Friday, May 22, 2009

High School softball 2009 postseason preview

Class AA

1. Shenendehowa
Troy High might be riding a hot streak and Columbia may have matched the Lady Plainsmen game-by-game in the Suburban Council this year, but Shen has the best pitcher in the section in Mandy Ferro and that has to make them the front runners heading into the tournament.
Shen has won six consecutive Section II titles.
This team has had its share of ups-and-downs this year, including a loss to Burnt Hills this week, but they are the team best built for the postseason and they always get a little homefield advantage at Clifton Common in the championship game, which can't hurt.
2. Troy
Other than Catholic Central, the Flying Horses are the smallest school in Class AA, as the 957 students in grades 9-11 at the school keep them just above the Class A level. No one, however, has been bigger in the Big 10 the past four years.
Seniors Shannon and Emily Jones anchor a strong lineup and sophomore Liz Belleville and freshman Julie Brinkman provide a dangerous one-two punch in the pitcher's circle.
The Flying Horses played well against all the Suburban Council teams in non-league games, which bodes well for the task they'll face in the tournament. First-year head coach Casey Halloran was in the Section II tournament, playing for Columbia High about six years ago and with her guidance, a Troy-Shenendehowa final is not out of the questions.
3. Columbia
The Blue Devils were consistently good all year, but lost a few games down the stretch before holding on to the South Division crown. Jena Servidone has been wonderful in the pitcher's circle but Columbia's lineup will need to find a way to get her some run support in a playoff game.
They struggled mightily in a game against Bethlehem's Toni Edwards, stranding eight runners on base, which brings us to:
4. Bethlehem
The Eagles, unlike Shen and Columbia, are on an absolute tear heading into the playoffs. They won 11 of their last 12 games (losing only to Shen) and Edwards, a sophomore, has arrived on the scene as a legitimate ace in the Suburban Council.
I rank Columbia one spot higher because they return nearly every player from last year's team, which bowed out in the quarterfinals to Troy.
Bethlehem has a lot of young talent, including Marybeth Dombrowksi at shortstop and could make a surprising run to the title game.
5. Saratoga Springs
The Blue Streaks hung in there in the North Division and have a nice pair of pitchers in Krista Robarge and Alysson Onyon. Check out an article from our partners at The Saratogian by clicking here.
6. Niskayuna
I didn't get to see the Silver Warriors play this year, but from what I know, they are a lot like Bethlehem with boatloads of young talent and have the potential for an upset.

Class A

1. Lansingburgh
You know the magic words by now: pitching, pitching and pitching. And with senior Erin Glikes, the Lady Knights sure have it.
Lansingburgh was also very good a season ago, but with fewer teams competing in Class A, the team got a little rusty over the course of a week off and fell apart in a loss to Burnt Hills. With that knowledge in hand, expect the Knights to be sharp heading into this year's tournament. A rigorous Colonial Council schedule certainly prepared them well, too.
Their lineup is perhaps a bit less imposing than it was in 2008, but Meg Volz and Sarah Cipperly are always on base and the team's No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters came up big in a loss at Mechanicville last Monday. They'll need to elevate their game again if the Knights want to take home their first Section II title since 2000.
2. South Glens Falls
The Bulldogs advanced to the state title game last year and won their ninth consecutive Foothills Council title this season.
Catcher Amanda Perry is one of the best players in the Section and should keep South High in contention yet again.
3. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
The Spartans' victory over Shen earned them an 8-8 record in Suburban Council play, which isn't bad for a team playing against mostly Class AA competition.
Emily Ostrom can give Burnt Hills a solid start in any game, which bodes well for a good lineup led by catcher Leanne Merchant.
4. Ichabod Crane
The Riders put together a nice record in the Patroon Conference, but they'll have to prove themselves against some of the schools that play in the larger conferences in the tournament.

