Duanesburg senior Tori Powers might want to take a little extra batting practice today.
It’s not that she did poorly in Monday’s 17-1 Western Athletic Conference Cup semifinal win over Canajoharie. On the contrary, she was on base all day.
It’s just that she never got a chance to take her bat off her shoulder. Powers’ four plate appearances resulted in three four-pitch walks before she was hit by a pitch in her fourth. Her time at the plate typified the Eagles’ patience while drawing 10 walks and getting five more baserunners after being hit by pitches.
“I think we have some pretty good talent,” Powers said. “Whatever comes at us, we’re able to adjust to, and I think we have good things coming toward us.”
The next thing coming toward the Eagles (17-2 overall) is a road game against Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, a 6-2 victor over Middleburgh in the other WAC Cup semi. The championship game will be played Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Powers scored once, and two of her walks pushed runs across the plate.
With Canajoharie ace Shy Logan out sick, freshman Maddy Casler had to step to the circle to fill in against a team that hasn’t lost a WAC game in more than 70 straight outings.
“She did what she can,” Canajoharie coach Bridget Anderson said. “She definitely didn’t anticipate coming into this game and having to pitch; I told her once we got on the bus. She’s a freshman, so that’s a big spot for her to try to fill in.”
The Cougars’ run came in the first when Brittini Nestle doubled in Bri Slater.
In the top of the fourth, the Cougars (9-6) had two on with one out. After a pop out, Lauren Balfe smacked her second single of the game, but a base-running mistake cost Canajoharie a chance to mount a comeback.
Duanesburg center fielder Libby Aliberti got the ball back into the infield quickly, and pitcher Sydney Foland, who sent the relay back to second baseman Alexa Lombardoni to apply a tag on Carly Baker, who had over-run the bag.
“My throw didn’t really go where I wanted it to go, but it ended up working out,” Aliberti said. “They made a great play.”
Aliberti, who had been the flex player and did not bat in the first three innings, got her chance at the plate in the home fourth with the bases loaded and one out. The first pitch she saw was wild, bringing in Tess Bloom from third and advancing the other two runners.
Although the Eagles were generating plenty of offense with patience, Aliberti said she wanted to make the most of her first plate appearance in the game, and she jumped on the next pitch she saw, driving it down the left-field line for a two-run double that jump-started a 10-run inning.
“Our coach always tells us to just focus on what we can control,” Aliberti said. “I knew I hadn’t had a lot of at-bats, but I was just trying to relax and not psych myself out. I knew I had runners on base, so I just wanted to relax, focus and wait for the good pitches.”
Devon Hennel had a triple, single, two runs and an RBI for the Eagles. Lombardoni had two infield singles and scored twice.
Taylor Martineau didn’t start, but ended up scoring three runs. She was a courtesy runner twice for catcher Lia Schettine, scoring both times, then pushed a run across in her lone plate appearance when she was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. She later came around to score.
“On this team, they all have a role,” Duanesburg coach John Conway said. “Pinch-runner, pinch-hitter, and when they get a chance to contribute a little more, they always deliver.”
The Eagles won the WAC Cup in 2010, 2012 and 2013. It was not contested in 2011.
“It’s been a tradition, pretty much, every year,” Powers said. “Sometimes you have doubters who say, ‘Maybe you won’t get it this year.’ I’m proud we’re in it, and hopefully, we’ll win.”
The Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Wolves got a double and an RBI from Megan Bradt, while Caitlyn Handy was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Leann Clark earned the win with 10 strikeouts and four walks.
Middleburgh was led by Bailey Wood with a single, double, triple and a run.
DUANESBURG 17, CANAJOHARIE 1
Canajoharie 100 0 0 — 1 3 3
Duanesburg 340 (10)x — 17 8 3
Casler, Slater (4) and Balfe; Foland and Schettine, Hutchins (5).
OESJ 6, MIDDLEBURGH 2
Middleburgh 000 011 0 — 2 7 5
OESJ 001 302 x — 6 7 4