NEWBURGH, NY – Brittany Brooks (North Bangor, NY/Salmon River Central) and Amy Hart (St. Johnsville, NY/Little Falls) combined for four RBI's on a home run and double to lead Sage 5-3 over St. Joseph's – Long Island Saturday afternoon in a must-win Skyline Championship elimination game.
Both Brooks and Hart were 2-for-3 with Hart adding two runs. Also leading the Gators at the plate was Destiny Wierzbicki (Albany, NY/Troy) with a single, an RBI and a run. Kiersten Duncan (Millerton, NY/Taconic Hills) and Katy Rimawi (Ballston Spa, NY/Ballston Spa) each added a run while Alexa Silk (Freehold, NY/Greenville) was 2-for-3 with a double.
Silk is now tied for first in Sage's (22-18) single-season runs with Kristen Biekirch's 2013 mark of 46. The junior is also two hits away from tying Biekirch's and Morgan Dunn's first place 64 hits. Also moving up in the career record books was Rimawi with a sixth place 88 runs
Leading St. Joseph's (20-17) on offense was Ashley Steponaitis with a double, an RBI and a run. Elizabeth Rhome also added a double for the Golden Eagles. Coming up with the best average was Lyndsay Smocer with two hits while adding a run. Adding to the scoring total was Kristen Arbiter with Kathryn Kamalic and Scura each coming up with one RBI.
Hart (13-11) pitcher her second win of the day for Sage with seven strikeouts while Lauren Buturla (5-7) picked up the loss with one strikeout and five hits against over 2.1 innings of work. With her efforts today, Hart is now tied for second in Sage single-season wins. The junior is two away from tying Kelsey Newburg's 2012 mark. The ace also moved into fourth in career strikeouts with 153.
The three seeded Gators will now place the no. one seeded Knights of Mount Saint Mary tomorrow in the Skyline Championship Final at 11 a.m. in Newburgh, NY. If Sage takes game one, a second game will be played directly after to determine the Skyline Champion. The winner of the conference will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament.
After a scoreless first inning, St. Joseph's placed runners on second and third with no outs on the board. After Hart came up with a strikeout, a Kamalic single to second scored Smocer to give the Golden Eagles the 1-0 lead. After another strikeout and a stolen base by Kamalic, a Scura single up the middle to help Steponaitis across home to make the score 2-0.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Wierzbicki hit a single up the middle followed by a Hart homer over the leftfield fence to tie the game 2-2. Singles by Brooks and Kristen Silk (Freehold, NY/Greenville) put runners on followed by an Alexa Silk walk to load the bases. The next at-bat, St. Joseph's Gabrielle Cinquemani came up with a heads up double-play at third by catching the line drive and then immediately tagging the runner to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Sage had runners on the corners with one out on the board. Wierzbicki hit a groundout to the shortstop that scored Rimawi to give the Gators their first lead of the game. Hart then put runners on the corners again for Sage followed by a Brooks double to right center that put the Gators up 5-2. Sage was able to load the bases for the second time, but a strikeout from St. Joseph's reliever Blydenburgh ended the run.
The Golden Eagles had a runner in scoring positon for the first time in two innings with Cinquemani on second with two outs. However, Hart forced a groundout to keep St. Joseph's off board. After Blydenburgh retired the Sage side in the bottom of the fourth, the Golden Eagles has runners on first and second with one out remaining. Hart kept absorbed the pressure and forced a fly out to center to get out of the inning unscathed.
In the bottom of the sixth, Alexa Silk hit a one out double to left field, but Blydenburgh continued her strong performance with a strikeout and a groundout to leave Silk stranded.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Rohme hit a double to leftfield. Arbiter then drew a walk to put runners on the corners. The following at-bat, Rimawi and Jessica Adams (Nassua, NY/Columbia) made a smart defensive play on the lead runner for the second out. However, Steponaitis hit a double down the leftfield line to cut Sage's lead to 5-3 on an Arbiter run. The Gator defense held strong though and ended the game on a groundout to Adams at shortstop.