POTSDAM The St. Lawrence Central softball team let one lead slip away but not the second one in posting a 6-3 victory over top-seeded Brushton-Moira in the Section 10 Class C championship game Thursday at SUNY Potsdam.
We knew they would be a tough team and they were, said SLC coach Tom Brown, whose team earned a third straight trip to the state tournament. They came out and their first batter got a hit. That made me a little nervous. Then when we got the lead and they came right back to tie the game, I was feeling the nerves again but our girls pulled it together and did what they needed to do to win.
Senior Lindsey Thayer anchored the winning effort, striking out 13 and walking just one while scattering five hits for the Larries (19-0). She also played a lead role at the plate going 3-4 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI.
Theres no question that Lindsey is our leader. As she goes, so we go, and today she had another great game, Brown said. The other girls really feed off of her.
Junior Emily OConnor went the distance in taking the loss. She notched 11 strikeouts and walked none while hitting one batter and giving up seven hits.
I think our youth showed a little bit. Emily pitched very well but we struggled a bit on defense, said Brushton-Moira coach Amie Chase after her squad closed out the season at 13-4, including a strong second-place showing in the NAC Central Division.
St. Lawrence has a strong team. Lindsey is as good a pitcher as we faced all year but we were able to get some hits against her, she added. We should have everyone coming back next year so hopefully the experience of this game carries over for us and we can build from it.
After two scoreless innings, the Larries broke through for the first runs of the game the top of the third where Thayer and Haleigh Agans opened with back-to-back singles. One out later, Natasha Barnhart dropped a double into right-center field that drove both baserunners home.
The Panthers wasted little time producing an answer as Jenna Dufrane smacked a lead-off single in the bottom half of the inning. Mackenzie Traynor followed by reaching on an error. Two batters later, OConnor tied the game when she hit a sharp line drive to right-center for a two-run single.
SLC regained the lead in the top of the fifth with Thayer and Agans once again combining to spark a rally. Thayer singled to open the inning then stole second before Agans launched a double to deep right-centerfield. Agans moved to third on an error then scored what would turn out to be the winning run when Tera Douglas put down a perfect sacrifice bunt.
The Larries pushed their lead to 6-2 with a pair of runs in the sixth where Liz Lynch reached on an error, moved to second on a passed ball then scored when Thayer ripped a double to the base of the fence in left-centerfield. Agans was then hit by a pitch before junior Chelsea Savage stepped up to deliver an RBI-double down the third base line.
Sienna Kenny gave Brushton-Moira one last offensive highlight when she connected for a one-out double, moved to third on the second SLC error of the game, then scored when Traynor, who opened the game with a single and finished with two hits, belted a deep fly ball to centerfield.
The Larries will now take on Section 7 champion Ticonderoga at 4:30 p.m. next Thursday at SUNY Plattsburgh.
This was a nice win. We did the little things well, Brown said. Weve had a great season but we liked to take it one step further.
n NOTES: Following the game, Thayer became the first repeat recipient of the Dave Huffer Gebo Memorial Award as the outstanding all-around softball player in Section 10. The award is presented annually by the leagues umpires. Other finalists for the award were; Alexis Weidner of Heuvelton, Beth Pearson of Canton, Eve Whalen and Sabrina Johnson of Colton-Pierrepont, Mackenzie Rowe of Gouverneur, Melanie Taylor of Salmon River, Nicole White of Parishville-Hopkinton and Harleigh LeBarge of Edwards-Knox.