Albany Academy seniors Carylann Geddes and Becca Smith have been waiting for a result like this for years.
That made Friday’s 2-0 Colonial Council softball win at Mechanicville all the sweeter.
Smith threw a six-hitter and scored a run, and Geddes tripled and scored the other run as Academy handed the perennial Colonial champion Lady Raiders their first league loss of the year.
“[We lost], 23-5, against them last year, so it was nice to see the hard work pay off,” said Geddes, Academy’s cleanup hitter who plays for
Mechanicville coach Don Arceneaux in the offseason.
“I’ve thrown against them for five years now, so beating them is incredible,” said Smith, who struck out 11 and worked out of trouble in the seventh inning to preserve her first varsity win over Mechanicville.
“They’re a good team, and they’ve got some good players,” said Arceneaux, whose teams have won six state titles since 2000. “They got knocked out of the tournament the same time we did last year.”
Both teams lost in the semifinal round of the Class C sectional tournament last spring. While that might have been considered an early exit for Mechanicville, Academy is building on that experience.
“We had a lot of momentum coming off last season. I think it’s carried through,” said Smith.
“Now, we can compete with anybody,” said Geddes.
“We have a really young team. Those two seniors have stepped up a lot,” said Academy coach Jessica Lawton-Beal. “They’ve played under that pressure last year, and it helps.
“By being put in pressure situations like this, the younger players are going to learn. They’ve made some errors, and they need to learn how to recover mentally. This is such a mental game, and because most of them are so young, they’ve never experienced that pressure before. It’s a lot different.”
Smith and Mechanicville junior Kirstyn Alonzo both worked out of trouble in the first inning, with Alonzo getting around some uncharacteristic fielding lapses throughout the game.
“They threatened almost every inning. We got lucky and got out of it,” said Arceneaux. “Kirstyn pitched out of it, or we made a nice play.”
Albany Academy broke through with two out in the sixth, when Smith singled and scored on a
triple to right-center by sophomore shortstop Mia DiCaprio.
“She’s normally our bunter,” said Lawton-Beal. “Becca usually gets on, and she bunts her over.
“Carylann has been consistent, but other than that, we’ve had different people every game be the hero, as far as hitting goes. That’s nice. They’re getting confident.”
After freshman catcher Emily Paddalino threw out Kaile Kenyon trying to steal second to end the home fifth, Geddes led off the sixth with a long three-base hit to left. She scored on an error to give Academy a 2-0 lead.
Smith struck out the side in the sixth, stranding Kylie Liberty, who doubled with two out. Alonzo escaped from a one-out, bases-loaded spot in the seventh, giving her team a chance to win in its final at bat.
Kim Thompson led off the home seventh with a single into short center field, and Hailey Rivers kept the game going by dumping a two-out single into right.
Smith got freshman Devon Scott to ground out for the final out.
“I don’t throw 70 miles an hour, so I’ve got to keep it moving off the plate. Try to get batters to go after pitches,” Smith said.
“I knew the team was really excited in the bottom of the seventh, but we were confident.”
The significance of the win was not lost on Geddes.
“It shows something that Becca and I have stuck with it,” she said. We’ve been playing together since we were 10. We’ve worked very hard in practice on game situations. The goal in practice is to make it as real as possible. That paid off today.”
“They came to play, and we just didn’t come to play. We looked nervous,” said Arceneaux of his
7-1 team that is down to three seniors with Megan Bazar out with a knee injury.
“This is how we play every game. You’ve got to score early, and we don’t score early. Either the table setters get on, and the 3-4-5 don’t get them in, or we just flatten out.
“Even against Lansingburgh, it was an 11-0 win, but it was 0-0 going into the sixth. In the seventh, we scored nine.
“I know they can play and they can hit. Maybe they don’t believe in themselves yet.”
Albany Academy 000 011 0 — 2 6 1
Mechanicville 000 000 0 — 0 6 4
Smith and Paddalino; Alonzo and Liberty,