Around the fifth inning in Friday’s Class B softball sectional final between Ichabod Crane and Hoosic Valley, the fans behind the center field fence were trying to remember what extra inning started with a runner being placed at second base. The feeling was extra frames would be needed to decide the outcome, and that’s exactly how it played out.
It turns out the 10 inning starts with a runner at second base, but the inning of decision came in the 13th when Ichabod Crane scored on a Hoosic Valley error to claim a 2-1 victory and the Class B title at a steamy Moreau Park.
From the jump Hoosic Valley’s Camille Coyne, and Crane’s Calista Phippen dominated from the circle. Both worked around two-out walks in the first, after which both right-handers went to work.
Coyne and her defense, retired 15 straight after that first inning base on balls, and Phippen set down 14 of the next 15 batters she faced.
In the sixth, both clubs moved a runner into scoring position for the first time on the afternoon.
The Valley’s Bridgett Ryan laid down a one-out bunt and when Cranes third baseman Jenna Downey’s throw sailed high Ryan scampered to second. Katrina Dean was next for the Indians and her sac bunt moved Ryan to third with two out.
But Phippen retired Cierra Casale on a pop-up to short and the Riders escaped the frame.
In the bottom of the inning Phippen drew a two-out walk, stole second and moved on to third when the throw carried into center field. Gabbie Fox was next and lifted a 1-2 offering from Coyne to right, that Ryan squeezed to end the threat.
The Riders threatened again in the seventh when Danielle Fox drew a four pitch walk and Ashley Walsh laid down a sac bunt moving Fox to second with one out.
Downy stepped in next and hit a blooper just behind the pitcher’s circle that plugged in the dirt. Shortstop Casale charged, bare-handed and fired nipping Downey in a bang banger at first. Coyne then caught Alexis McKearin looking on a 3-2 pitch for out number three and the teams headed to extra frames.
In the eighth the Valley used a walk and their first hit of the contest, a single by Ryan, to put runners at the corners with two away, but once again Phippen was up to the task retiring Dean to keep the Indians off the board.
In the ninth Crane picked up their first hit of the contest, a one-out single by Fox, who promptly stole second to move into scoring position as the Riders looked to end it.
Coyne however would have none of it, fanning Flint and retiring clean-up hitter Walsh on a fly to left and the game moved into the 10th.
In the top of the 11th with Taylor Champagne starting at second base, Ryan laid down a sac bunt moving her Indian teammate to third. Dean was next and bunted for a base hit putting runners at first and third with one away.
That set the stage for the defensive play of the game.
Casale sent a fly ball to shallow left that Rider shortstop Fox ran down and caught moving away from the infield. With Champagne tagging at third Fox planted, and threw a rocket to the plate easily getting Champagne for the third out of the frame.
In the 12th the Valley pushed a run across after Ashley Madigan sacrificed Casale to third, Phippen unleashed a wild one to the backstop and Casale sprinted home for the 1-0 advantage.
The Riders answered in the bottom of the frame when Phippen scored from third on a bunt single from Flint, and the teams headed to the 13th, knotted at 1-1.
After setting the Valley down in the top of the inning, Ichabod Crane wasted little time putting this one away when lead-off batter McKearin’s bunt was thrown away scoring the runner from second and the Riders celebrated their long, well earned “W”.
Coyne and Phippen were simply outstanding on a day with temperatures in the low 90’s, allowing their opponents just two bunt singles through nearly two games worth of innings. Phippen struck out 17 Indians and issued four free passes, while Coyne fanned 11, while walking three.
Truly a game where you hated to see either team tagged with the loss, but the Valley’s fine season comes to an end, and Ichabod Crane moves on to regional play continuing their quest for back to back state softball titles.