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Schools of Thought

Perfect end to season

May 26, 2008
By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald
Just when I start feeling a little worn down at the end of the spring season, I get spoiled with two no-hitters in three days, one of them a perfect game and the other just one strike away from perfection.

Wednesday was senior day for Gloversville’s softball team. I had to joke with interim coach Mike DeMagistris earlier in the day, “Well, I guess someone has to play South High in the last game of the season.”

South Glens Falls finished the season undefeated with several wins by mercy rule, even breaking the 20-run barrier several times. Pitcher Marissa Carpenter already had thrown a perfect game this season.

After honoring its three seniors, Gloversville took the field and held the Bulldogs at bay for two innings. Then gave up two runs. Then seven. Then four.

The 13-0 loss to the defending Class A state champion wasn’t anything to get twisted up about. But Gloversville was getting no-hit. They hadn’t even put a runner on base by walk or error.

Senior games are notorious for being emotional affairs, but to the Huskies’ credit they were all smiles all the time.

Carpenter was unstoppable, striking out 13. Twice, there was a chance for that one play that can break up a perfect game. In the second inning, Gloversville catcher Katelynn Benson lined a shot back to Carpenter that found the glove and ended the play in the blink of an eye.

Benson said in that instant, she was more worried about hurting Carpenter than the possibility of reaching base. She had already seen her own pitcher, Mollee Putnam, hit by three line drives this season.

The other play was on a grounder to the right side when Carpenter had to rush to cover first base for the second out of the seventh inning.

After the game, the Gloversville bench wasn’t awash with tears or quiet with frustration. It was all hugs for the seniors.

Two days later, two teams that had last played against Mayfield and lost close games they felt they should have or could have won. Fort Plain was hosting Broadalbin-Perth and trying to snap out of a hitting slump.

B-P freshman pitcher Courtney Stead came into the game without previous perfection. Without previous no-hitters.

She had thrown well, but saved her best stuff for the last game of the season. She struck out seven and had two outs in the top of the seventh inning.

With the frustration in the Fort Plain dugout over the hitting slump of a week and a half, then 6 1/3 innings without a hit, there was no way Jillian Fredericks was going to watch a full-count pitch with two out in the bottom of the seventh.

So I thought.

The pitch just missed the inside corner. That’s a girl who knows her strike zone. That’s gutsy. I wouldn’t have the guts to watch and wait for the ump to tell me if I was right or just close, and out.

Fredericks knew, trailing 1-0, one baserunner was all the Lady Hilltoppers needed.

She advanced to second on a wild pitch to cleanup hitter Brittany Nellis. Runner on second and a strong bat at the plate. I was already forming the first few paragraphs in my mind about the ultimate swing in momentum and emotions that could be created with one big swing of the bat by Nellis.

Nellis smacked the second pitch, but it was reachable for Broadalbin-Perth center fielder Jen Carter.

What a way for a freshman ace to end the season and head into sectionals. The Lady Patriots barely earned a bid to the Section II tournament, but now can prepare for their first game with some degree of confidence.

Their pitching was outstanding and the defense flawless.

Coach Garry Roorda said if that continues, they may surprise some people in the playoffs.

Considering they’ll draw one of the top two or three teams in Class B, I’d say that’s what it’s going to take. But at least they know they are capable of playing that well.

Bill Cain is a sports reporter for The Leader-Herald. We invite your feedback on this or any other sports-related topic. E-mail your opinions or ideas to us at'>


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