Not even the elements could deny Mechanicville a state softball championship Saturday.
After dispensing with semifinal opponent Pulaski, 10-3, the Red Raiders waited out an hour-plus rain delay before hammering Section V champ Bolivar-Richburg, 11-1, in the state Class C final at the BAGSAI complex.
The state title was the fifth since 2000 for the Red Raiders, who forced both final-four opponents into numerous defensive mistakes with their fast-break style of play.
“This is the best thing ever. This is the way you want your high school career to end,” said senior center fielder and leadoff hitter Lindsey McKeever, who went 5-for-5 with four runs scored and two RBI in the title game. “It’s what the seniors have wanted all season.”
“Not many seniors can say they ended their season with a state championship,” said second baseman Kelly Murphy. “A bunch of us played a lot of sports together, and we wanted to win a state title.”
“This was huge. It’s what you play for your senior year,” added catcher Nina Cervini. “One of our goals once we couldn’t win the Colonial Council was to shoot for this, and we got it.”
“This is what every senior wants to do. What’s better than winning the state championship your senior year,” said left fielder Toni Liberty, who like classmates McKeever, Cervini and Murphy, saw a similar dream fall one game short in 2006.
McKeever made sure that wasn’t going to happen Saturday.
She set the tone when she singled and came around to score as the Red Raiders put up three runs in the first inning of the semifinal.
Mechanicville, batting first in both games, took quick control in both, leading 6-0 after four innings in the semis, and using a five-run second inning in the second game to get out to a 6-0 lead.
In their six postseason games, Mechaniville scored 33 runs. Saturday, the quick starts resulted in two-game totals of 21 runs and 23 hits, helping freshman pitcher Anna Arceneaux breeze to both wins
“Especially with a young pitcher, we want to start out with a lead every game we can to take the pressure right off her,” said the Siena College-bound McKeever, who finished the day with eight hits in 10 at bats, six runs scored and four driven in.
“It’s definitely more comfortable when you start ripping the ball the first inning,” Cervini said. “I know Anna gets more confident when she goes out there with a lead.”
“There’s a lot of pressure. But it relaxes me so much when we go out there and score a lot of runs,” Arceneaux said.
McKeever led the final off with a single, but the game was held up after her at bat, and the teams were sent to their buses until the weather cleared.
“We watched ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ ate a little, listened to music, hung out and talked about their defensive strategy,” said McKeever.
Then the Raiders picked up where they left off, with an Alyssa Russell bunt and a single from
Arceneaux resulting in McKeever throwing herself into home plate with the game’s first run.
“She’s a special player,” Mechanicville coach Don Arceneaux.
Anna Arceneaux not only turned in two strong efforts in the pitching circle — she had a no-hitter through 52⁄3 innings in the title game — but went 6-for-8 with six RBI hitting in the third spot.
Arceneneaux became the No. 1
starter when Shannon McBride missed a good deal of the season, due to illness.
“We battled without her for seven, eight nine games, and when she came back, it made us that much more stronger,” said coach Arceneaux, who moved McBride to first base and hit her behind cleanup batter Cervini.
Mechanicville was 7-6 at one point during the season, but won 15 of its last 17 games, losing only to reigning state champs South Glens Falls and Hoosic Valley in a tournament at the end of the regular season.
“This is a special group. It’s about the seniors and them taking the younger kids under their wing, and the younger kids wanting to play real hard for them.,” Arceneaux said.
South Glens Falls was the only other Section II team to get to the finals, but lost to Rochester Aquinas, 5-3, in the Class A championship game. The Bulldogs held an early 2-1 lead, but Aquinas struck for four runs in the fourth inning.
The Bulldogs defeated Pearl River in the semifinals, 3-2, on Ali LaRue’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, after Amanda Perry had hit a game-tying two-run home run in the fourth. South High finished 21-1.
Cohoes lost to Fredonia, 9-6, in the Class B semifinals, and Agyle fell to Afton, 6-0, in a Class D semifinal.
MECHANICVILLE 10, PULKASKI 3
Mechanicvillle 300 300 4 — 10 9 1
Pulaski 010 002 0 — 3 6 3
Arceneaux and Cervini; Synder, Ford (5) and Ford, Snyder (5).
Mechanicville 150 023 0 — 11 14 1
Bolivar-Rich. 000 000 1 — 1 4 5
Areceneaux and Cervini; Ingalls and Sisson.
SOUTH GLENS FALLS 3, PEARL RIVER 2
Pearl River 200 000 0 — 2 3 0
South Glens Falls 000 200 1 — 3 6 0
Scrima and Poloni; Carpenter and Perry.
AQUINAS 5, SOUTH GLENS FALLS 3
South Glens Falls 200 000 1 — 3 6 1
Aquinas 001 040 x — 5 6 6
Carpenter and Perry; Allen and Steinkirchner.
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