Lady Rams drop close game to Catholic Central

The top three hitters in Catholic Central’s lineup led by Shelby Fenton connected for nine hits and a rally-ending double play in the fifth inning to help the Lady Crusaders defeat the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity softball team 6-5 Tuesday afternoon at Shuttleworth Park.

“Their top three were tough to get out,” AHS coach Brendan Cetnar said. “They were really hitting us today.”

The Lady Crusaders got started early as Mylisa Barber led off the game with a single. Krysten Messier was aboard after being hit by a pitch when Shelby Fenton stepped to the plate and lined a double to left field off AHS hurler Michaela Puglisi. Both Barber and Messier would score giving CCHS a 2-0 lead. Puglisi settled in and struck out two of the next three hitters limiting the damage. Amsterdam would be quick to respond with a big inning of their own.

AHS put their first two hitters on base as both Natalie Vogel and Ella Dybas singled in front of the Lady Rams top hitter Ashley Przyblowicz. The senior delivered with the Lady Rams’ only extra base hit of the game. A double to left-center plated Vogel. Tessa Filiberto’s ground out scored Dybas to tie the game. Pryzblowicz advanced to third on the play and scored on Allie Krohn’s sacrifice fly to center field. The Lady Rams had their only lead of the game at 3-2, but CCHS would bring the top of their order to bat again in the second.

Anna Huneau led off with a double for Catholic Central. Puglisi settled in again and retired the next two batters. But Barber and Messier proved to be tough outs as both singled again with Barber’s hit allowing Huneau to tie the score at 3-3. Fenton stepped to the plate again with runners in scoring position and delivered a single to left field. AHS left fielder Morgin Russell came up throwing but not in time to get Barber. Messier took third on the plate and scored when a throw to third went into left field. The Lady Crusaders led 5-3. Fenton had three runs batted in early for CCHS.

“She’s our only senior,” CCHS head coach John O’ Grady said.”And she’s been our leading hitter for four years.”

Amsterdam would close the gap to 5-4 in the bottom of the third. Przyblowicz was aboard after being hit by a pitch with one out. Filiberto’s single moved her to third, and she scored on Krohn’s pop up when Lady Crusaders first baseman Jen Picarillo caught the ball in foul territory and had to step back into the field of play to make a throw to the plate. Przyblowicz was safe on a close play at home. The Lady Crusaders would get the run back in the top of the fourth with Fenton scoring on a single by Angelisa Oliveri. That would be the last run Puglisi and the Lady Rams would allow, setting up a crucial fifth inning.

AHS had the top of the order up and the rally began with Vogel reaching on an infield error and Dybas picking up her second hit of the game. Przyblowicz was in position to drive in a pair of runs but again was hit by a pitch from CCHS hurler Sammi Allen. The Lady Rams had the bases loaded for Filiberto whose patience at the plate was rewarded with a walk that allowed Vogel to score. Krohn popped out to second base for the first out. The bases remained full setting the stage for the key play of the game.

Amber Iannotti stepped in and smacked a sharp one hop grounder to third that Huneau fielded nearly on top of the base. Huneau stepped on third forcing Przblowicz then alertly threw home to get Dybas at the plate. The throw home completed an inning ending double play. The Lady Rams best scoring chance ended.

“We had the bases loaded and one out so that was a tough one,” coach Cetnar said. “That double play took the wind out of our sails.”

The double play proved to be the turning point as neither team would score after the fifth inning. AHS would not have another base runner after that.

“That was huge,” said coach O’ Grady. “A heads up play by our third basemen. It’s good to come away with a win.”

Amsterdam hurler Michaela Puglisi pitched shutout ball after the fourth inning keeping her team in the game. She struck out 10 while walking only one.

“She’s been pitching well,” coach Cetnar said. “We can’t get the ball to fall our way. Today we had a couple of mental errors and they scored a couple of runs.”

Allen scattered six hits and struck out three, and Fenton and Barber both had four hits to lead Catholic Central. Dybas had two hits and both Vogel and Przyblowicz scored two runs for AHS. Filieberto and Krohn had two runs batted in each.

“The ball didn’t fall our way today,” said Cetnar. “Hopefully we finish off strong.”

The Lady Rams will be back home at Shuttleworh Park on Thursday against Schenectady. Game time is set for 4:30pm.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.