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Sectional softball: Young Patriots, Knights earn home-field edge

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
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A year ago, only two teams from Schenectady County got to host a first-round game in the Section II softball tournament.

That number increased to five this season, with both Schenec­tady schools — Schenectady High School and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons — among those not having to travel for their sectional openers.

“They’re excited. Hopefully, it will give them a little spunk going into the playoffs,” said Schenec­tady coach Kristy Mazzariello of Wednesday’s 4:30 Class AA opener against Shaker, the first home playoff game for the Lady Patriots’ program since 2007, “This is going to be a great experience, especially for the young kids. It’s a reward for their work, and playing in sectionals is something to build on.”

Schenectady finished fourth in the Big 10 with a 6-6 record. Shaker went 5-11, good for third place in the Suburban Council North Div­ision.

Schenectady has not fared well recently in sectionals, winding up on the end of one-sided scores. Mazzariello hopes this group can change that. The key will be hitting.

“We were struggling a lot with our hitting,” Mazzariello said of her young team, which has only one senior starter. “I have all the confidence in our defense, if we’re on. But we have to hit. We’re working on hitting a lot.

“We’re just happy to have the opportunity to play in the postseason and play at home. Hopefully, we can get past the first round. I don’t think we’ve done that in a while.”

Across town, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons is looking to better last season, which ended in a 4-0 loss to eventual state champion Chatham in the Class B semifinals.

“Teams are much more prepared to play against us, more pumped up to play against us,” said coach Doug Holden, whose team hosts Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk in a 4:30 Wednesday first-round “B” game. “We try to preach controlling what you can. If you play well, you usually get rewarded for it.”

Bishop Gibbons, which finished 9-3 and second to Troy in the Big 10, drew the No. 7 seed in the 15-team Class B field, which is headed by unbeaten Chatham.

“I think for the younger girls on the team who are new to the program and are experiencing this, it’s exciting,” said Anna Grace Maggs, the lone senior for the Lady Knights. “It’s rewarding to get a home game, but winning the game would be more rewarding,”

Maggs knows last year’s success means opponents aren’t taking Bishop Gibbons lightly this time.

“The target on our backs got bigger,” she said. “Sometimes I wish the expectations weren’t as high, because we’ve got a very young team.”

“I’m real happy for the Big 10,” said Holden, who noted Troy got the top seed in Class A ahead of perennial favorite South Glens Falls. “George Rafferty, the Troy coach, is our league rep, and he’s a huge proponent of the Big 10. Not everybody plays each other, so it’s tough to compare when they do the seedings.”

Niskayuna (10-6 in the Suburban Council, fourth seed in Class AA), Schalmont (12-4 in the Colonial Council, seventh seed in Class B) and Duanesburg (12-0 in the WAC, fourth seed in Class C) also have home games in the first round.

“Class C is tough,” said Duanesburg coach John Conway, whose team is seeded behind Mechanicville, returning state champ Greenwich and Albany Academy, which upset the second-seeded Eagles in the quarterfinals last year. “We seeded Greenwich fifth last year, and they won the state championship.”

Duanesburg will host Western Athletic Conference rival Fort Plain at 4:30 Wednesday.

Niskayuna, 10-8 overall, finished behind top-seeded and defending Class AA champ Shenendehowa in the North Division of the Suburban Council. The Lady Warriors get fifth-seeded Bethlehem in a Friday quarterfinal.

Schalmont, which lost to Bishop Gibbons in the first round a year ago, takes a 15-5 overall record and No. 6 seed into a Wednesday home game with Granville, which went 8-6 in the Wasaren League.

Fifth-seeded Scotia-Glenville goes to Foothills Council rival Queensbury in a Friday Class A opener. The teams split their league games, both winning on the road, with the Lady Tartans taking the most recent game.

Semifinals are set for Tuesday in all five classes, with Class AA, B and C double-headers set for Veeder Park in Colonie. The Class A and D semi double-headers will be played at Moreau Rec in South Glens Falls, which will also host those divisions’ title games at 5 p.m. next Thursday.

