MALTA — Saratoga Springs’ unpredictable run of a season finally ended Saturday.
A combination of miscues and Liverpool hits resulted in a 10-4 loss in a Class AA softball regional final at Luther Forest Athletic Fields.
The Blue Streaks finished the season with a 13-12 record.
“The thing I can say about this team is we’re down 10 runs and we never gave up,” Saratoga Springs coach Geoff Loiacono said. “We continued to fight, the kids continued to cheer, we grinded it out. A little too late, but they never gave up.”
Liverpool, from Section III, struck for three runs in the top of the second. Mackenzie Frani led off with a single, and eventually made her way to third when Saratoga Springs misplayed a double-steal attempt in which both runners were safe. Lily Stevens drove Frani in with a single, and Joelle Wike scored on the play when the Blue Streaks committed an error. Stevens eventually scored the third run of the half-inning on a wild pitch.
Liverpool made it 4-0 in the third on another unearned run. Julia Wike led off by reaching on an error and advancing to second. She went to third on a sacrifice and scored on another error.
“In the first few innings we played a little bit on our heels. Listen, top eight teams in the state, there’s going to be some nerves flying with kids,” Loiacono said.
Liverpool increased its lead to 10-0 in the fifth, led by a two-run double from Joelle Wike, RBI double from Gracie Zankowski and RBI single from Stevens. Bella Labate replaced starting pitcher Jackie Cutting after it was 7-0.
The Blue Streaks got one run back in the fifth as Labate’s fielder’s choice drove in Olivia Tetreault. They scored another in the sixth as Kira Taber led off by reaching on an error and eventually scoring on another error.
Tetreault belted an RBI double in the seventh to score Sarah Decker, and eventually came across home plate herself on an error.
While the third and fourth runs were nice, what Loiacono was especially moved by came in the top of the seventh after the first out, when he replaced all three of his seniors — Ellie Ripchik, Labate and Taber — just so the Saratoga fans could give them a standing ovation.
“Phenomenal,” Loiacono said of the ovation. “To send off those seniors like that was something I felt I needed to do because, you know, those kids have worked hard for the program and set a new standard for us. They just deserve it.
“Ultimately, it is what it is,” Loiacono added. “We’ve had a great run. This team is just one that I’ll always remember.”
IN OTHER ACTION
All the other Section II teams won their regional finals and will advance to the state semifinals at Moriches Athletic Complex on June 11.
In Class A, Olivia DeCitise struck out 16 in leading Troy to a 9-3 win over New Hartford. The Flying Horses will play Vestal in the state semifinals.
In Class B, Ichabod Crane was an easy 13-1 winner over Canton, and will play Depew in the state semifinals.
Lily McCauliffe struck out six, walked one and threw a no-hitter as Greenwich shut out Norwood-Norfolk 14-0 in a Class C regional final. The Witches will play Avon in the state semifinals.
Paige Cormie had three RBIs as Argyle rallied past Bolton/Schroon Lake 7-6 and will play Oriskany in the state semifinals.