The script for a win by the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity softball team involved two acts, one on defense and one on offense. Act one: AHS ace hurler Michaela Puglisi strikes out the opposing teams best hitters stopping a late inning rally. Act two: AHS catcher Ashley Pryzbylowicz hit a home run deep into the late afternoon air that landed somewhere near the varsity baseball diamond..After a couple of close, one run losses earlier in the week, the Lady Rams put it all together for a dramatic 7-5 win over Big 10 rival Schenectady late Thursday afternoon at Shutleworth Park.
Tied at 5-5 in the top of the sixth inning, Schenectady lead off batter Lauren Piotrowski was aboard with a single bringing the heart of the Lady Patriots order to the plate. Puglisii retired Kaleigh Serafini and Camille Nowak on fly balls to a steadied AHS outfield. Piotrowski had reached second base on a wild pitch and was in scoring position for clean up hitter Sara Defruscio, who had earlier doubled and scored in the second inning tying the game. Puglisi however, was zoned in and set Defruscio down swinging. The momentum was back in Amsterdam’s favor.
“That batter has been a tearing it up against us for years,” said AHS head coach Brendan Cetnar. “Michaela just beared down on her. That was huge.”
Puglisi provided the key defensive moment in act one, and left it to the Lady Rams offense to finish off act two. Puglisi batted to lead off the bottom of the sixth due to an injury to AHS shortstop Natalie Vogel earlier in the game that caused Cetnar to rearrange his infield. Puglisi popped out to first bringing Ellla Dybas to the plate, who on cue delivered a solid single to center field. Pryzbylowicz took center stage against hurler Aleda Kirstein having already singled twice and scored the tying run in the fourth. The senior provided the games dramatic moment on offense launching the ball over the fence in left-center field. The two run blast had a hang time of over five seconds and gave Amsterdam the lead heading into the seventh inning and one last curtain call at home in the Big 10.
“I’ve been in a slump, but today I was three for four,” said Pryzbylowicz. “It felt good to get the home run. It felt better that it was in a tie game in the sixth inning.”
Throughout her career, Pryzbylowicz has delivered plenty of dramatic moments for the Lady Rams on the field and at the plate. A fact her coach was quick to note.
“I’ve come to expect that from her in these situations,” coach Cetnar said. “It makes for a dramatic ending especially after they made that play at the plate. It’s nice to get Ashley’s swing back.”
However, there were still three outs to get and Puglisi found herself in the spotlight once again facing Allyson Calhoun who had hit the ball hard three times and driven in two runs for the Lady Patriots. The left fielder had also taken away an AHS scoring chance in the fifth inning throwing a strike to the plate to keep Stephanie Delorenzo from scoring. Three pitches into the at bat, Puglisi was behind in the count, three balls and no strikes. Puglisi focused and battled back to strike out the dangerous Calhoun for yet another dramatic scene.
“She calmed down and battled back from 3-0 in the count,” Cetnar said of his hurler. “When she calms down, she’s on.”
A revamped and inspired AHS infield retired the last two batters on ground balls sealing the victory. Amsterdam had led twice in the game only to see Schenectady tie the game.
Amber Iannotti and Sephanie Delorenzo had walked in the bottom of the second and came around to score on singles by Morgin Russell and Dybas. Amsterdam’s 3-0 lead was short-lived however as the Lay Patriots responded with Piotrowski, Nowak, and Defruscio all scoring in a sloppy third inning for AHS. Allie Krohn’s two out single plated Vogel and Pryzbylowicz in the fourth, but Schenectady’s four straight singles in the fifth brought in Calhoun and Dalyna Polk tying the game and setting the stage for the key sixth inning.
Polk and Piotrowski led Schenectady with two singles each. Puglisi finished with five strikeouts and walked only one. Tessa Filiberto and Kristie Kazmareck also had singles for the Lady Rams in the much-needed win.
“It was a good win all around,” Cetnar said. Amsterdam will finish its season with games at Albany on Friday, and in the championship game of the Paperniak tournament at Fonda on Monday afternoon. With sectionals approaching the Lady Rams will need to petition to get in. Cetnar indicated that was something he would do.