Monday, May 18, 2009

Red Raiders clinch at least a share of 2009 Colonial Council title

Members of the Mechanicville High School softball team celebrate a 6-4 victory over Lansingburgh Monday afternoon at DeCrescente Field. Mechanicville head coach Don Arceneaux (red hat) and Lansingburgh head coach John Cipperly (maroon hat) look on. (All photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

The Red Raiders clinched at least a share of the 2009 Colonial Council regular season title.
Mechanicville (14-1, 16-4-1), the defending New York State Class C champions, is currently ranked No. 4 among Class B teams. Lansingburgh (13-2, 16-4), the No. 6 Class A team in New York, can still earn a tie should the Lady Knights defeat Cohoes on Thursday and Mechanicville loses to Watervliet, which won its first game in eight years last week.

Mechanicville's Danielle Manupella (11) slides into second base after hitting a two-run single in the second inning as Lansingburgh's Sam Woitkoski applies the tag as Sarah Cipperly (10) looks on. Manupella was called out trying to stretch for an extra base, but her hit put the Red Raiders ahead for good.

Manupella, the Red Raiders' junior right fielder and No. 9 hitter, was benched over the weekend as Mechanicville competed in the James "Ace" Morabito Memorial Invitational Softball Tournament in Binghamton. She struck out looking three times in the Red Raiders' first two games, mired in a deep slump.

"It was nice to help the team out when we were down," said Manupella, who claimed her bat isn’t really relied upon at the bottom of the Mechanicville lineup.

"That’s not true," said Mechanicville head coach Don Arceneaux. "When we played them the last time, Dani had a big hit too. She has a good stick and she’s the No. 9 hitter because she’s fast.
"So I told her today, ‘I’m putting you back in because you’re a good stick, so don’t look at strike three,’" he continued. "And what do you know? She got the hit with two strikes on her."

Mechanicville sophomore pitcher Anna Arceneaux throws a pitch during Monday's Colonial Council game against Lansingburgh. She struck out nine and walked one in seven strong innings.

Anna led the charge of Red Raiders that drenched her father, Mechanicville head coach Don Arceneaux, with the ceremonial water bucket splash after the game.

"That was probably the best win we’ve had," Anna Arceneaux said. "Everyone played such a great game. Everyone was on and we battled until the end."

Lansingburgh's Kayla Cole (4) slides in safe at home as the first run of the game on Melissa Bell's ground ball to Mechanicville shortstop Shannon McBride. Mechanicville catcher M.K. Malone applies the tag.

The Lady Knights, who won the Colonial Council title in 2008, knocked off Mechanicville in the first meeting of the season in the last at-bat and were expecting another battle. In fact, the team prepared knowing it could face an early deficit and have to fight from behind.

"We expected we could get behind a team this good and our whole thing was, if we do, we’re going to make a comeback," said Lansingburgh head coach John Cipperly. "We did make a comeback, we didn’t hang our heads and I’m proud of them for that."

Lansingburgh's five hits Monday came from the No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters - Sam Mattey, Jackie Rezey and Breezy Zadoorian. With the Section II tournament right around the corner, the Lady Knights are hopeful the bottom of the order can stay hot and the top of the lineup can regain its early-season form.

"Now we go into sectionals and hopefully we get the people that we have been getting a lot from get back on track," Cipperly said. "And with the kids who came through today, we will be more of a complete team through the lineup and that will make us more dangerous."

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