13 Delaware League championships, including three of the last four, with 2020 and 2021 not holding championship games.  She took over program in 1982, one year after Roxbury’s only Section IV championship with a 10-9 win over Worcester.  That was an exciting game, as Sue Van Aken hit a walk-off single to score Sharon Regan for the Class C title.  They’ve appeared in six Class D Championship games since then, mostly running into the Afton dynasty that won 16 straight from 1995-2010, and the most recent vs. eventual state champion Deposit-Hancock in 2022.  Even though the two schools are combined, Roxbury and Gilboa still have one of the lowest classification numbers of 74 (Elmira has the largest with 1,340).  To have a team that is not only competitive, but still a contender for league and sectional titles, is a testament to the type of program Coach Ware has built.  Much respect!

 

* The combined Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour team has opened up 2-0 with a couple of blowout victories.  They walloped Dryden 23-5 in their opener, a team that one year ago was playing for an IAC Large School Championship.  A few days later, they followed that up with a 17-1 win over Trumansburg.  It’s early and the competition will only get better with division games on the horizon vs. Edison, Elmira Notre Dame, and SVEC.  But, it has to be encouraging to start off so fast.

* The week ahead looks warm, and after many schools just suffered through a cold Spring Break, we’ll take it!  Here’s a peek at some of the big games coming up.  As usual, please note that games could, and sometimes do, change dates.  Use the “2024 Schedules” page to click on the school you are checking the game status of:

            - Monday: Oneonta at Windsor

            - Tuesday: Horseheads at Elmira, Johnson City at Union-Endicott, Chenango Valley at Waverly, Edison at Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour, Spencer-Van Etten/Candor at Elmira Notre Dame, Roxbury/Gilboa at Charlotte Valley

            - Wednesday: Union-Endicott at Corning, Vestal at Maine-Endwell, Owego at Chenango Forks, Susquehanna Valley at Oneonta, Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour at Edison, Elmira Notre Dame at Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, Deposit-Hancock at Sidney

            - Thursday: Greene at Bainbridge-Guilford, Schenevus at Charlotte Valley, Laurens/Milford at Deposit-Hancock

            - Friday: Elmira at Horseheads, Maine-Endwell at Johnson City, Union-Endicott at Vestal, Edison at Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour, Sidney at Unatego

            - Saturday: Horseheads at Deposit-Hancock, Johnson City at Chenango Valley, Cayuga County Tournament (Union Springs vs. Weedsport, Southern Cayuga vs. Port Byron)

 

* Enjoy the week, and get out there and watch some softball!

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