Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quackenbush's double saves day for Panthers

Rachel Quackenbush had her scoreless innings streak snapped six pitches into Wednesday's regional final against St. Lawrence, but her run-scoring double in a tie game in the seventh inning (pictured, above) gave Hoosick Falls a walk-off 4-3 and a trip to the New York State Final Four in Waterloo for the first time in 21 years. (All photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

She was pretty good in the pitcher's circle, too. She allowed three singles and struck out 13 in the complete game performance, allowing only one earned run.

But that game-winning double was especially sweet for the Hoosick Falls freshman, who had struggled mightily in the cleanup spot for the Panthers during their run through the Section II Class CC playoffs.

"I was just thinking about all the things like staying tall and driving through the ball," Quackenbush said, "and I prayed. I relaxed, I swung and wanted to see what would happen and luckily, it was good."

The Hoosick Falls bench erupts as Jenna Priore nears home plate as the game-winning run in Wednesday's regional final thriller against St. Lawrence at the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury.

The Panthers allowed an unearned run early in the first inning but rallied to take the lead in the fourth. St. Lawrence charged back for two in the top of the seventh, tying the game at 3-3 and sending the game into the bottom of the frame.

Carly Pine hit a one-out single and Jenna Priore took first when Pine was forced out at second on a fielder's choice on the next play. Quackenbush's two-out, two-strike double vaulted the Panthers into the NYS semifinals for the first time since 1988.

"We wanted it so bad in that last inning, it was just amazing," senior catcher Emily Ciuk said. "(Quackenbush) threw great today. It was a tough hitting team, but she did great."

Quackenbush winds up during Wednesday's regional championship game against St. Lawrence. She finished with 13 strikeouts and worked out of a jam in the fifth inning to improve to 22-3.

Hoosick Falls will face Section IX champion Rhinebeck (15-8) in Saturday’s New York State Class C semifinal at Waterloo High School at 1:30 p.m. The winner advances to the state championship game, also at Waterloo High School, at 5 p.m.

"We just wanted to make it into sectionals and we got here," Quackenbush said. "I think a lot of people underestimated us, so it feels good to be here."

Any good omens for the Panthers? The only two previous regional championships in school softball history - 1987 and 1988 - both resulted in New York State Class C championships.

Check out the full story in Thursday's edition of The Record and check back here sometime on Thursday to get a quick preview for each of the five local teams (Columbia baseball and softball, Maple Hill baseball and Mechanicville and Hoosick Falls softball) moving on the NYS Final Fours this weekend in Waterloo and the Binghamton area.

Click here for the latest softball brackets from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association

Click here for the latest baseball brackets from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association

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