Davie fuels Rockets past SK; Milford edges Margaretville girls
By Julia Green
Roxbury 9, South Kortright 3 (Thursday)
Heather Davie was a thorn in the side of the South Kortright Rams’ softball team on Thursday – and not just from her place inside the pitcher’s circle.
Davie’s base running baffled the 11th-seeded Rams’ defense and contributed to a number of runs for the sixth-seeded Rockets, who won their first sectional game, 9-3. She had the lone triple for Roxbury in the third inning and stole home to give the Rockets a 3-1 lead. Davie, who went 3-for-4 and threw eight strikeouts to lead the Rockets to victory, earned the win to move to 14-2 on the season. She and Karly Bolger combined for a total of six stolen bases.
“Rachel [Meckes] and Karly and Heather have run bases like that all year,” said Roxbury Head Coach Jane Ware. “So that’s always to your advantage that you want to take the extra base. If they’re not paying attention you’re going to take the extra base, and when it happens it upsets people. When Heather stole home, it was obvious that it upset the infield.”
Davie’s third-inning slide into home had an obvious impact on South Kortright pitcher Robin Ward, who walked three of the next four batters and gave up a single.
“The base running definitely affected something on defense,” Ware said.
Despite a 1-0 South Kortright lead after the second inning, the Rockets turned up the offensive heat in the third inning, tallying five runs to take a lead they never relinquished.
“The top of my order was just on,” Ware said. “We started with an out, then Rachel led off with a double and Karly had the bunt single and then Heather had the triple. So we just had three perfect hits together to take the lead. The third inning was really good for us, and the base running all game long helped us – they had to make plays.”
The Rams managed to hold Roxbury scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, but the Rockets again turned the pressure on in the sixth inning, pushing four more runs across the plate. Ward walked the first Roxbury batter, who was replaced by a pinch runner who stole second and third, followed by Jenna Johnston who tallied a single and then stole second and third.
“Then Brianna [George] walked and Rachel walked to load the bases, so she lost control again a little bit,” Ware said.
Bolger and Davie once again made contact to drive in the additional runs.
The Rockets traveled to Downsville to face the No. 3 Eagles on Tuesday; no result was available at press time.
“We just have to play our best to compete,” Ware said in an interview Tuesday. “The first game was a really tough one – both teams laid it on the line. They know what we’re going to do and we know they’ve got those two or three strong hitters with a lot of experience. We just have to keep them of the bases and have a little more confidence on our side.”
An earlier meeting between the two teams this season produced a 1-0 Roxbury win with Davie tallying 13 strikeouts.
Milford 5, Margaretville 4 (Monday)
It was the second trip to Milford in four days for the Margaretville Blue Devils softball team when they traveled to face the host Wildcats, ranked 15th in the state, on Monday. The match-up, originally scheduled for Friday, was postponed at the last minute due to rain.
“It was the second trip up to Milford, so the girls were anxious to get the thing going,” said Margaretville Assistant Coach Kyle Holden. “We just wanted to play a tough game. We didn’t want to give up anything to them – we just wanted to play some good softball.”
And some good softball it was, as 12th-seeded Margaretville battled fifth-seeded Milford to the bitter end.
Blue Devils pitcher Karli Tait got the day off to a good start, cutting down Milford’s top three batters with three strikeouts to retire the side.
“We kind of hoped to jump on them quick and put the pressure on them quick,” Holden said. “And in the bottom half of the first, Karli got into a groove and struck out the first three she faced. I think that took a little pressure off us defensively. When she’s pitching well she’s one of the best pitchers in the section.”
Tait tallied nine strikeouts in the game.
The scoring drought ended at the bottom of the second inning, when Milford pushed a run across the plate, but was unable to do more damage as they stranded a couple of base runners. The Blue Devils allowed another run in the bottom of the fourth inning as they struggled to mount an offense at the plate, but in the top of the fifth the winds changed.
Margaretville third baseman Brittney Hull nailed a double to right field to drive two runs across the plate and tie the game at two apiece. The opportunity presented itself for the Blue Devils to do more damage immediately thereafter, as Milford’s pitcher hit a batter to load the bases, but a hard drive directly at the shortstop turned into a double-play by a quick Milford defense robbed the Blue Devils of the opportunity to post anything more on the scoreboard.
A stingy Blue Devils’ defense managed to hold Milford scoreless in the top of the sixth, returning to the plate to tally two more runs for a 4-2 lead.
“Milford’s quite a composed team and we did get them a little bit out of their game,” Holden said. “Their pitcher is quite a controlled pitcher, and we were able to get her just a little bit out of her game. She hit a couple of batters and we got some runners on and caused an error – it was good, we were pushing the tempo a little bit.”
The host Wildcats narrowed the gap in the sixth inning, pushing another run across the plate to make it 4-3.
“They just wouldn’t go away,” Holden said. “It was just solid, timely hitting. They put a couple of hits together and we just tried to keep the ball ahead of the other base runners.”
The Blue Devils carried that one-run lead into the bottom of the seventh, where they managed to tally one out without allowing any runners to reach base, but a single to center field put the tying run on. Another single to left put the go-ahead run on first and advanced the tying run to second. Margaretville became a step closer to upsetting Milford when the next batter grounded out, bringing Milford pitcher Gabby Skillen to the plate.
It appeared that the upset was to be realized when Skillen hit a popup – right back at the pitcher. Fans and players held their collective breath as it appeared the ball was in Tait’s glove, but it bounced out to allow the tying run to score and the go-ahead run to advance to third. That brought Briar Rosenboom to the plate, and Tait managed to get a jump on Rosenboom, putting her in a 0-2 hole, but she hit a drive into the left-center gap to push the winning run across the plate.
“They were really disappointed because they know they had that game,” Holden said. “We didn’t want one player to think it was one play that cost us the game – it could have been anything. So they were down, but they picked each other up and didn’t point fingers, and about halfway home they started to realize that they played with one heck of a ball club, so I think they felt a little better about themselves.
“You could really sense the last three innings that the pressure was on our girls defensively,” he added. “We were just holding on with everything we had, and you could feel the pressure there.”
The Blue Devils finish the season with a 6-7 overall record and will lose five seniors to graduation: catcher Caitlyn Roberts, first baseman Brandi Balcom, center fielder Kaitlin Buerge, third baseman Brittney Hull and outfielder and utility player Julia Brophy.
“We have Karli back and the modified is sending up some solid players,” Holden said. “We’re actually going to have a little more speed coming up next year, so I envision us running the bases a little more aggressively and continuing to push the envelope a little bit.”
He added that the Blue Devils will be looking to defend their back-to-back Upper Delaware League titles next year.
“Our record wasn’t the greatest, we made it into sectionals and got the 12th seed, but they were very proud that they were able to pull it together and get the Upper Delaware League title,” he said. “That was one of their goals.”