MALTA — Another Olivia DeCitise game against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, another dominating performance.
The junior pitcher struck out 16 in a complete-game effort, leading Troy to a 1-0 victory over the Spartans to win the Section II Class A softball tournament championship Thursday at Luther Forest Athletic Complex.
After DeCitise cruised through the first three innings and picked up nine strikeouts, things got a little murky with the Flying Horses up just one run. With two outs in the fourth, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake picked up back-to-back singles to put runners on first and third. In her first jam, she got Jessica De La Fleur to pop out to end the first threat. In a similar situation in the fifth, she struck out Sophia Commisso to end the frame.
However, the biggest challenge came in the sixth. After a strikeout to begin the frame, BH-BL got two runners on with one out. In response, DeCitise recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the frame to keep it 1-0.
“You just can’t get stressed out. I’ve done it so many times and it just comes naturally now. I can’t get angry about the errors,” DeCitise said. “I only do what I can control and that’s what I did.”
The lone Troy run came in the bottom of the third inning, when Emma Thompson led off with
a home run to left field on the first pitch of her at-bat, giving the Flying Horses all that they needed. Troy only had four hits off of BH-BL starter Katie Rhodes.
It was Thompson’s first home run at the varsity level.
“I’m a first-pitch hitter. I love the first pitch. When it’s there, I swing at it,” Thompson said. “The last time we played them, it was a one-run game. I knew that sectionals weren’t going to be easy. It’s like a whole new season, so it was really nerve-wracking. I felt relieved when I hit it, but I was like, ‘OK, time to move on.’”
Meanwhile, BH-BL only had five hits off of DeCitise.
“The approach was to keep doing what’s been successful. First-pitch strikes, letting the defense make plays when necessary,” Troy coach Sean Geisel said. “[Olivia] was phenomenal. The whole team rallied around her like they did all year. I couldn’t be happier for her and her teammates.”
“We play for each other; we don’t play for ourselves. Emma hit that home run for us,” DeCitise said. “I’m so excited to keep playing with this team, I love this team so much. I’ve been on varsity since my eighth-grade year, and we haven’t connected this much since then. This is the team; we’ve bonded so well. It’s good.”
Now, the Flying Horses will keep rolling into the state tournament.
“We’re just going to keep focusing on us,” Geisel said. “Every practice, getting better. We’re definitely not perfect yet but we want to get better. That’s what I love about this team, we’ll continue to work hard in practice and enjoy it. Every single day, we can practice together and keep it going as long as possible. I told this team I love working with them, it’s been a pleasure, it’s been an honor and we don’t want it to end anytime soon.”
BH-BL 000 000 0 – 0 5 0
Troy 001 000 x – 1 4 1