Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pitcher perfect: Quackenbush flawless in Class CC title game

Hoosick Falls High School sophomore pitcher Rachel Quackenbush deals during Wednesday's game against Hoosic Valley in the Section II Class CC championship game. Quackenbush pitched a perfect game and led the Panthers to an 8-0 victory at Clifton Common. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

It was just another day at the office for Hoosick Falls High School sophomore Rachel Quackenbush.

Quackenbush had something special cooking in the Section II Class CC softball championship game, but her and her Hoosick Falls High School teammates did not recognize it until after the bottom of the fifth inning.

At that point, Quackenbush had faced 15 Hoosic Valley batters and set them all down in order. In the sixth, she struck out the side.

Quackenbush struck out the first two batters she saw in the seventh and up strode Eileen Farrell as the Indians’ last hope for a baserunner. Farrell ripped a line drive to shortstop, but Hoosick Falls senior Jenna Priore was there to make the catch, preserving Quackenbush’s perfect game and a second straight Section II Class CC title for the Panthers in an 8-0 victory at Clifton Common.

Rachel Quackenbush speaks with the media after her perfect game performance against Hoosic Valley.

"I didn’t even know I had a perfect game going until the bottom of the fifth," said Quackenbush. "Then I thought about it and I started getting nervous and I had to buckle down because I had a perfect game going. It’s amazing."

Quackenbush struck out 16 and made two assists in the field in the effort.

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

Hoosic Valley second baseman Chrissy Sanderson watches the ball float in front of her during Wednesday's game against Hoosick Falls.

In three games this year against Hoosic Valley, Quackenbush went 3-0, allowing 0 runs over 21 innings pitched. It's no wonder that coaches from around Section II call her the best pitcher in the area, regardless of her age or classification in which she plays. There aren't many pitchers who could throw a no-hitter, no less a perfect game, with a title on the line for the other team.

There was no secret to her success on Wednesday. She threw it hard - she did mix in a few nasty changeups - and the Hoosic Valley hitters just could not time her up.

"I don’t think she had to throw anything fancy," said Hoosick Falls head coach Charlie Weeden. "When she threw straight heat, they didn’t catch up to it."

Her hot pitching carried a Hoosick Falls team to the New York State Class C Final Four a season ago...but the story in 2010 is that this team can do some damage with the bat.

Junior third baseman Karley Morin went 3-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored in Wednesday's championship game.

Morin played right field a season ago, but moved to third base this year.

"This year we put her at third base and she’s played great at third base," Weeden said of Morin. "I think she’s the best third baseman in our league."

For more from Quackenbush and Morin, check out the video in this post.

Jenna Priore, Shelby Jones, Katie Kovage, Marissa Davendonis, Samantha Skott and Alysson Schneider also added base hits for the Panthers in the 10-hit attack.

Hoosic Valley, it should be noted, made an unlikely, yet inspiring, run to the title game. The No. 8 seeded Indians topped No. 1 Lake George in the quarterfinals and beat No. 4 Maple Hill in the semis, setting up a third game against Wasaren League rival Hoosick Falls.

The Indians have a roster of primarily younger players and should be a threat in the Wasaren and in Section II yet again in 2011.

Rachel Quackenbush prepares to throw the ball against Hoosic Valley Wednesday afternoon in Clifton Park.

It was her second perfect game on the varsity level. She also tossed one as an eighth-grader.

No. 2 Hoosick Falls plays Section II Class C champion Duanesburg in Friday's Class CC/C Playoff game, which will be contested at 5 p.m. at Clifton Common. Tickets are $6 and the section-wide awards ceremony will precede the games.

Hoosick Falls won a 1-0 non-league contest over Duanesburg earlier this season. It should be an instant classic between two of Section II's premier programs.

The box score is below. Click on it to see a full-size image.

Our Ed Weaver was all over the games at Veeder Park, where Cohoes and Columbia both lost in the semifinal round.

Taconic Hills scored on the international tiebreaker rule in the 10th inning, posting a 1-0 victory over the Tigers.

Taconic Hills' Aleshia Link struck out 16 in the game, and she fanned two in the bottom of the 10th inning to protect the Titans' precarious lead as Cohoes had the game-tying and game-winning runs in scoring position.

"Yeah, they were some tears," said Cohoes sophomore pitcher Courtney Dayter. "We have a five seniors and they felt pretty bad."

"We just didn’t get it done," said Cohoes coach Frank Ryan. "We didn’t hit the whole game. Usually, someone gets a key hit or two but not today."

Ryan had commented for my column on the international tiebreaker rule in May.

This was what he said at the time:

“You get a runner on second, you bunt her over and you hope something happens,” said Cohoes head coach Frank Ryan. “You score and then they have the same scenario. You gave them a run and now we’re going to try to give you a run. It’s not like you really earn the run. I’d rather just play, myself.”

Not that Ryan was blaming Wednesday's loss on the rule at all....I just found it ironic that his team was the first to lose a game with the rule in effect this postseason.

Taconic Hills and Mechanicville should be a great game on Friday.

Bethlehem beat Columbia, winning the season series 2-1, and advancing to the Section II Class AA title game against upstart Colonie with a 3-1 victory over the Blue Devils

"We haven’t been in the finals in over 10 years," said a jubilant Bethlehem coach Karen Gentile, who also added the school last won a Section II softball title 31 years ago.

The Eagles scored twice in the second inning, as McKenzie Pezza doubled home one run and scored on Kat Rice’s single against Columbia ace Jena Servidone.
They added another run in the fourth.

"Jena pitched very well," Columbia coach Gary Holtz said. "That one inning, they put some people on and that was it. They’re very good at (producing runs) and they work very hard at it."

For the full story on both of those games, check out Thursday's edition of The Record.

Section II softball championship games
Friday, June 4
All games at Clifton Common at 5:15 p.m. following Section II awards ceremony
Admission is $6
Class AA
S9 Colonie vs. S2 Bethlehem
Class A
1 South Glens Falls vs. 2 Ichabod Crane
Class B
1 Mechanicville vs. 3 Taconic Hills
Class CC/C Playoff
CC2 Hoosick Falls vs. C 1 Duanesburg
Class D
1 Germantown vs. 2 Hartford

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