It was business us usual for the Shenendehowa softball team Tuesday, from infield practice right through the final pitch of another strong effort by Mandy Ferro.
And the result was usual, as well, as the Lady Plainsmen rolled past Queensbury, 4-0, at the Lisha Kill Sports Complex and into their sixth consecutive Section II championship game.
“I think we’ve played two great games. We’ve played good team ball,” said Shenendehowa coach Dan D’Amboise, whose 23-2 team will go after a sixth straight large-school championship when it plays Colonie in the Class AA final Friday at 5 at Clifton Common.
Colonie dismantled Big 10 champion and No. 2 seed Troy, 8-1, in the other “AA” semi.
Ferro had a no-hitter for 52⁄3 innings, retiring 14 of the first 15 hitters she faced. After hitting Caitlin Schultze with a pitch with two out in the first, the 11th-grader retired the next 12 before Andre Ogden’s solid single broke up the no-hit bid.
It took Ferro a while to realize what she was doing.
“I actually did think about it,” she said of the no-hitter. “I was thinking they were putting a lot of balls in play, but they haven’t hit any past the infield. Of course, the next inning, they did get a hit.
“I just keep going out there and pitching my game.”
Ferro finished with a two-hitter. She struck out nine, and didn’t issue a walk as Shenendehowa blanked the Foothills Council runner-up in the semis for the second straight year.
“This is one of the best games Mandy has pitched all season,” said D’Amboise of the converted outfielder, who shut out Saratoga Springs, 3-0, in the quarterfinals. “She’s relying on her defense. If she gets behind in the count, she keeps it low and lets them hit it on the ground and trusts the defense.”
And the defense was solid, as the other 12 Queensbury outs were
recorded in the infield.
“Mandy always goes out there and gives us a good game,” said second baseman Lauren Lawler, who went 3-for-4 and scored a run. “She deserves a good infield and outfield playing behind her. She’s really stepped it up.”
Ferro almost helped her team to a big first inning, leading off the home first with a single. Lawler singled one out later, and Ferro stole third and came in when Queensbury third baseman Megan Mulcahy couldn’t handle Barb Shea’s sharply hit one-hopper.
Morgan Sprague gave Ferro a cushion in the fourth when she followed singles by Emilia Peluso and Jennifer Mongoivi with a
bases-clearing double to the fence in center on a 3-2 pitch.
“When it got to 3-2, I knew the pitch would have to be a good one because we had two runners on,” Sprague said. “It’s pretty much in your favor when it’s 3-2.
“My first at-bat, she was pitching me inside. I was ready for it.”
D’Amboise was relaxing as the runners were circling the bases.
“When that ball hit the ground, and we got the two runs, we figured we were sitting in a pretty nice spot,” he said. “Now, they’ve got to play for the big inning, and that’s awful hard to do.”
Especially given the way Ferro, whose varsity debut was less than auspicious, was dealing.
“The first scrimmage, I hit the first batter in the face,” she said. “Then I worked with the coaches and got my routine down.”
And the result has Shenendehowa back where it wants to be.
“We have confidence because we have the experience,” said Ferro. “We all know we can win this.”
Kayla Lynch cracked a two-run homer in the first to get Colonie started, as the seventh-seeded Garnet Raiders set up a rematch of last year’s Class AA final.
“You usually don’t get a lead that quickly on a hit like that,” said
Colonie coach Chris Robilotti, whose team added two runs in the second inning and finished with seven hits by winning their semifinal.
Senior Toni Fusco pitched the first four innings, her second start since returning from a broken hand.
“Calming,” said Robilotti of the influence Fusco brings to the team. “It’s like they’re thinking everything is the way its supposed to be.”
Colonie eliminated an unbeaten Troy team a year ago in the
“I’m not surprised so much that we’re in the finals,” he said. “We’ve played well.”
Katie Filak threw a one-hitter, and catcher Leanne Merchant blasted a three-run homer in the first inning as third-seeded Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake beat Colonial Council champ Lansingburgh, 5-0, in a Class A semifinal at the Adirondack Sports Complex.
Merchant’s blast followed a leadoff walk by Caitlyn Rana and a single by Erica Palleschi.
Filak struck out 10 and walked one, as the Spartans earned a
rematch with unbeaten state champ South Glens Falls in Friday’s championship game at Clifton Common.
Victoria Palleschi added a two-run single in the seventh for the Spartans.
Amanda Lupi’s one-out single in the fourth was the only hit given up by Filak.
Alexis Wallace and Amanda Perry both had three hits as South Glens Falls beat Glens Falls, 10-0.
Jen Mineau threw her second perfect game of the season as unbeaten Hoosic Valley edged Wasaren League rival Schuylerville, 1-0, in a Class B semi.
Mineau struck out 15, and the Indians played solid defense behind her.
“The 15 strikeouts were great, but we played very well defensively,” said Hoosic Valley coach Jim Seeley, whose team won the state Class C title last year. “We made some nice plays to support Jen.”
The Indians, 20-0 with their third win over the Black Horses this spring, used half of their four hits off Mikayla Wells to score in the third inning.
Jennifer Kier led off with a double, and after a sacrifice bunt, Emilee Bonnier singled to drive in the run.
The Indians will meet defending “B” champ Cohoes in Friday’s 5 p.m. final. The Tigers beat Greenville,
2-1, in the other semi.
Adirondack League rivals
Argyle and Hartford will meet for the Class D title Friday at 5 at Clifton Common. Hartford’s Jackie Petteys threw a one-hitter and struck out 11 in a 7-0 semifinal win over New Lebanon.
Argyle beat Fort Ann, 3-2, in eight innings.
Mechanicville takes on Lake George in the Class CC final
today at 3 at Clifton Common, and Western Athletic Conference rivals Duanesburg and Canajoharie play for the Class C championship, also today at 3 at Clifton Common.
The winners of those two games will play Friday at 5 at Clifton Common for the section’s Class C spot in regional play.
SHENENDEHOWA 4, QUEENSBURY 0
Queensbury 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Shenendehowa 100 210 x — 4 11 0
Petta, Ogden (5) and Schultze; Ferro and Peluso.
COLONIE 8, TROY 1
Colonie 220 000 4 — 8 7
Troy 000 000 1 — 1 5
Fusco, Cordell (5) and Maio; Belleville, Brinkman (3) and Jones.
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE 5,
Burnt Hills 300 000 2 — 5 7 2
Lansingburgh 000 000 0 — 0 1 0
Filak and Merchant; Glikes and Volz.
SOUTH GLENS FALLS 10,
GLENS FALLS 0
Glens Falls 000 000 0 — 0 3 8
South Glens Falls 302 410 x — 10 8 0
Mason and Daniels; Carpenter and Perry.
HOOSIC VALLEY 1, SCHUYLERVILLE 0
Schuylerville 000 000 0 — 0 0 0
Hoosic Valley 001 000 x — 1 4 0
Wells and Thiverge; Mineau and Bonnier.
HARTFORD 7, NEW LEBANON 1
New Lebanon 000 000 0 — 0 1 3
Hartford 001 402 x — 7 8 2
Springer and Moss; Petteys and Davis.
ARGYLE 2, FORT ANN 1
Fort Ann 001 000 00 — 1 7
Argyle 100 000 01 — 2 10
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: