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SECTION III SOFTBALL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: RFA stung by Baldwinsville in Class AA quarterfinals

Steve Jones
Sports writer
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Posted 5/26/23

Falling behind by two after a half inning put the Rome Free Academy softball team in trouble right away.

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SECTION III SOFTBALL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: RFA stung by Baldwinsville in Class AA quarterfinals


Falling behind by two after a half inning put the Rome Free Academy softball team in trouble right away. Baldwinsville never trailed and knocked the Black Knights out of the Section III Class AA playoffs with a 4-2 win in the quarterfinals Thursday evening at Kost Field in Rome.

“Really tough. We battled all game,” said RFA head coach Gerry Closinski after the loss, ending the team’s season at 7-13. “Kids never quit. We had tough games and they never quit.” He added, “We played well enough today to win. We just don’t have the big boppers,” power hitters to drive in multiple runs per plate appearance. “And we will. They’re all young.”

RFA had three seniors on the roster, and will return nine players who got notable playing time who were sophomores, freshmen or eighth graders this season, including starting pitcher Madison Safin and injured pitcher Sophia Tosti, both freshmen.

The two teams had split the regular season series, taking a game each. Thursday, the Bees grabbed the lead immediately. Layla Trendowski was hit by a pitch with one out and would score the first run. Leah VerSchneider singled and scored on a single by Madalynn Gulich.

RFA got its first run in the third to make it 2-1. Kenidee Campbell got the second of her three hits to lead off the inning. She stole second and moved to third on an out. Makayla Howard hit a sacrifie fly to score Campbell.

The Bees added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Julianna Gingrich, Ella Amato and Jenna Martin opened the inning with consecutive singles. Martin’s drove in Gingrich to make it 3-1. Then Hannah Caughley hit into a fielder’s choice that plated Amato.

RFA’s attempt to get the game tied started promisingly with a walk to Diane Morris. Saige Pelton got on via error. Campbell got on with one out on another error, scoring Morris. Then Lex Thompson flied out to centerfield but pinchrunner Chloe D’Amico was doubled off second base to end the game.

“I really thought we had a chance to win,” Closinski said of the seventh inning. But Isabella Hotchkiss threw hard and mixed in the changeup and curveball RFA hitters knew were coming and still got outs. She struck out seven RFA batters in the game.

RFA didn’t get bunts down, especially early in the game, Closinski said. Safin “pitched great again. Diane Morris makes a great play. Lex Thompson makes a great play.” But the team just couldn’t put together a long inning on offense.

“Looking forward to the next few years,” said Closinski. “They battle. With the firepower, they’ll be good.”

One player RFA will not have when next season rolls around is senior captain Shea Larkin. The first baseman has played for Closinski at various levels since she was eight. “I had no clue what I was expecting coming into the season,” she said after her final varsity game. “Definitely a young team, but we’ve come a long way.” She said her role became teaching and leader during the season, showing the younger players “to not give up when we’re down a lot.” And thoughout the season, “every single girl learned something.” And Larkin is confident the program will bounce back. “I think it’s going to be a great program. A lot of power coming up” and Safin and Tosti in the circle.

Jugglers stun undefeated Camden

Class B top seed Camden’s undefeated season came to a halt in a 3-1 extra inning loss to Notre Dame Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Ella Trinkaus went all eight innings for Notre Dame and allowed one earned run in the first inning. She gave up five hits and walked two with three strikeouts. She also scored in the fourth and eighth innings on offense.

Erin Trinkaus had the two-RBI single that put the Jugglers up in the top of the eighth. Vita Waters and Maggie Trinkaus each had a double.

Ryleigh Johnson took the hard luck loss for Camden, allowing three runs (one earned) in eight innings on four hits and three walks. She struck out seven.

Camryn Shenk had a hit and drove in the lone run for Camden. Brooke Musch led off the bottom of the first and came around to score on Shenk’s hit.

Camden had swept Notre Dame in a doubleheader late in the regular season by scores of 15-4 and 15-3.

The Blue Devils end the season 21-1.

Notre Dame (14-5), the eight seed, play a semifinal game at noon Saturday at fifth-seeded Westhill (12-7).

Holmes tosses one-hitter for Spartans

Sienna Holmes held the Oswego hitters to one hit in New Hartford’s 5-0 win at home Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Class A playoffs.

The senior allowed one unearned run and struck out six. She also singled, doubled, drove in one and scored twice on offense.

Savannah Cole tripled and scored for the Spartans. Sophia Burynski doubled and drove in a run. Raven Gonzales singled and had an RBI.

The second-seeded Spartans (15-3-1) will take on six seed Central Square (10-9) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Accelerate Sports in Whitestown. New Hartford is the defending champion after winning the Section III title last season.

Whitesboro eliminated

Central Square eliminated three seed Whitesboro with a 5-3 road win Thursday.

The Redhawks’ Payton St. Clair singled and doubled with two runs. Emerson Widowski singled and doubled with a run scored.

For Whitesboro, Alexis Stivali singled and doubled with a run scored. Emma Kane and Haylee Bostwich had two hits each. Casey Clausen tripled.

Pitching statistics were not submitted.

The Warriors went 12-8 this season.

Poland upsets Oriskany

Oriskany, which reached the Class D state title game last year, lost to visiting Poland 5-0 Thursday.

The second-seeded, defending Section III champion was held to one hit by Shelbi Hagues. She struck out 11 in a complete game win. She also had three hits and scored on offense.

Logan Cookinham had two hits, two RBIs and a run for the sevent-seeded Tornadoes. Sarah Auchowski singled and tripled and scored twice. Maddison Haver had two hits and a run. Emma Ktaszewski doubled and drove in three runs.

Statistics for Oriskany were not submitted. The team finished the season 15-5.

Poland (14-4) moves on to the semifinals and will play at 1 p.m. Saturday on the road against three seed Sackets Harbor (15-6)

West Canada to the semis

Fourth-seeded West Canada Valley is on to the Class D semifinals with a 12-2 win over Alexandria Thursday at home.

Hanna Burdick went the distance in the circle for the win, allowing two unearned runs on five hits with 12 strikeouts. At the plate she had a hit and scored twice.

West Canada’s Brook Helmer, Kaylee Usyk and Kiersten Usyk had two hits each. Reese Fellows had a hit and two RBIs.

Statistics for Alexandria were not submitted.

West Canada (14-3) will play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at top-seeded Stockbridge Valley (16-0).

Eight-run inning for Sandy Creek over Westmo

Second-seeded Sandy Creek scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth to turn a two-run deficit into a 10-4 lead in an 11-4 win over Westmoreland in the Class C quarterfinals Thursday.

Statistics for Sandy Creek were not submitted.

Westmoreland’s Jenna Tyczynski took the loss, allowing 10 runs (five earned) in five innings on 10 hits and three walks.

Autumn Millington led the Bulldogs’ offense with three hits and a run scored.

Westmoreland ends the season at 13-6.


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