The Class AA, B and C championship games are set for a week from Friday at 5 p.m. at Clifton Common.

Pairings for Section II softball (league records in parentheses):

CLASS AA

First round

Wednesday

9-Shaker (5-11) at 8-Schenectady (6-6), 4:30; 10-Ballston Spa (4-12) at 7-Catholic Central (8-4), 4:30.

Quarterfinals

Friday

Shaker/Schenectady winner at 1-Shenendehowa (15-1), 4:30; 5-Bethlehem (9-7) at 4-Niskayuna (10-6), 4:30; 6-Columbia (8-8) at 3-Guilderland (10-6), noon; Ballston Spa/Catholic Central winner at 2-Colonie (15-1), 4:30.

Semifinals

May 28

at Veeder Park, 6.

Championship

May 31

at Clifton Common, 5.

CLASS A

First round

Friday

8-Glens Falls (4-10) at 1-Troy (12-0), 4:30; 5-Scotia-Glenville (8-6) at 4-Queensbury (11-3), 4:30; 6-Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (5-11) at 3-Averill Park (11-5), 4:330; 7-Mohonasen (1-15) at 2-South Glens Falls (13-1), 4:30.

Semifinals

May 28

at Moreau Rec, 4.

Championship

May 30

at Moreau Rec, 5.

CLASS B

First round

Wednesday

9-Schuylerville (9-5) at 8-Ichabod Crane (10-6), 4:30; 13-Greenville (7-7) at 4-Cohoes (12-4), 4:30; 12-Corinth (12-4) at 5-Hudson Falls (10-4), 4:30; 15-Watervliet (5-11) at 2-Tamarac (13-1), 4:30; 10-Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (8-8) at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (9-3), 4:30; 14-Fonda-Fultonville (7-9) at 3-Taconic Hills (12-2), 4:30; 11-Granville (8-6) at 6-Schalmont (12-4), 4:30.

Quarterfinals

Friday

Schuylerville/Ichabod Crane winner at 1-Chatham (14-0), 4:30; Greenville/Cohoes winner vs. Corinth/Hudson Falls winner, at higher seed, 4:30; Watervliet/Tamarac winner vs. Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk/Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons winner, at higher seed, 4:30; Fonda-Fultonville/Taconic Hills winner vs. Granville/Schalmont winner, at higher seed, 4:30.

Semifinals

May 28

at Veeder Park, 4.

Championship

May 31

at Clifton Common, 5.

CLASS C

First round

Wednesday

16-Middleburgh (5-7) at 1-Mechanicville (14-2), 4:30; 9-Voorheesvillle at 8-Maple Hill (10-4), 4:30; 12-Schoharie (7-5) at 5-Waterford-Halfmoon (16-0), 4:30; 13-Fort Plain (7-5) at 4-Duanesburg (12-0), 4:30; 15-Canajoharie (6-6) at 2-Greenwich (13-1), 4:30; 10-Mayfield (10-2) at 7-Lake Georrge (15-1), 4:30; 14-Galway (7-7) at 3-Albany Academy (13-3), 4:30; 11-Saratoga Central Catholic (8-4) at 6-Hoosic Valley (7-7), 4:30.

Quarterfinals

Friday

Middleburgh/Mechanicville winner vs. Voorheesville/Maple Hill winner, at higher seed, 4:30; Fort Plain/Duanesburg winner vs. Schoharie/Waterford-Halfmoon winner, at higher seed, 4:30.

Semifinals

May 28

at Veeder Park, 4.

Championship

May 31

at Clifton Common, 5.

CLASS D

Quarterfinals

Today

8-Warrensburg (8-8) at 1-Fort Ann (16-0), 4:30.

Friday

5-Hartford (8-8) at 4-New Lebanon(9-7), 4:30; 6-Germantown (8-8) at 3-Argyle (10-6), 4:30; 7-Fort Edward (9-7) at 2-Loudonville Christian School (13-3), 4:30.

Semifinals

May 28

at Moreau Rec, 4.

Championship

May 30

at Moreau Rec, 4.

 
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