BRASHER FALLS - After going undefeated through its first 20 games this spring, the St. Lawrence Central softball team stands one win away from making school history.
The Lady Larries pushed their season-long win streak to 20 games this past Thursday with a convincing 9-0 decision over Section 7 champion Ticonderoga in the first round of the NYSPHSAA Class C tournament at the SUNY Plattsburgh diamond.
SLC, which entered the state tournament as the top-ranked team in Class C by the New York State High School Sportswriters Association, will now get set to take on perennial Section 2 power Greenwich this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at the Luther Forest Athletic Field in Malta in a rematch of last year’s state Class C quarter-final round where the Witches rallied to post a 5-4 win. Greenwich (15-9) drew an opening round bye for the NYSPHSAA playoffs after having captured a fourth straight sectional title with a 4-3 win in 10 innings over top-seeded Duanesburg last week.
“We didn’t set a goal of going undefeated. That’s just the way things have worked out for us,” said coach Tim Brown following the win over Ticonderoga. “We’ve been to the quarter-finals but never to the final four. We wanted another chance at Greenwich and now we’ve got it.”
“It’s nice to see us be ranked number one but we know anything can happen when you get to this point,” he added.
Senior Lindsey Thayer, who is slated to resume her pitching career at the collegiate level at St. John Fisher in Rochester, is the unquestioned leader of the Lady Larries. In 19 outings this spring, she is 18-0 with 238 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 115 innings of work. She is also the team’s leading offensive threat, batting over .670 with 45 RBI, 44 runs scored, 14 doubles, three triples and six homeruns and her on-base percentage stands at over .700.
“We’re young and we’re energetic. Everyone works very hard and we all get along with each other,” said Thayer after crafting a two-hitter in the victory over Ticonderoga. “We’ve all contributed in different ways all season.”
The Lady Larries have gotten consistent production from the entire lineup starting with lead-off batter freshman Hailee Weegar, who relayed a pair of walks into runs in Thursday’s win and ending with senior Liz Lynch, who did likewise batting ninth. Along with capably handling defensive duties behind the plate, sophomore catcher Haleigh Agans has ermerged as the second-leading batter with a .567 batting average that stood unchanged after she drew four walks in her four at-bats against Ti. Junior Chelsea Savage, who connected for a key two-run single, and sophomore Natasha Barnhart anchor the middle of the order while senior Tera Douglas and freshman Bailee Gauthier extend innings and create scoring opportunities by regularly putting the ball in play.
“We’re not going to win any slugfests but we showed that we can get it done offensively in a lot of different ways,” said Brown. “We showed outstanding discipline at the plate and we took advantage of our opportunities.”
Greenwich is led by freshman pitcher Rachel Hall, who notched 15 strikeouts in the 10-inning sectional title game win. Key batter include Maddy Schafer, Kali Nolan and Olivia Barnes.
“We know Lindsey’s going to give us a good game and the defense is there to back her up,” Brown noted. “We just have to come up with a way to manufacture some offense.”
The winner of this afternoon’s game advances to the state semi-finals slated for Saturday, June 14, at Moreau Park in South Glens Falls starting at 11:30 a.m.
OTHER SOFTBALL OPENERS
In other NYSPHSAA softball tournament openers, Heuvelton advanced to the Class D semi-finals with a 4-3 win over Section 3 champion Hamilton on Friday while Franklin Academy fell 13-4 to Section 3 champion Oneida on Thursday.