Class B

1. Mechanicville
The reigning Class C New York State champs have to be considered the favorites, even sliding up by just a few students into the Class B bracket.
Anna Arceneuax and Shannon McBride provide a two-headed pitching attack and from Nos. 1 through 9, this lineup can hit.
Cohoes upset the much ballyhooed Hoosic Valley team in last year's Class B final, so the Red Raiders will have to earn another trip to the state tournament, no matter who they play.
2. Schuylerville
The Black Horses were the class of the Wasaren League this year, as Schuylerville and Mechanicville could swap in for Hoosic Valley and Cohoes in another Wasaren League-Colonial Council Class B championship game.
Katie Gallagher has done well in the pitcher's circle this year and Bridgette Plummer is one of the best sluggers around.
3. Cohoes
Don't ever count out the Tigers, even though most of their roster from New York State Final Four teams in 2007 and 2008 did not return.
Courtney Dayter has emerged as an ace pitcher and Mary Kellogg gives the team great defense in center field. Head coach Frank Ryan is a stickler for playing a tough non-league schedule, which paid dividends when the Tigers ran into a pressure situation against Hoosic Valley last year.
Cohoes whiffed in its first two chances against Mechanicville but a third meeting could be one of the most interesting games of the year.

Class CC

1. Hoosick Falls
Rachel Quackenbush, the freshman sensation, has pitched her fair share of no-hitters this season and could dominate in win-or-go-home situations.
Katie Kovage has done a good job as the No. 2 pitcher and also provides a solid bat in their lineup.
2. Hoosic Valley
Sure they lost Jen Mineau, but the Indians return a bunch of experienced position players such as Carolyn Houston, Sam Anderson and pitcher Carlee Chapko.
Hoosic Valley isn't likely to nab a top seed, but they could easily be a darkhorse team and meet Wasaren League rival Hoosick Falls in the title game.
3. Lake George

The Warriors tend to put together nice records in the Adirondack League, but they'll have their hands full with some of the teams that play south of Glens Falls.

Class C

1. Duanesburg
I didn't see this WAC team this year, but I know it's a solid program that has mimicked Mechanicville's recent success in many ways. The Eagles lost in a CC-C playoff showdown with Mechanicville last season, but won't have the Red Raiders in the way this year.
2. Waterford
The Fordians had another great season in the Central Hudson Valley League, but they are another team that needs to step it up against some of the teams they'll face from the WAC, who typically play against larger schools.
Katie Cahrenger is an ace in the circle and Jamie VanBramer anchors a solid lineup, so don't look past Waterford in a potential title game showdown with Duanesburg.

Class D

1. Argyle
2. Fort Ann
3. Hartford
One of these Adirondack League teams will win, but I haven't seen any so I can't offer any insight.

Remember to check back here on Tuesday afternoon, as I'll post the brackets here as soon as we receive them from the seeding committee.



Anonymous Mark Cooper said...

Great job with these. For the most part, I think you got it right on, but I'm skeptical about Lansingburgh. South Glens Falls and Burnt Hills are legitimate threats to take them down, and 'Burgh always seems to drop one somewhere in sectionals. Emily Ostrom is the best pitcher in the A bracket.

AA is a crapshoot. All six teams that you mentioned are contenders, and who knows, maybe Colonie could make a run similar to last year. Niskyuna underachieved this year, they are stacked with talent, and have spectacular pitching. However, you can't win a game on paper, and they could easily bow out in round one to Guilderland. Every round in AA will be spectacular, that's for sure. There are some great matchups all over.

Mechanicville, Schuylerville, Taconic Hills, Cobleskill and Cohoes are the five main contenders in B. Each of them have very strong pitchers, with Arceneaux, Gallagher, Aleshia Link, Sarah Harrison and Dayter. Mechanicville-Cohoes could meet for the third time in the quarterfinals.

Fantastic job with this preview, and check out the predictions I made for round one.

May 27, 2009 at 7:53 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay I would just like to mention that:

1. Stillwater beat Lake George in the beginning of the season, no excuses needed or wanted.

2. Stillwater beat Valley twice.

3. And though Falls is a very strong team, they only beat Stillwater by errors in the last innings on there last meeting in league play.

and yet, Stillwater isnt on here?

May 30, 2009 at 11:10 PM 

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