Monday, April 19, 2010

Mechanicville makes most of 'Burgh's mistakes

Monday afternoon, the Mechanicville High School softball team handed Lansingburgh a 3-0 Colonial Council verdict at Knickerbacker Park in Troy.

Mechanicville's sophomore third baseman, Alysa Russell, watches a ball hit to left field. Russell scampered around the bases for an inside-the-park home run in the first at-bat of the game. (Photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

One would have figured it would be all downhill from there for the Lansingburgh High softball team, but that wasn't quite the case. 'Burgh's Sam Woitkoski limited the powerful Red Raiders' offense to just two more hits (a single by Russell in the fifth and an RBI double by Anna Arceneaux one at-bat later). Three miscues in the outfield and a couple of baserunning mistakes, however, were what knocked Lansingburgh out of the game.

Mechanicville won, 3-0, in an interesting game played at Knickerbacker Park in Troy.

For the full story, check out Tuesday's edition of The Record.

In the third inning, Mechanicville's Kelsey Hines drove a line drive blast to center field. Lansingburgh's Jackie Rezey saw the ball pop in and out of her glove and Arceneaux scored Mechanicville's second run on the play.

In the fifth, Russell's bloop to right field followed a Danielle Manupella walk. None of the Lansingburgh fielders could get to the ball quickly enough, allowing Manupella to scoot to third, putting runners on the corners instead of on first and second. Arceneaux's double ultimately made this a moot point.

Lansingburgh second baseman Briana 'Breezy' Zadoorian makes a catch during Monday's Colonial Council game.

Lansingburgh put five runners on base in the game. The first two were doubled up and the final three were stranded.

Kayla Cole led off the second inning with an infield single, only to be picked off at second base when she made an aggressive turn around the bag on Jackie Rezey's successful sacrifice bunt attempt.

Meg Volz led off the fourth with a hard single, only to be doubled up at first when Sam Woitkoski followed with a line drive to Russell so sharp that Volz didn't have time to get back.

Arceneaux recorded five of the last nine outs via the strikeout, as her nasty changeup fooled batter after batter.

Anna Arceneaux, the reigning New York State Class B Co-Player of the Year, throws a pitch during Monday's game. She allowed five hits - only two left the infield - and walked none. She struck out eight to capture to win.

In the first year of the Colonial Council's two-division format, this was the only time Mechanicville and Lansingburgh are scheduled to meet in the regular season.

Division One
Albany Academy for Girls

Division Two
Holy Names

Should both teams win their respective divisions, they'll meet in an end-of-season crossover championship game. In fact, all the teams will face their respective seeds, (two plays two, three plays three, etc) at the conclusion of the regular season.

Cohoes, however, is going to give the Knights one heck of a fight in the second division.

Lansingburgh junior pitcher Sam Woitkoski delivers a pitch toward home plate Monday afternoon. This is her first year as the Lady Knights' No. 1 starter.

After the game, both coaches were effusive in their praise for the way Woitkoski handled a power-packed Mechanicville lineup, limiting it to three hits.

Woitkoski isn't a power pitcher - she struck out just two - but delivered just the right balance of change in speed and change in location to keep the aggressive Mechanicville hitters off-balance.

Woitkoski spent the offseason balancing cheerleading and volleyball practices along with pitching sessions with her father. All the hard work has paid off as she's exceeded everyone's expectations so far. Still, a good deal of the credit has to go to her batterymate Meg Volz, who has done her best to tutor Woitkoski in her transformation into a full-time pitcher.

"Meg is a very mature ballplayer," Lansingburgh head coach John Cipperly said. "There is no doubt about that. And that’s obviously a godsend when you’re dealing with a new pitcher, to have a catcher that can really help. I have to believe that Sam feeds off of that."

Mechanicville's Kelsey Hines stole third base in the third inning. After the inning, Cipperly asked Volz why she didn't make a throw down and Volz explained that she didn't want to risk an error on the play, which could lead to a run and rattle Woitkoski with an unearned run. Instead, Volz had faith that Woitkoski could find a way to get the third out, which she did.

Those are the types of plays Cipperly is talking about - the ones that don't show up in a box score.

"It was definitely a game we were in," Cipperly said. "You go to the seventh inning and I think we have enough offensive power that we can score three runs in an inning or more. I’m disappointed it didn’t happen, but I’m certainly encouraged that the team knows, and it’s early in the season, but the team knows now that they can play against good teams."

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