Greenwich refused to blink, and its poise paid off in a state Class C softball championship Saturday at the Adirondack Sports Complex.
The Witches fought back after seeing Section IV’s Greene tie the state title game with a two-run fifth inning, and responded with three runs of their own in the sixth for a 5-2 win and the first state title in program history.
Senior shortstop Dani DeGregory’s sixth consecutive hit of the day, an RBI double, drove in Ashleigh Maines to make it 3-2, and junior third baseman Abby Dusha added a two-run double as Greenwich capped an 8-0 run through the postseason.
“You could see the tension build,” said Greenwich coach Greg McGuirk after his team lost a 2-0 advantage it took on DeGregory’s two-run homer in the first inning. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, we’re going to crumble.’ It was, ‘Now we’ve got to get it done.’ ”
He wasn’t surprised that DeGregory came up with another big hit.
“She’s just an amazing player,” he said.
DeGregory, whose fourth-inning grand slam sealed a 12-1 semifinal win over Pierson/Bridgeport earlier in the day, felt good at the plate with a possible state title on the line.
“I was just trying to get a base hit, because she [Ashleigh Maines] was on second,” said DeGegory. “I was trying to be calm and confident, knowing a base hit was going to score a run.”
Senior pitcher Rachel Albrecht had followed a two-hitter in the semifinals by retiring the first 12 Greene hitters.
Taylor Ellis suprised Greenwich by laying down, and beating out, a bunt to open the Trojans’ fifth. Another bunt, with one run in, the bases loaded and one out, resulted in the tying run.
“I knew that they were going to hit, eventually,” said Albrecht. “You still have to keep getting the outs.”
“Rachel would say herself, `I know I’m going to get hit,’ ” said McGuirk.
“We’re going to try to make them weak hits. We’ve got a ton of defense behind her. I think she’s super confident in her defense.”
And for good reason.
Senior center fielder Sarah Heimbach preserved the lead when she turned a fly ball into an inning-ending double play in the sixth.
“I’d say she’s the best center fielder in New York state,” said McGuirk of one of the trio of seniors he loses from this team.
“That was such a great play,” said Albrecht, who struck out 14 and walked one in the semifinal win. “Sarah has made so many great catches. Everyone plays great defense.”
Albrecht got the final two outs of the game on comebackers, setting off a wild celebration.
DeGregory, a three-sport standout who has committed to playing field hockey at Skidmore, was part of a 1-13 team her freshman year. After a loss in the state semis last year, she savored the result of her final high school game.
“I’m overjoyed having a championship. I’m excited for everyone on our team, and our town,” she said.. “We get a gold plaque instead of a silver one. Gold is definitely my favorite color.”
For the two games, DeGregory was 6-for-8 with four runs scored and nine driven in as she and her teammates went from a 7-7 record in the Wasaren League to a 20-8 final mark.
Albrecht, a late-seaon varsity addition as a ninth-grader, could hardly believe how the Witches turned things around.
“Three years ago, I never would have seen myself standing here with a championship plaque,” she said.
Chatham also won a state title, following a 2-0 semifinal victory over Windsor (Section IV) with a 4-3 win over Mynderse Academy of Section V in the Class B final.
Fort Ann dropped a 10-3 decision to Section IV’s Deposit in a Class D semifinal.
The Lady Cardinals fell behind, 4-0, early, pulled to within a run and then saw Deposit score five runs in the fourth to pull away.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the girls,” said Fort Ann coach Tim Gleason, who loses four seniors to graduation. “They shouldn’t hang their heads. They should be very proud.”
GREENWICH 5, GREENE 2
Greenwich 200 003 0 — 5 7 0
Greene 000 020 0 — 2 6 0
Albrecht and M.Linnett; Hanrahan and Sherwood.
GREENWICH 12, PIERSON/BRIDGEPORT 1
Greenwich 020 401 5 — 12 19 0
Pierson 000 000 1 — 1 2 2
Albrecht and M.Linnett; Stafford and Musnicki.
CHATHAM 4, MYNDERSE ACADEMY 3
Mynderse Acad. 201 000 0 — 3
Chatham 100 201 x — 4
Daly and Dygert; Layton; Doty and Dygert.
DEPOSIT 10, FORT ANN 3
Deposit 220 500 1 — 10 13 1
Fort Ann 003 000 0 — 3 9 1
Ellis and Pattersen; Bailey and Goodspeed.