Andes, Roxbury advance in softball tourney; Blue Devil girls fall in opening round

By Julia Green
As the regular season drew to a close, the Andes girls weren’t even planning to compete in the 2010 Section IV Class D softball tournament. Due to scheduling conflicts with the senior class trip, the Mountaineers were under the impression that the final week of scheduled competition would bring their successful season to a close.
But then, something changed.
“The seniors wanted to play against Gilboa and I kept feeling bad that we weren’t going to go, and our record was so good,” said Andes Head Coach Tamara Snyder, whose team finished the regular season 8-2. “I really thought they deserved to go to sectionals as seniors.”
And the seniors didn’t disappoint. Pitcher Karli Tait tallied 11 strikeouts for Andes to finish the season with a total of 131, and Rachel Andrews – who entered the game hitting .582 – connected for one of the Mountaineers’ key hits early in the game.
“It was the top of the second inning and Rachel cracked the biggest home run of her entire life,” Snyder said. “She rounded second and the ball was still rolling and she made it home and they still hadn’t gotten the ball in to the infield. It set the whole bar for the rest of the game.”
Tait, Andrews, and fellow senior Jenna Weaver would miss Andes’ quarterfinal match-up on Tuesday due to the senior trip.
“Win or lose, that was their last game no matter what,” Snyder said. “They won, and Rachel hit a home run and it was just such a moment for her, I was so proud. It was wonderful. And I told the girls before the game that if we won they could dump water on me and if we lost, I could dump water on the player of my choice. And as soon as Rachel hit that home run, I stood on third and thought, ‘Yep, I’m gonna get that water dumped on me.’”
Following Andrews’ home run in the second inning, the Mountaineers kept up the offensive pressure, adding another run in the top of the third and three more in the top of the fifth to take a 5-0 lead. The Wildcats put a run on the board in the bottom of the fifth and loaded the bases and scored two in the bottom of the seventh, but they were unable to mount enough of a rally to steal the victory as Andes posted a 6-3 win over Gilboa.
“We ran the bases very well, and they made a couple errors but I didn’t think they made that many mistakes – we just put the ball in play and took advantage of that home run,” Snyder said. “It really set the bar, and what a great moment to go out on.”
Mariah Ruff led the Andes offense, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the top of the fifth.
“That was the first time they played on a skin infield and I kept telling them to play low, that as soon as the ball hits the ground it’s going to pick up speed, and they did really well,” Snyder said. “I was really happy with their performance. Everything went together very well; it was very awesome to watch their progress as one of the last games of the year.”
With the win, the Mountaineers advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Section IV tournament, in which they were scheduled to face top-seeded Afton on Tuesday. On Monday, Snyder said a key challenge for Andes would result from the absence of their trio of seniors, which would greatly impact the infield: Andes would be forced to play different people at catcher, pitcher, first and second base.
“The only ones playing the same position are my third baseman and my outfield, so it’s going to be interesting,” she said. “But it’s next year’s team.”
Leading up to Tuesday’s game, Snyder anticipated that Ruff would be pitching, Gina Tait would be catching, Kelsey Little would play first, Marissa Heannings would play second and Desirae Coss would fill in at third base. The only infielder in her usual position would be Ashley Terry at third base.
“I’m not nervous,” Snyder said. “I said to the girls, ‘Don’t get down on yourselves if something happens, or if you make an error.’ I want them to have fun because it’s the last game.”
The Mountaineers traveled to face Afton on Tuesday afternoon; no result was available at press time. The winner of Tuesday’s game will advance to the semifinal round on Thursday.

Rockets post win over Franklin to advance
The Rockets bounced back from last week’s crossover loss to rout the visiting Franklin Purple Devils 13-4 in the first round of the Section IV tournament on Friday.
“I thought they played well,” said Roxbury Head Coach Jane Ware, whose team gave up two runs in the first inning before settling in and loading the bases in the bottom of the first. They were unable to bring in any runs, but the Rockets tallied three of their own in the bottom of the second to take a 3-2 lead. “They came back. [Franklin] scored two runs, but they thought they had lots of time, so it was fine.”
Roxbury pitcher Heather Davie tallied 10 strikeouts and walked four in the two-hitter.
“Heather pitched well,” Ware said, “and two of the four walks we threw out at second, so they didn’t really hurt us.”
The Rockets’ offense was led by Rachel Meckes and Tarah DiBenedetto, who each went 3-for-4.
“They worked hard and expected to win,” Ware said of her squad, which advanced to face Jefferson on Tuesday. In an earlier match-up this season, the Rockets posted a 3-0 win over the JayHawks. On Tuesday, Ware said, good defense and pitching will be key.
“We just have to play good defense, and Heather has to be on,” she said. “She was on the first game and pitched a no-hitter.” Roxbury’s win was the last defeat Jefferson suffered this season. “[Jefferson] has a good defense and their kids have been playing forever and they have a good pitcher.”
The winner of Tuesday’s game, for which no score was available at press time, will advance to the semifinal round on Thursday.

Blue Devils fall to Milford
After claiming the 2010 Delaware League title last week, the Margaretville Blue Devils fell to host Milford in the first round of the 2010 Section IV tournament to bring their season to a close.
The 10th-seeded Blue Devils traveled to face the No. 7 Wildcats on Thursday, when they fell 17-5.
Margaretville catcher Amy Filupeit connected for a triple to lead the Blue Devils’ offense, but the squad was unable to mount enough of an offense to counter the Wildcats’ hitting. Milford tallied nine runs over the first three innings to put the Blue Devils in a 9-0 hole out of which they were unable to climb.
Margaretville finally put a run on the board in the top of the fourth inning and added a second in the fifth. A three-run sixth inning indicated signs of life, but Milford scored eight more runs over the final two innings to put it out of reach.
The Blue Devils finish the season with a 9-7 overall record.