NEWBURGH, NY – Sage softball advanced to the Skyline Championship Title game for the fourth time in six years, but the Gators just came up short to Mt. St. Mary in a 1-0 heartbreaker Sunday afternoon.
Seniors Katy Rimawi (Ballston Spa, NY/Ballston Spa) and Jessica Adams (Nassua, NY/Columbia) led Sage (22-19) at the plate with a hit apiece while Mt. St. Mary's Cindy Connoly had the only multi-hit effort of the day with one double.
Connoly (13-7) was credited with the win along with the Skyline Most Outstanding Player on a complete game, 11 strikeout effort. The junior's 11 K's were the most by any opponent that Gators faced all season. Junior Amy Hart (St. Johnsville, NY/Little Falls) (13-12) picked up the loss for Sage (22-19) one a complete game, one run against effort.
The first inning started with both Connoly and Hart retiring the sides that included a sliding catch from Destiny Wierzbicki (Albany, NY/Troy) on the leftfield line.
After Rimawi drew a walk in the top of the second, the senior put Sage in scoring position for the first time at third base with a stolen base and a wild pitch. However, Connoly did her job, and came up with three straight strikeouts to leave Rimawi stranded. In the bottom of the inning, Connoly led off for the Knights with a standup double to left center. The next at-bat, centerfielder Kristen Silk (Freehold, NY/Greenville) made a running, over the shoulder catch to give the Gators their first out. After popup to first gave Sage a second out, Brenna DePasquale singled up the middle to put runners on the corners. Hart held off Mt. St. Mary though with a routine fly ball to leftfield for the final out of the inning.
In the top of the third, Brittany Brooks (North Bangor, NY/Salmon River Central) hit a shallow ball to rightfield, but Knights rightfielder Taylor Canto made a sliding catch to keep the catcher off the bases. Connoly then retired the next two batters to keep her shutout going. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Emily Lang hit a ball into the gap in left center, but Silk made an ESPN top-10 worthy diving catch for Sage's first out. Hart then retired the next two batters to keep the stalemate going.
With one out, Adams knocked Sage's first hit of the game on a shallow ball to the edge of the dirt in leftfield. After a stolen base put the shortstop on second, Rimawi hit a single down the rightfield line to give the Gators runners on the corners. Connoly didn't cave though and came up with two strikeouts in a row to end the Sage offensive.
In the bottom of the fourth, Michelle Surdan drew a leadoff walk for the Knights. The next at-bat, Connoly singled through the right side to place runners on the corners for the second time for Mt. St. Mary. After a groundout to the pitcher pushed Connoly to second, Canto hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield to give the Knights a 1-0 lead going into the fifth.
After retiring the side in the top of the fifth, Lang singled through the left side with one out. The shortstop advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Shannon Sommer, but a line drive to Adams at shortstop left Lang stranded.
After a hitless sixth inning, Sage tried to rally in the top of the seventh, but Connoly forced a pop up and two strikeouts for the Knights' second consecutive Skyline Championship Title and NCAA Division III Tournament berth.
Sage graduates three outstanding seniors in Adams, Rimawi and Allison Ford (Mechanicville, NY/Mechanicville).