New pitcher and catcher key in first win for AHS girls softball

After losing their starting pitcher and catcher to graduation last year, some may have thought the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity softball teams’ new starting duo would take some time to establish themselves.That wasn’t the case Wednesday afternoon in the Lady Rams victory at Broadalbin-Perth High School. The confidence of starting hurler Jessica Gardinier and catcher Callie Lindsay were key in the 8-6 win over the Lady Patriots. They picked up where Michaela Puglisi and Ashley Przbylowicz left off.

“Jess pitched well at junior varsity and both she and Callie are stepping right in for the girls we lost to graduation,” said Amsterdam coach Brendan Cetnar. ”I hope they are mainstays on this team for the next couple of years. Having them here makes my job easier.”

Leading 8-6 in the bottom of the sixth inning with the tying run stepping into the batters box, it took only “a look” from Gardinier to show she could make the big pitch in a crucial situation. Gardinier threw a change up for strike three against Lady Patriots’ center fielder Lauren Adamchick to retire the side.

“That was one of the best change ups I’ve thrown” said Gardinier, who moments earlier had hurled a fast ball past Jordan Marshall for the second out of the inning. Both Marshall and Adamchick were responsible for scoring more than half of Broadalbin-Perth’s runs. “It was kind of risky throwing the change up, but I gave Callie the look, and I was confident I would throw it for a strike.”

“She always does her best when she gives me that look,” said Lindsay. “She’s confident.”

Broadalbin-Perth put another runner aboard in the bottom of the seventh, but Lindsay battled the bright sunlight to catch a pop up near the backstop, and right fielder Braelin Aldi made a leaping catch on a line drive off the bat of Keyana Fariello for the last out of the game. The win was the first for the Lady Rams and their new hurler Gardinier, who allowed seven hits and struck out nine.

“Sometimes you have to take chances,” said Coach Cetnar of the decision to throw the change up. “Jess is young, but she can throw and we have full confidence in her. When she throws with confidence we’re going to win games.”

Gardinier and Lindsay were on their game early getting strikeouts to end both the first and second innings and had a shutout through three innings. Meanwhile, the Amsterdam offense had a chance to go to work.

Braelin Aldi led off the game with a walk for Amsterdam, and a single by Lindsay and an infield hit by Tessa Filiberto loaded the bases with one out. A walk to Amber Iannotti brought Aldi around to score the games’ first run. BPHS’ hurler Nicole Traver tossed a pair of strikeouts to end the AHS threat, but the Lady Rams were back at it in the top of the second with the first batters aboard on walks.

Both Rebecca Pike and Morgin Russell were on base and moved into scoring position on a ground out by Aldi. A slow roller up the first base line off the bat of Lady Rams shortstop Natalie Vogel was played by BPHS catcher Marshall who fired to first for one out, but the return throw to the plate wasn’t in time to get a sliding Pike. Lindsay’s second single of the game brought home Russell giving AHS a 3-0 lead through three. The Lady Patriots came up with an answer an inning later.

Singles by Zoe Simonson and Marshall, and a walk to Adamchick filled the bases for the Lady Patriots number nine hitter Mackenzie Morrison who also drew a walk producing the Lady Patriots first run. Tatiana Ivery’s infield single plated another run. Two batters later both Gabby Smith and Ali Visco earned free passes, with Visco’s providing BPHS with a 4-3 lead. Aldi then rescued the Lady Rams grabbing a sinking liner off the bat of Simonson to end the rally. Down a run, the Lady Rams were not about to have a repeat performance of their first game of the season, a loss to Hudson Falls in a game where they had the lead.

“We were a little lax with the lead,” said Coach Cetnar. “We had the lead against Hudson Falls and they caught up to us and beat us. The girls figured it out that we can’t be sitting back with a lead.”

The Lady Rams broke out the bats in the top of the fifth with the first four hitters reaching base. Singles by Lindsay and Filiberto set the stage for a rocket off the bat of Iannotti that landed for a double in deep left field. Both Lindsay and Filiberto scored putting the Lady Rams back in front. It was just the beginning. Kristie Kacmarek walked in front of Ella Dybas’ sacrifice bunt that brought home pinch runner Kaleigh Carrera. Both Pike and Aldi walked and with two out, when Natalie Vogel’s grounder found its way through the left side of the BPHS infield bringing in two more runs to complete a five run outburst. The Lady Rams were in front to stay.

“They can hit,” said Coach Cetnar of his teams effort. “We just needed a little spark.”

Lindsay led the Lady Rams with three hits,one run and one RBI. Iannotti drove in a team high three runs, and Pike scored a pair of runs for Amsterdam (1-1 Foothills Council).

Marshall had a pair of hits including a double in a two run fifth for Broadalbin-Perth (1-2 Foothills Council). Both Marshall and Adamchick scored two runs, Ivery had two hits, and Traver and Gabby Smith each had a single and a run batted in for the Lady Patriots. Traver struck out five in going the distance in the circle..

Amsterdam is scheduled to play at home at Shuttleworth Park on Thursday, April 23 against Gloversville. The first pitch 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.