To get its sixth, the Shenendehowa softball team had to weather the sixth.
Mandy Ferro worked out of a sixth-inning jam, and Jennifer Mongiovi lined a two-run home run Friday night at Clifton Common as the Lady Plainsmen beat Colonie, 4-1, to win the Section II Class AA championship, their sixth consecutive large-school title.
“Barb [Shea] and I told the team before the game that this is our season,” said second baseman Lauren Lawler, who, with fellow senior Shea, has been a big part of the last three titles. “It would be nice to win states, but our goal this season was to get the sixth straight sectional title.”
Shenendehowa, 24-2, will play the Section III champion in the regional final on Tuesday at the Adirondack Sports Complex. Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse play for that title tonight.
Colonie didn’t make it easy for Shenendehowa, as Ferro, finishing her first season as a varsity pitcher, found herself facing a bases-loaded situation in the sixth with her team up, 3-0.
A visit to the pitcher’s circle by coach Dan D’Amboise helped Ferro regroup. After she walked cleanup hitter Natalie Triano to force in a run, Ferro escaped further damage, ending the inning with a strikeout.
“I told her that even though the bases were loaded, they’ve still got to get a big rally together. They still haven’t scored,” said D’Amboise. “I told her to be just be calm, pitch her game and stay focused. She smiled and went back to work.”
One-out singles by Kayla Kuilema and Julie Maio and a walk to Kayla Lynch prompted D’Amboise’s trip to the pitching circle.
“We just need to break the
momentum a little,” he said. “They’re not going to get two big hits if we stay within ourselves.
“Mandy stayed calm and collected through the whole game. She didn’t get frazzled,” said D’Amboise. “She’s learned to trust her defense. Her defense made the plays behind her.”
“I had to calm down throw strikes and trust the defense and go for the outs,” said Ferro. “I know I don’t have to get the striketouts, I can get the ground balls.”
Ferro finished with nine strikeouts, fanning the side in the seventh.
“We wanted to cut down the strikeouts and put the ball in play, and we did,” said Colonie coach Chris Robilotti, who saw Ferro strike out 17 in a late-season loss to Shenendehowa. “We were one big hit away.”
Mongiovi’s shot over the center-field fence off Colonie starter Toni Fusco got Shenendehowa a lead, and the Lady Plainsmen added a run in the third on Shea’s two-out single.
Mongiovi and her teammates had been preparing to face Fusco, and worked on waiting on her low and away pitches.
“We were expecting the drop [pitch] outside. But the one I hit wasn’t there,” said the senior first baseman, who picked up a pitch got more of the plate.
“It was an outstanding battle on Jennifer’s part,” D’Amboise said of the at-bat.
“We’ve been on the good end of home runs the last two games, and today, we weren’t,” said Robilotti, whose eighth-seeded Raiders made it to the final for the second straight year. “That’s a great momentum builder.”
“It broke the game open. I knew when she hit it, that we were
going to win the game,” said Lawler. “Two runs is huge in softball.”
D’Amboise knew Colonie would be a tough opponent.
“The thing that separated Colonie from some of our other opponents was that they knew they could beat us,” he said. “They came to the field with that mindset.”
Still, it was Shea, Lawler and company who held the championship plaque aloft, continuing the program’s remarkable recent postseason success.
“It’s a great feeling every time you win sectionals,” said the senior shortstop. “It never gets old.”
“Each one, individually, is extremely difficult,” said D’Amboise. “The competition in Section II is as good as any in the state.”
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s season ended at the hands of South Glens Falls for the second straight season.
The Bulldogs survived a Spartans’ threat in the first inning, and went on to a 3-0 win in the Class A title game.
Burnt Hills had runners on first and third with one out in the first inning, but Marissa Carpenter did not permit a run as the defending state champs remained undefeated.
Cohoes beat Hoosic Valley, 1-0, in the Class B championship game to repeat as Section II champions.
Hoosic Valley standout Jen Mineau, named the section’s top player prior to the game, gave up just one hit, but Stephanie Ladue’s single helped produce the run, which scored on an error.
Argyle beat Adirondack League rival Hartford, 7-4, in the Class D final.
SHENENDEHOWA 4, COLONIE 1
Colonie 000 001 0 — 1 4 1
Shenendehowa 021 001 x — 4 6 0
Fusco, Cordell (3), Probst (6) and Maio; Ferro and Peluso.
SOUTH GLENS FALLS 3,
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE 0
Burnt Hills 000 000 0 — 0 6
South Glens Falls 101 010 x — 3 9
Filak and Merchant; Carpenter and Perry.
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