SOUTH GLENS FALLS — On Saturday afternoon, Ballston Spa and Ichabod Crane played for respective state titles. In the Class AA final, Ballston Spa fell to Section X representative Victor 7-1, while Ichabod Crane beat Susquehanna Valley out of Section IX in Class B to win the state final 2-0.
Ichabod Crane vs Susquehanna Valley
The game was a struggle early on as both starting pitchers, Calista Phippen of Ichabod Crane and Sophia Pappas of Susquehanna Valley, were dominant. The game was tied at zero until the bottom of the sixth when Kaili Saccento dropped a bunt single, beating it out and allowing a run to score and give the Riders a 1-0 lead.
Later in the inning, it was Ichabod coming up big again as Kylie Rivers reached base to get another run in for her team, giving them a 2-0 lead, one that Phippen held down in the seventh inning to give the Riders their second state title in program history, also winning the state title in 2015.
Phippen was in control throughout the whole game. She was coming off a no-hitter earlier in the day in the state semifinals and was thrown right back in the circle for the state championship. She threw her second complete game, only allowing one hit, a bunt single from Hallie Martin in the sixth inning, and struck out 13. Between both games Saturday, she pitched 14 shutout innings, allowed just one hit and struck out 33.
“I put in a lot of effort, but my teammates put in just as much. They had my back the entire time, and I could not be more proud of them. I’m just so happy that we could all do this together. We all put in everything we had and it paid off,” Phippen said.
Her career comes full circle with this title, as Ichabod Crane’s first state title came in her freshman year and her first year on varsity.
“I was a lot more composed (this year). I had a lot more confidence than I did my freshman year and I had a lot more confidence in my team, because I knew they wanted it, whereas in my freshman year we didn’t know if we were going to win. This year, we knew we had a chance,” she said.
They finish the season with a record of 22-1.
Ballston Spa vs Victor
It seemed as though Ballston Spa had a chance with the game tied at one heading into the fifth inning. However, that was when Victor’s bats came alive, scoring two runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth as the Scotties fell 7-1.
Victor’s top of the fifth started strong, with Chloe Wittier leading off with a double, then was singled home by the next batter, Kyra Grooms to give Victor a 2-1 lead. Later in the inning, Erin Wong delivered an RBI single to put the Blue Devils up by two runs.
Things went south for Ballston Spa in the sixth as it was Whittier coming up in the biggest way possible, launching a grand slam to centerfield to put Victor up 7-1, which was an insurmountable deficit for Ballston Spa to come back from.
Ballston Spa had major heroics in the semifinal game earlier in the day as Angelina Stile hit a walk-off home run to cap off a comeback after trailing 5-3 to win 6-5, but the team did not have the same magic in the final game, mustering only one run. That run came in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly from Paige Davis.
In the late innings, Ballston Spa had a couple of hits but could not score.
“(Victor) was able to get a good part of the ball, found some gaps at times. Unfortunately (Victor starter Katie Sidare) had some good spin, and we were getting underneath it,” Ballston Spa coach Amanda Fifield said.
Ballston Spa has a young team and wants to be back in this position next year. “Absolutely. The younger girls will definitely come back hungry and wanting to be back here,” Fifield said.
The Scotties finish with a final record of 22-4.