There wasn’t much separating Cohoes and Mechanicville in Friday’s matchup of the two hottest softball teams in the Colonial Council.
One inning. One key hit. And one more win as the Lady Tigers remained unbeaten in league play with a 6-0 victory.
Isabelle Dechiaro gave up just four hits, struck out 10 and drove in three runs as she helped Cohoes go to 13-0 with three league games remaining.
“She’s the real deal,” said Cohoes coach Frank Ryan of his freshman right-hander. “Isabelle has been pitching great.”
Dechiaro was not what the Lady Raiders needed to see as they tried to win their 10th straight league game, and fifth of the week, after a 1-2 start.
“We faced pitching all week where nobody broke 50 miles an hour. Then we see her,” said Mechanicville coach Don Arceneaux. “Isabelle is a great pitcher. She hits her spots.”
As well as Dechiaro was throwing, Mechanicville junior Kirstyn Alonzo was matching her, zero for zero, through four innings.
In the fifth, Cohoes (13-0, 14-2) took advantage of three walks to score five runs.
With runners at the corners and two out, Arceneaux had Alonzo issue an intentional walk to Cohoes leadoff hitter Lily Sencer.
But Alonzo fell behind Maddie Dupuis, 3-0, before walking the No. 2 hitter in the Cohoes order, forcing in the game’s first run.
Dechiaro followed with a sinking fly ball down the left-field line which Hailey Rivers nearly turned into the third out with a headlong dive. But Rivers came up inches short, the ball hitting off her glove for a two-run double.
Danielle McOmber followed with an RBI single into the hole between third and short, and Bryanna Holdridge added a run-scoring single.
In a few minutes, Cohoes had broken open a tight game, giving Dechiaro a five-run cushion and in need of nine outs.
“If we had that situation again, I’d do the same exact thing,” said Arceneaux of the intentional walk. “I’ve got confidence in Kirstyn to go right after hitters.
“What it came down to, when you play teams like Cohoes, you’ve got to score runs. If you don’t score runs, you get in that situation. So you walk a kid that’s hit the ball, and go after a kid that hasn’t had good at-bats. It didn’t work.
“Kirstyn is great. She’s tough, and I love her. But she’s had a long week. We played Monday, Tuesday, two on Wednesday.”
Nearly lost in the five-run Cohoes inning was a two-out single from No. 9 hitter Hailey Castaldo that kept the inning alive.
“We just moved her to No. 9 from sixth, because she hasn’t been hitting,” said Ryan. “I was happy for her, because she was in a little slump, and got a little down.
“The timely hitting has been there all year. That, and our defense.”
Dechiaro tripled in another run in the seventh as Cohoes won the last regular-season battle in what has become the top rivalry in the Colonial Council. Mechanicville is joining the Wasaren League, beginning with the 2014-15 school year.
The significance was not lost on Ryan.
“It’s always a good win when you beat Mechanicville. That’s the team in this league that you measure yourself against,” he said. “It’s a great program, and Don is the best coach in the league.”
“They’ve had good teams in the past, but I don’t think they’ve ever had a pitcher that good,” Arceneaux said. “And they’ve got more than her.
“We had been playing well, but we need to be in more of these teams. I think we’ll be all right come sectionals.”
Cohoes 000 050 1 — 6 7 1
Mechanicville 000 000 0 — 0 4 0
Dechiaro and Holdridge; Alonzo and DeMarco.