The ride that the Mechanicville softball team has enjoyed this postseason comes to an end today, win or lose.
“So, why not go out there and win two more games?” said Red Raiders coach Don Arceneaux, whose team has outscored its opponents, 29-5, in four playoff games.
“We’re hitting, playing good defense, getting good pitching,” said Arceneaux. “If they can play two more games like that, they’ll achieve their goal.”
Mechanicville, which beat Section VII champ Ticonderoga, 14-0, in Wednesday’s regional final, is one of four Section II teams to reach the state final four today at the Binghamton Area Girls Softball Assiciation Inc. complex.
The Red Raiders play Section III champ Pulaski in a Class C 9 a.m. semifinal. A win would give Mechanicville its second appearance in a state final in three years.
Mechanicville is led by a quartet of seniors who were part of the team that played for the Class B title in 2006. Kelly Murphy, Toni Liberty, Nina Cervini and Lindsey McKeever are getting a second chance to end a postseason with a win, after falling to eventual state champ Hoosic Valley in the Section II “CC” final last spring.
“They’re a great group of seniors who have continued in the tradition of good players and teams we’ve had,” said Arceneaux. “They’ve shown the younger players how to be successful, even in the way they take infield before the game.”
That group, as well as Shannon McBride, an eighth-grade reserve on the ’06 team, has also helped Mechanicville jump out to early leads in the postseason. The Red Raiders have scored in the first inning in all four playoff games, and have put up a total of 24 runs in the first three innings of those games.
“Small ball, power, running the bases, we’ve been able to do what we needed and get ahead early,” said Arceneaux, whose daughter, Anna, tossed a two-hitter in the regional final. “It’s helped Anna ease into games.”
Pulaski advanced by beating Seton Catholic of Binghamton, 1-0, as junior Ashley
Snyder fired a two-hitter with 16 strikeouts.
“It’s not going to be easy,” said Arceneaux of Mechanicville’s attempt to add to a Section II-best four state titles. “Pulaski is good, and so is Bolivar on the other side of the bracket.”
After a slow start to the season, the Red Raiders are playing on the final day of the softball schedule.
“We had some players who hadn’t settled into their positions,” said Arceneaux, whose team has lost just twice since a 5-6 start. “Just to be playing on the final Saturday of the season means a lot to this group.”
South Glens Falls is two wins away from a second consecutive state Class A title. The 20-0 Bulldogs meet Section I champ Pearl River in a 1:30 p.m. semi.
Another returnee to the final four, Cohoes, gets Section VI champ Fredonia in an 11 a.m, Class B semi.
Argyle, the section’s Class D winner, draws Section IV’s Afton in a 9 a.m. semifinal.
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