Sectional softball: Heimbach ends Raiders' season again
CLIFTON PARK Sarah Heimbach says its nothing personal with Mechanicville.
Her bat and left arm say otherwise.
Heimbach, who blasted a game-changing grand slam when Greenwich upset Mechanicville in last year’s semifinal round, was personally responsible for ending Mechanicville’s softball season for the second consecutive year Friday.
The senior hit a two-run triple and two-run double in the first inning, then proceeded to throw a one-hitter as second-seeded Greenwich beat No. 1 seed Mechanicville, 8-0, in their Section II Class C championship game at Clifton Common for its third straight sectional title.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing like that,” said Heimbach after celebrating with her teammates. “It just happened like that.”
Heimbach gave up a single to leadoff hitter Kylie Liberty in the bottom of the first, then began setting down Mechanicville hitters with regularity.
After Greenwich committed its only error to put two runners on with two out in the second, Heimbach retired the next seven hitters. She issued a leadoff walk in the Mechanicville fifth, then set down the next nine hitters in order.
Heimbach faced just 25 hitters, four over the minimum, in helping the 21-3 reigning state Class C champions reach a Monday regional semifinal against Section VII winner Ticonderoga. That game is set for 4 p.m. at Moreau Rec in South Glens Falls.
“She wants to win every time she steps out there. You’ve just got to keep her calm,” said Greenwich coach Greg McGuirk of Heimbach, the starting center fielder on last year’s team.
An eight-run lead before Mechanicville came to bat for the first time helped, though the Witches were taking nothing for granted,
“I actually told the team, ‘Let’s look at it like its 0-0.’ We’ve played a couple of game where we’ve gotten to the seventh inning with a shutout, and we lose the shutout,” said Heimbach.
“I don’t want to get the feeling that we’re fine, because anything can happen. They’re a really good team.”
The end came very close to the beginning for a Mechanicville team shooting for its sixth sectional title since 2003 under coach Don Arceneaux. In that span, strong pitching and an explosive offense carried the Lady Warriors to three of the program’s six state titles.
Neither component was there Friday.
“Nobody expects that start. Sometimes, it happens,” said Arceneaux, who removed starting pitcher Kirstyn Alonzo after four batters and down, 3-0. Allison Ford came in, but she had no better luck against the Witches, who sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning.
“She [Alonzo] didn’t like the mound. I could tell it was bothering her,” Arceneaux said. “I figured I’d go to Ali, she’s been a bulldog, Then she started walking people, which is not normal for her. Things just went bad. What are you going to do?”
Kali Nolan had an RBI single, Alexis Case cracked a two-run single, and one run was the result of an error in the eight-run first inning blitz.
“Usually, we struggle with getting through the lineup. We don’t have really long rallies,” Heimbach said. “We usually get a couple of hits. [Today] we strung them together really well.”
McGuirk wanted to make sure his team stayed focused, knowing Mechanicville’s postseason history.
“We huddle up every time before we go out on the field, and I kept telling them, ‘Ladies, this is a very good team. We’ve got to play our very best defense,’ ” McGuirk said. “Every inning we kept saying, ‘It’s 0-0. That’s a good team.’ ”
In the end, it didn’t matter.
“If you let kids know you believe in their abilities, and if they’re trained and they’re ready, they perform,” McGuirk said.
LADY DUTCH WIN
Guilderland scored early and often and beat Suburban Council South rival Bethlehem, 8-3, for the Class AA title at Clifton Common.
Senior shortstop Jenna Cubello, who has committed to Rhode Island, hit an RBI double and a two-run single in a three-hit game as the 14-7 Lady Dutch won their first softball title since 1998. Guilderland lost to Shenendehowa in last year’s final.
“This team has great chemistry,” said Cubello, the goalkeeper on the Guilderland girls’ soccer team that reached the state final four last fall. “Beating Colonie [in the semifinals] gave us confidence coming into this game.”
Gabriella Marino had an RBI double and run-scoring single for third-seeded Guilderland, which led, 7-0, before No. 5 seed Bethlehem scored all of its runs in the fifth inning, two coming home on an Addison Myers single.
Guilderland will play the winner of today’s Section III title game between Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse in a Tuesday regional final at Gillette Road Park in Syracuse.
Victoria Hallett singled in the winning run, capping a two-run seventh inning, as top-seeded Troy unseated three-time defending champion South Glens Falls, 4-3, in the Class A final at Moreau Rec in South Glens Falls.
Kaitlin DelSignore had an RBI single, and Alina Germinerio hit a solo homer to help the Big 10 champs, who fell behind, 3-2, when South High scored in the top of the seventh. Ally Luscier tied the game with an RBI hit before Hallett delivered the game-winner to give the school — and the Big 10 — its first softball postseason title since 1987.
The 20-2 Flying Horses travel to Gillette Field on Monday for a 5 p.m. regional semi against Oneida or Jamesville-DeWitt, which play for the Section III title today.
Reigning state champ Chatham downed Tamarac, 3-1, for the Class B title at Clifton Common, as University of Connecticut recruit and Section II Player of the Year Kayla Doty threw a three-hitter with 15 strikeouts, and also went 3-for-3 at the plate, with an RBI double and run-scoring triple.
Fort Ann repeated as Class D champ, beating Germantown, 13-0, at Moreau Rec.
GUILDERLAND 8, BETHLEHEM 3
Bethlehem 000 030 0 — 3 8 1
Guilderland 204 110 x — 8 12 0
Downing, Sullivan (3) and Rarick; Tewksbury and Peck.
TROY 4, SOUTH GLENS FALLS 3
South Glens Falls 200 000 1 — 3
Troy 001 010 2 — 4
CHATHAM 3, TAMARAC 1
Tamarac 000 001 0 — 1 3 0
Chatham 100 010 x — 3 6 0
Doty and Layton; Matazinsky and Matthews.
GREENWICH 8, MECHANICVILLE 0
Greenwich 800 000 0 — 8 10 1
Mechanicville 000 000 0 — 0 1 5
Heimbach and Linnett; Alonzo, Ford (1), Alonzo (3) and Liberty.