Monday, May 17, 2010

Eagles solve Servidone, clinch South Divison share

Bethlehem High's softball team had scored just one run off Columbia's Jena Servidone in the last 28 innings of action between the two teams, but the Eagles' offense exploded Monday afternoon.

Columbia's Paige Sovey (13) is tagged out at home plate in the second inning of Monday's Suburban Council softball game by Bethlehem catcher Sammy Smaldone (with ball). Bethlehem won, 8-4. (Photo by Tom Killips - The Record).

Bethlehem head coach Karen Gentile called it a "fluke." Columbia's Jena Servidone, who had allowed just one run in her last 28 innings pitched against Bethlehem, was touched up by the Eagles Monday afternoon with the Suburban Council South Division title on the line.

The Eagles connected on 10 base hits and made the most of four Columbia errors, posting an 8-4 victory in East Greenbush. Meghan Burns led the offensive attack with three hits and three RBI while Sammy Smaldone added two RBI.

"We’ve seen Jena the last few years and she knows us," said Bethlehem head coach Karen Gentile. "She usually shuts us down. Today was a fluke. I don’t expect this to happen every time. She is a very, very good pitcher."

Bethlehem starter Toni Edwards walked two hitters in the first inning and allowed a single run in the third, but was otherwise solid through six innings.

Then the Blue Devils started to mount a comeback in the seventh. Edwards' first seven pitches in the inning were balls and she walked five around a strikeout, forcing Gentile to bring Erica Palleschi in from the bullpen.

Palleschi allowed Caitlyn Cooper to drive in two runs on a single, but retired the next two batters in order to preserve the 8-4 victory.

Bethlehem (12-3, 16-3) hosts Guilderland Wednesday in its Suburban Council finale. Columbia (11-4, 15-4) travels to Mohonasen Wednesday with a chance to split the division title if the Eagles stumble against Guilderland.

Suburban Council
North Division
Shenendehowa, 14-0, 18-0
Saratoga Springs, 8-5, 9-5
Shaker, 7-5, 7-5
Niskayuna, 6-6, 6-6
Burnt Hills, 4-8, 4-8
Ballston Spa, 1-11, 1-11

South Division
Bethlehem, 12-3, 16-3
Columbia, 11-4, 15-4
Guilderland, 7-8, 8-10
Colonie, 6-8, 8-8
Averill Park, 5-10, 5-10
Mohonasen, 2-10, 2-10

The Eagles had lost three straight before beating some of the best teams in the state en route to winning the prestigious ‘Ace’ Morabito Tournament title in Binghamton the weekend before last.

"I give them credit because we handled them, Shen beat them and they lost to Ballston Spa," said Columbia High head coach Gary Holtz. "And then they came back. They have the ability to do that, so I really give them credit for that."

We will see how the Blue Devils rebound in the postseason. Along with Shenendehowa and Bethlehem, Columbia has to be considered one of the favorites for the Section II Class AA title.

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