When Shenendehowa co-captain Melissa Morgan first saw her team’s softball schedule in December, she blinked.
“When I saw this stretch of the schedule, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s going to be a tough week,’ ” said the senior second baseman. “Now that we’re almost through it, we’ve exceeded my expectations.”
The Lady Plainsmen beat Colonie, 5-3, Wednesday in a meeting of the only two Suburban Council teams to get through the first four games without a loss. Junior Erika Daigle worked out of a pair of tight spots, and both Aly Kramer and Erin Buckley drove in two runs for Shenendehowa, now 5-0 in the league and 7-0 overall.
“We had Guilderland, our tournament, [2010 Class AA champ] Colonie and [defending Class AA champ] Bethlehem right in a row, and we’ve won the first four of them. We’re playing together, and everyone is contributing.”
Kramer, an 11th-grader, and Buckley, a sophomore, hit sixth and seventh, respectively, in Shenendehowa’s lineup that faced Colonie ace Kelly Lane.
“This was a good win,” said Shenendehowa coach Dan D’Amboise. “Kelly Lane is a terrific pitcher, and Kevin [Colonie coach Kevin Jette] has them playing well.
“We lost nine seniors from last year, and it takes about a month for a team to come together. I’m ecstatic with the way the girls have come together as a team and how they’re playing.”
Shenendehowa struck first Wednesday, with Morgan leading off the second inning with a double, taking third on Amanda Augustson’s sacrifice bunt and scoring on a Kramer groundout.
Colonie got two runs in the third without hitting the ball out of the infield. Mandy Marchesani had a run-scoring bunt single, and Lane’s groundout scored another run.
Another leadoff two-base hit, this one by 11th-grader Katie O’Gorman, opened a four-run Shenendehowa fourth. Lane walked the next two batters before Augustson singled in a run, Kramer lofted a sacrifice fly and Buckley tomahawked a two-run double to right-center.
Another Lane ground ball produced a Colonie run in the fifth, but with two on and one out, Daigle struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.
Shenendehowa’s defense also helped, cutting down Marisa Sholtes as she tried for a triple leading off the Colonie sixth.
“It was an important game and a big win for us,” said Daigle, who gave up five hits, walked two, struck out nine and retired seven of the final eight batters she faced.
“Getting that lead helped my confidence. I just worked with Caitlin [catcher Caitlin Lawson] and tried to get them out.”
“The way she pitched this weekend [in the Massa Tournament], I knew she was ready,” said Morgan of Daigle.
Both of Shenendehowa’s big hits in the fourth came on high pitches.
“Kelly had one stretch where she was missing,” said Jette. “She got through the top part of their lineup, but some of their other kids came through.
“These games usually come down to two or three big spots, where the team that makes the plays determines the winner. We’ll regroup and learn from this.”
D’Amboise is still looking for his team to fine-tune some things as it looks to win its first sectional title since a six-year run that ended in 2008.
“We know we’ve got to get better,” said D’Amboise. “The other teams are going to be better, and there are still things we need to work on, too.”
Colonie 002 010 0 — 3 5 0
Shenendehowa 010 400 x — 5 7 1
Lane and Ogren; Daigle and Lawson.