Saturday, May 1, 2010

Crusaders use the H-bomb in Uncle Sam tourney

Winning three games in two days, the Catholic Central High School softball team proved to be, without a doubt, the best squad on the diamond in the Collar City.

Catholic Central High School catcher Kirsten Buchan makes a throw during the 2010 Uncle Sam Softball Tournament at Knickerbacker Park in Lansingburgh. Hannah Kutny smacked game-winning hits in extra innings twice to lift the Lady Crusaders to the tournament title. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

After topping Troy High in a crucial Big 10 Conference game Friday afternoon, the Catholic Central softball team was ready for more Collar City softball on Saturday.

Hannah Kutny, known as the H-Bomb to her teammates, smacked the game-winning single to left field in the 10th inning of the Crusaders' opening round 2-1 victory over Tamarac and she struck again in the championship game against Lansingburgh.

Kutny crushed a ball to the right center field gap in the top of the eighth inning, sending Taylor Adams across the plate with the first run of the game. Kutny, thinking about an inside-the-park home run, was gunned down at the plate, but the damage had been done.

"She’s been doing this all year," said CCHS head coach Jack O’Grady. "She plays great defense. She’s a sophomore and she’s over and above."

Anna Cochis closed out her complete game shutout in the bottom of the inning, finishing with six strikeouts against just one walk in the 1-0 victory at Knickerbacker Park.

"I stayed calm and I knew everyone was behind me to back me up," Cochis said. "I let them hit it and let everyone field it."

Maddie Coneys struck out seven Tamarac batters in her opening round victory for the Crusaders (4-1, 9-3).

"I am definitely proud of the team staying together that long because we really need these to get us through sectionals," said Kutny. "Especially since we hope to win the Big 10. This gives us a good jump start."

"Our goal is to win the Big 10 title, which we haven’t won in a while," said O'Grady. "Winning this is a bonus. We have a solid defense and when the bats get going, we can play with anybody, just about."

Coneys was impressed by Lansingburgh hurler Sam Woitkoski, who pitched Friday afternoon and in the Knights’ 3-1 opening round victory over six-time defending champion Troy High as well. In the title game defeat, the only run scored against Woitkoski was unearned.

"Sam is a really good pitcher," Coneys said. "She has a lot of junk that isn’t easy to hit. It was good to know we can come back and get it."

Troy High had won six straight Uncle Sam titles and had appeared in eight straight title games until 'Burgh knocked out the Flying Horses in the opening round Saturday afternoon.

O’Grady admitted that having two aces to use in a doubleheader certainly helped.

"It’s a headache because you don’t know who to pitch," he laughed. "If you have one good one, you’re fortunate. If you have two, you’re blessed."

CCHS’ Stephanie Bouchard, who made a number of tough catches in center field in the tournament, added two hits in the title game, as did Amanda LaPlante.

"I give them all the credit in the world because they played two extra-inning games and that’s an outstanding tournament for them," said Lansingburgh head coach John Cipperly. "To play in two nail-biters and win them both, that’s a dream. That says a lot for them. They didn’t give up, they hung right in there and it happened for them."

The Lady Crusaders have a big week coming up with four games to play, but they claimed, at least moments after the game was over, that all the extra innings haven’t worn them down.

"We don’t really feel it," Kutny said. "When it’s this exciting it wears off and it’s just the feeling of winning. That’s the exciting part."

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

Tamarac left fielder Marissa Urkevich applies late tag on CCHS' Paige Bordon at third base during the second inning of an Uncle Sam softball tournament opening round game.

It certainly was a great day for softball. All of the games were fun and competitive. The Tamarac players should be quite proud of themselves for hanging with a Class AA contender for 10 innings.

Lansingburgh's Sam Woitkoski pitched until her arm nearly fell off and gave the Knights everything she had in a grueling three-games-in-two-days stretch.

In the first round game between Lansingburgh and Troy, the Knights scored twice in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead after the Flying Horses scored in the top of the frame on a MacKenzie Heiser single.

Meg Volz singled twice for the Knights, while Kayla Cole added an RBI triple and Sarah Cipperly and Sam Mattey each hit RBI singles.

First round games
CCHS 2, TAMARAC 1 (10 Inns.)
Tamarac (2-5, 5-6) 000 100 000 0 - 1 4 0
CCHS (4-1, 8-3) 100 000 000 1 - 2 5 1
Gokey and Fox; Coneys and Buchan.

Troy (5-1, 5-5) 100 000 0 - 1 4 1
Lansingburgh (4-2, 6-3) 210 000 x - 3 5 1
Acierno, Brinkman (4) and Heiser; Woitkoski and Volz.

Click on the boxscore to see a full-size image.

Past Champions of the Uncle Sam Softball Tournament
2000: Lansingburgh 9, Catholic Central 6
2001: Lansingburgh 17, Hoosick Falls 2
2002: Lansingburgh 3, Troy 1
2003: Lansingburgh 9, Troy 0
2004: Catholic Central 4, Troy 2
2005: Troy 4, Lansingburgh 3
2006: Troy 15, Lansingburgh 0
2007: Troy 6, Catholic Central 2
2008: Troy 6, Catholic Central 0
2009: Troy 2, Lansingburgh 1
2010: Catholic Central 1, Lansingburgh 0 (8 Innings)

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