SCHODACK — After reaching the Sectional championship game in each of the past two seasons, the Maple Hill varsity softball team finds itself fighting to get a ticket back into Section II’s post-season classic.
With six league games remaining on the schedule, the Wildcats sit at 3-5 in the Patroon Conference and must achieve a .500 conference record if they want another crack at the Section II title. To do that, they must win at least four of their remaining six contests.
But as some old wisenheimer once said: “It’s not about how you start, but how you finish.” and after winning their last three games, the team has turned what was a disappointing 0-5 conference record into something to hope for over the course of five days.
“It’s a win, it’s our third in a row, and we’re starting to right the ship,” head coach Pat Austin said after his squad blanked Coxsackie-Athens 9-0, on Tuesday.
Despite their success, Austin admits his team still has work to do. ” I’m a perfectionist at times so I kinda wanted more runs at the beginning of the game.”
The team scored two quick runs in the bottom of the first inning off back-to-back doubles from juniors McKenzie Seymour and Arianna Papas. Maple Hill then left the door open for winless Coxsackie when they did not add to their lead in either the third or fourth innings.
Before his team started hitting in the bottom of the fourth inning the coach motivated his squad: “let’s put up some runs here…..don’t take them for granted.” All of a sudden the bats came alive, and in their remaining plate appearances, the Wildcats added runs. First with two in the fourth, three in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
A strong outing from sophomore Alysa Houghtaling – 7.0 innings pitched, 84 pitches, .702 Strike percentage, 2 hits, 0 runs, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks – kept the Coxsackie bats at bay, preventing Maple Hill from having to hit in the seventh.
The Wildcats host Catskill today at 4:15 p.m. The game is being played at Maple Hill High School.
-Dylan Rossiter – @ByDylanRossiter – Rossiter@518Sports.com-