SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Heuvelton’s perfect softball season came to an end on Saturday in an 8-2 loss to Section 2’s Fort Ann Cardinals in the state Class D championship game.
“Fort Ann was the better team today,” said Heuvelton coach Josie Cole whose team finished the season at 21-1 and made school history by becoming the first Bulldogs softball team to reach the title game. “They just played great defense and scored when opportunities came. But I’m just so proud of the way this team battled. We won two extra-inning games to get here and we showed that we belong here.”
The Bulldogs earned a championship berth with a splendid 10-inning 7-6 win over Arkport (20-2) of Section 5, erasing deficits of 3-2, 5-3 and 6-5 against the Blue Jays.
FORT ANN 8, HEUVELTON 2
Heuvelton took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when senior Shelby Williams belted a double to center field and later scored on a bunt single by senior Alexis Weidner.
But Fort Ann, a state champion in 2012, scored two runs with two outs in the third inning. Junior Cassie Batchelder reached on a error and scored on a single by senior Kaleigh Foran. Foran later scored on a double by sophomore Bri Amodio, ending Heuvelton starter Alexis Weidner’s day in the circle. Weidner was charged for two runs on two hits and one walk, recording one strikeout. She was hurt by three errors.
The Cardinals made it 3-1 in the fourth inning when senior Emilee Chute tripled with two outs off freshman Paige McCormick and scored on a wild pitch.
Fort Ann generated four runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth for the win.
Molly Bailey lined a single to begin the fifth and Batchelder followed with a single. Foran knocked in Bailey with a single and Amodio stroked an RBI single. After a walk to freshman Allison Vrooman, freshman Taylor Foran plated a run on a fielder’s choice and senior Kimmi Ostrander added an RBI single.
Heuvelton made it 7-2 in the top of the sixth inning after Weidner singled with one out and seniors Logan Tallman and Alexis Sawyer both reached on a fielder’s choice. Hannah Thornhill stroked a RBI single scoring Tallman.
Bailey, who allowed just four hits in the game, retired Heuvelton in order in the seventh, pitching for her second complete game of the day with five strikeouts and no walks. She also pitched a 7-5 win over Deposit in the semifinals.
“Molly pitched very well today,” said Fort Ann coach Jason Huminston. “She hasn’t pitched two games back to back much this season but today she showed the stamina to do it.”
HEUVELTON 7, ARKPORT 6 (10)
The Bulldogs erased a 5-3 deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored two runs in the bottom of the 10th after Section 6’s Arkport took a 6-5 lead in the top of the inning.
The Bulldogs also erased a 3-2 deficit in the fifth inning.
Down 6-5 in the 10th, Logan Tallman was placed on second base and scored on a throwing error on a bunt by Alexis Sawyer. With no outs, Hannah Thornhill stepped up and hit a foul pop fly just beyond the coaches box. Sawyer aggressively tagged up and darted home and beat an off-balanced throw to the plate by the first baseman who made a running catch.
“After not getting the first pitch down for a bunt in fair territory which was very close. I just knew I needed to get the ball in play to give Logan (Tallman) a chance to score,” Sawyer said. “After the throw to first went wild I just raced to second and third. And on the tagup, Coach Cole just gave me the green light.”
“I just wanted to end it now,” said Cole of the game-winning run.
The two runs answered Arkport’s top of the 10th run where Nicole Gibson was placed on second and moved to third on a bunt by Jenna Thelian. Caitlin Hubic singled to score Gibson.
In the eighth inning the Dogs pulled even at 5-5 when Hannah Thornhill doubled and scored on a double by Rachel Thornhill, who scored on a single by Nathalie Barr.
Freshman Paige McCormick struck out 14 and walked only two in a tenacious 10-inning six-hitter, outdueling Sidney Servis who went the distance for Arkport.
Hannah Thornhill rapped two singles and a double for the Bulldogs. McCormick tripled and scored in the sixth inning on a groundout by Rachel Thornhill who also doubled.
Heuvelton had played in the Final Four three times and hadn’t scored a run until this weekend’s second place finish.