AMSTERDAM — Head coach Brenden Cetnar was just about done talking to a couple of reporters about Shelby LaMont, Sydney Szczepanik and the rest of his victorious Amsterdam softball team when he added with a smile, “don’t forget to mention the lucky pencil.”
Cetnar had that pencil handy for Thursday’s Section II Class A semifinal game with Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake to fill out his lineup and jot down the results, and for the 12th time this spring, the Rams prevailed.
LaMont was one of the standouts with a three-run home run, and Szczepanik handled the pitching chores in a 4-2 win that propelled the Rams into their first title game since 1982. On Saturday at 4 p.m. at Moreau Park, the fifth-seeded Rams (12-4) will take on the second-seeded South Glens Falls Bulldogs (15-0) to decide the championship.
“The games we lost, at least three of them, I didn’t have the lucky pencil,” Cetnar said of the much-sharpened instrument that’s approximately three inches long. “We’ll have it Saturday.”
The pencil is something the Rams joke about, but also believe in as a good luck charm. After all, their record is perfect with it, including an 8-4 quarterfinal win over fourth-seeded Mohonasen.
“I broke it at one game and had to find a sharpener,” Cetnar said. “My JV coach always has everything and had a sharpener to save the day.”
Amsterdam knows it will have to be super sharp to knock off a South Glens Falls team it lost to during the Foothills Council season 6-0.
“Everyone on this team has stepped up,” LaMont said after her ninth home run of the season helped the Rams top ninth-seeded Burnt Hills. “We’ll have to do it again. We know it’s going to be a tough game.”
South Glens Falls beat seventh-seeded Troy 6-0 in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Queensbury 7-2 in the semifinals. South Glens Falls was on the losing end of Class A title games in 2019 and 2018, and won the last of three straight championships in 2011.
Amsterdam’s softball program has never won a Section II championship. The last time Amsterdam made it to an area final was in 1982 when it fell to Niskayuna in the Class A title game.
More from The Daily Gazette: