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Gold's home run delivers Ballston Spa another softball championship

Gold's home run delivers Ballston Spa another softball championship

Ballston Spa tops South Glens Falls 3-2
Gold's home run delivers Ballston Spa another softball championship
Ana Gold hits a home run in Tuesday's championship game.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

MALTA — Her Ballston Spa softball team needing someone to step up, sophomore Ana Gold fouled off one offering after another from South Glens Falls sophomore pitcher Hannah Breen. 

As she went along in her third plate appearance of Tuesday’s Section II Class A championship game, Gold figured out where she was going wrong.

“I was getting under it a little,” Gold said, “so I tried to stay more level, and I executed well that last pitch.”

Gold sure did, as she sent “that last pitch” over the left-field fence with a mighty swing that delivered Tuesday’s game-winning run in Ballston Spa’s 3-2 championship win at Luther Forest Athletic Fields. Gold’s go-ahead home run led off the bottom half of the sixth inning, right after South Glens Falls had tied the game at 2 with a pair of runs in the inning’s top half.

“She’s an amazing person to have on the team,” Ballston Spa junior pitcher Lauren Kersch said of Gold. “She’s always positive and she never gives up.”

Until South Glens Falls (No. 2, 16-1) scored its runs in the sixth inning, Kersch had cruised through five perfect innings for Ballston Spa (No. 1, 20-3) after tossing a perfect game in the Scotties’ semifinal win. Before an RBI single from sophomore Demi Kellogg started the scoring for South Glens Falls, Kersch had gone 43 2-3 innings without allowing an earned run.

After Kellogg’s RBI single scored junior Zoe Lanfear, who had tripled, sophomore Christine Mallette tied the game with an RBI double. Kersch worked out of further trouble, and Gold immediately put the Scotties back on top with her solo home run in the home half of the sixth inning.

“I was just going up there, trying to hit the ball hard, and I happened to connect and hit the ball over,” Gold said. “I was just trying to help my team out.”

Previously undefeated South Glens Falls, though, didn’t go quietly in the seventh inning. South Glens Falls senior Kasen Lemay led off the final frame with a double and moved to third base with two outs. Up to the plate came Lanfear, and Ballston Spa head coach Amanda Fifield huddled with her defense before the pivotal at-bat. 

Photos: Images from Tuesday's title game, June 4, 2019

Remembering Lanfear’s triple, Kersch asked her coach what she should do.

“Do I walk her?” Kersch said.

“Just do your stuff,” Fifield answered.

A few pitches later, Ballston Spa was celebrating after Kersch picked up her seventh strikeout of the game with a curveball to secure the Scotties’ third area title in four years.

“I just had to remind [Kersch] that she’s got to believe in herself just as much as the coaches believe in her and that her team believes in her,” said Fifield, who won her 100th game as Ballston Spa’s head coach with the championship victory.

Before South Glens Falls tied the score in the sixth inning, Ballston Spa had gone ahead 2-0 in the third when a hard-hit ball from Gold ricocheted off South Glens Falls senior shortstop Leah VanDerwarker into the outfield. On the play, Ballston Spa’s senior Megan McMahon and sophomore Julia Russell scored.

While Ballston Spa was the top seed for the Section II Class A tournament, South Glens Falls entered the game sharing the No. 1 ranking in this week’s Class A state poll with Section VI’s Williamsville East.

Photos: Images from Tuesday's title game, June 4, 2019

With the victory, Ballston Spa advanced into the state tournament, and will next play the winner of Section III’s Jamesville-DeWitt and Section X’s Franklin Academy. That matchup will take place Saturday at Moreau Recreational Park, where the Scotties finished last year as the runner-up in the Class AA state tournament.

Fifield said her team knows it has “unfinished business” after the way last year ended, but her team took the time Tuesday to celebrate its area championship.

“It’s amazing,” Gold said. “Just the best feeling ever.”

South Glens Falls    000 002 0 — 2 4 2

Ballston Spa    002 001 x — 3 5 0

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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