Clifton Park

Shenendehowa softball powers past Ballston Spa

Shenendehowa’s Jada Lambright bats during a high school softball game against Ballston Spa at Shenendehowa in Clifton Park on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.
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Shenendehowa’s Jada Lambright bats during a high school softball game against Ballston Spa at Shenendehowa in Clifton Park on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

CLIFTON PARK — Heather Junjulas’ thought was to put the bat on the ball. 

Becca Zawistowski’s thought was to keep Ballston Spa batters from doing the same.

Both of the Shenendehowa seniors were successful more often than not Wednesday in a 6-0 Suburban Council softball win that featured both power and poise from the Plainsmen.

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Junjulas launched two home runs for the first time in her varsity career, Kelsey Higgins also hit a homer, and Zawistowski allowed a bunch of Ballston Spa runners to reach base, but got tough with runners on base as the reigning Section II Class AA champions improved to 2-0 on the young season.

“It’s so good to know my girls can score runs for me,” Zawistowski said.

Shenendehowa put up 14 runs in its season-starting win over Niskayuna Monday, and while several Plainsmen had big offensive games, Junjulas was not among them with an 0 for 3 showing at the plate.

“First-game jitters,” Junjulas said after going 2 for 3 Wednesday with a pair of two-run home runs. “I had to get that out of my system. All I was thinking about today was bat to ball, bat to ball.”

Junjulas belted her home runs in the second and fourth innings, and Higgins contributed a two-run blast in the fifth, with that drive ending Ballston Spa starter Maggie Lyon’s day.

“We put a lot of practice into our hitting, and the girls put a lot into it before the season,” Shenendehowa coach Chris Farquharson said after he had seven players account for nine hits off three Ballston Spa pitchers. “I’ve got kids on the bench who can hit, too.”

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Jada Lambright started the Shenendehowa second inning with an infield single. After she moved up on a wild pitch and Lyon got a pop out, Junjulas hit a two-run homer over the left-field fence.

Her next home run also sailed over the left-field fence after Hannah Smith hit a one-out single.

“She [Lyon] kept throwing me inside,” said Junjulas, who helped Shenendehowa win the Section II Class AA volleyball title during the winter season. “I adjusted to that.”

Junjulas started in left field last season for the Plainsmen, and has taken over the No. 1 catcher role — her natural position — this season.

“We had a senior ahead of her last year, but we wanted to get her on the field,” Farquharson said.

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Higgins padded Shenendehowa’s lead in the sixth when she homered with one down after Emily Baumes reached on an error. Higgins also had a single and a stolen base, as did teammate Kelly Powell.

“We have lots of girls who have big bats,” Junjulas said.

Zawistowski had one of Shenendehowa hits, and kept Ballston Spa from getting a clutch one, as the senior righty stranded nine runners and at least one in every inning.

“I focused on the people at the plate and tried not to worry about them [base runners] too much,” said Zawistowski, who has moved from a reliever to Shenendehowa’s No. 1 starter this season. “You can’t dwell on the past.”

Ballston Spa had runners on second and third with two down in both the fourth and fifth innings. Both times, Zawistowski induced a flyout to Higgins in center field.

“She is one of the most composed pitchers I have seen,” Junjulas said. “When she makes a mistake, she learns from it and moves on.”

“She [Zawistowski] did a great job when they put runners on,” Farquharson said. “She rose to the moment.”

Zawistowski allowed singles by Allison Piscitelli, Lauren Jesmain and Madelyn Perrone, issued four walks and struck out six. Piscitelli reached base four times, including with two walks.

Aside from her single and run scored for Shenendehowa, Smith, a first baseman, made the defensive play of the game with a diving catch in foul territory.

Ballston Spa 000 000 0 — 0 3 1

Shenendehowa 020 220 x — 6 9 2

Lyon, Donnelly (5), Witsie (5) and Sisk; Zawistowski and Junjulas.

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Categories: Clifton Park and Halfmoon, High School Sports, Saratoga Springs, Sports

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