Marlboro loses 2 to 1 in New York State softball final
The Marlboro High School softball team came so close to winning the New York Class B title, losing 2 to 1, to Windsor, which won the title in 2010 and 2011, and losing last year to the champion, Chatham of Columbia County.
To get to the finals Marlboro needed thunder and lightning from its hurler Aubrey Bianco, who pitched a game to remember in shutting out Chatham with her lighting pitches, and then in extra innings in the ninth inning, providing the thunder with a home run that the Marlboro fans will be talking about forever.
After eight innings Marlboro and Chatham were in a zero-zero game as
Chatham’s Kayla Doty had no hit Marlboro for the first seven innings and the Dukes did not get a hit until the top of the eighth when Megan Diamond got a single. At this point Doty was throwing a one-hitter.
She was being matched by Bianco, who was having her finest hour, and what was a zero-zero game quickly changed in the top of the ninth inning when Marlboro’s Amber Mianti, perhaps the best ninth hitter in New York State, was
hit by a pitch to start the inning.
Andrea Schoonmaker, who bravely worked all game to bunt the power pitches of Doty, got down a bunt, which advanced Mianti to second base. Taylor Felicello followed with a bunt for a base hit, which advanced Mianti as Felicello was thrown out for the second out of the inning, and here is when it got interesting.
Freshman Ashley Votta was at the plate and it was two outs, and Marlboro
had only gotten one hit.
Votta had been making good contact against Doty. In two of her three at bats against the Chatham ace, who will be attending the University of Connecticut on a full scholarship, she had first struck out and then twice hit strong fly balls. This was her fourth try against Doty and she made Doty pay as Votta hit an RBI single to drive in Mianti.
The Marlboro fans, who had driven over 120 miles to get the final four at Glens Falls were screaming. Marlboro was ahead of the defending state champion, 1-0. Duke fan Bill Giametta exclaimed, “We are not done yet.” And he was right.
On the first pitch to Bianco you could hear the thunder of her bat on the ball and watch it soar high over the left field fence driving in Votta and herself to make the score 3-0.
The Duke’s centerfielder Danielle Martuscello said, “That was one of the
best hits I have ever seen.”
The team’s catcher, Nina Wimberly, commented, “Hits are contagious on any
team. It sets a fire under the rest of the team.”
When Votta saw the shot she said that she felt “the weight was off everyone
‘s shoulders. I felt like all of the pressure was lifted.”
Schoonmaker called Bianco’s hit a “bomb. You knew it was definitely going.”
But Chatham still had another at bat. If they were going down they would go down swinging.
The Chatham batters found the range and lined the ball twice right at Bianco, and second liner was for the final out of the game. It was so hard, Bianco said, “I did not know I caught the last one,” but she did and suddenly the Dukes were swarming all over her as Marlboro had just defeated the defending state champions. At that moment Diamond said, “I am speechless.” Martuscello said, “It was a great feeling that we were going to keep going.”
The Duke’s third baseman, Cassie LaPointe, said, “This was definitely Aubrey’s best game.” LaPointe was involved in a huge play in the bottom of the fifth when it appeared that on an infield out Chatham was going to have a runner on second, but when the runner rounded the base, Diamond threw behind her to the Duke’s shortstop Andrea Schoonmaker, who threw to LaPointe, who chased the runner back toward second, where LaPointe tossed the ball to Votta, who applied the tag, thus wrecking the Chatham rally.
LaPointe said that the team’s coach, Jen Veronesi, has the team practice that situation play, though, LaPointe said, “We did not expect her to go,” but when she did, the Dukes knew what to do.
In the game Marlboro was flawless in the field and Wimberly never allowed
a passed ball.
After a two hour rest Marlboro was back on the field against Windsor, the champion of Section 4, whose pitcher Morgan Starley, is headed to Queen’s College on a full athletic scholarship.
Windsor got a break and scored early when it put two runs on the scoreboard.
Marlboro was able to score in the top of the 6th inning when Bianco doubled in Taylor Felicello, but then Starling put out the rally as Marlboro lost to Windsor, 2 to 1.
In the championship game Mianti felt that “I did not think we came out as
strong as we could have.” Martuscello said, “We made it all the way here and all the teams were good teams.” She said to defeat Chatham “is an accomplishment and whatever happens is meant to happen.” She added, “We are the first Marlboro team in 20 years to make it to the final, and it would have been great to be state champions.”
She said that getting to that level “is such a great experience. It is an experience I will remember my whole life.”
Next year Martuscello will be in college at St. John’s, but most of the team returns. She said of the returning players, “They have so much potential.”
The team members said that they will be back in the state tournament next
year. LaPointe said, “Definitely we will be back.”