Sprague paces Rockets in 2-1 sectional softball win

By John Bernhardt
If you enjoy an old-fashioned pitching duel, Roxbury was the place to be last Thursday afternoon. Roxbury pitching ace Kendal Sprague and Richfield Spring’s Kaity Richvalsky went toe-to-toe, pitch-for-pitch, before the Rockets eked out a 2-1 softball decision in an electrifying extra-inning affair.
With the tension mounting with every at bat, Sprague and Richvalsky matched wits with the zeroes mounting every inning. Each hurler brought their A-game. Both chalked up double-digit strikeout totals, and both had their teams positioned to win entering the final inning of regulation play. A string of six zeroes followed Richfield and Roxbury on the scoreboard through six innings.

When it came to drama, this game had it all. It looked like Richfield Springs might put the game away during their at bat in the seventh when they loaded the bases with no outs. Sprague bore down, demonstrating the grit and the stuff that made her one of the top pitchers in the Delaware League this spring.

The Roxbury ace struck out the next batter, but the third strike squirted off the glove of Roxbury catcher Cristina Chiarappa. The Indian runner, who was out, took off for first base, and Chiarappa, caught up in the excitement of the moment, fired the ball to the first base bag. When she did, Richfield’s Madison Butler scampered home for what appeared to be the decisive run.
Unfazed, Sprague went back to work fanning Heather Federow and closing out the inning with an infield groundout.

Staying power
Roxbury showed a ton of resolve in fighting back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. With a runner at third and nobody out, the Rockets’ spirit was drained when the tying run was thrown out at home plate with the runner trying to advance on a passed ball. But, Roxbury doesn’t understand the word quit.

Kennedy Faraci worked a walk. Marissa Greene delivered a timely hit, singling to right center field with Faraci beating the throw to third, then crossing home plate with the tying score when the ball was overthrown at third.

Spotty Richfield defensive play helped the Rockets plate the winning run in the home eighth. Shannon Sprague opened the extra frame with a single. Stacey Sprague hit a ground ball to short but good fortune came the Rockets’ way when the shortstop overthrew second base attempting to secure the force out. Shannon Sprague scampered from second all the way to home to score the game winner.

Tough to hit
Kendal Sprague continues a string of incredible late-season pitching performances for Roxbury. The senior allowed only a solitary hit, striking out 10 and walking four.

The Rockets were beginning to get the bat on the ball in the late innings as Richvalsky tired. Three of Roxbury’s four hits off the Richfield ace came in the final two innings. Richvalsky struck out 11 and allowed five walks for the Indians.

With the win, Roxbury, 13-3 and seeded seventh faced second seeded Deposit (13-5) yesterday on the Lumberjacks’ home field. Results of that game were received to late to be included in this edition of the Catskill Mountain News.