Big inning lifts AHS softball past Johstown on Senior Night

The first time the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity softball team faced the Johnstown Lady Bills they managed to score only one run. However, Thursday afternoon at Shuttleworth Park their bats woke up and knocked the cover off the ball with seven hits in the bottom of the sixth inning. The outburst lead them to a 12-4 victory over their Foothills Council South division rival on Senior night for the Lady Rams.

“The last time we faced them, half the team was tired after a band trip,” Amsterdam coach Brendan Cetnar said after his teams’ second straight win. “Some of kids just got off the bus that day and went straight to the game. Today they played like they should hitting the ball and having fun. The great thing about it was every senior had at least one hit in the game.”

Tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, AHS senior Ella Dybas got things started with a solid single to center. Rebecca Pike reached on an infield error and Lindsay Yager was hit by a pitch loading the bases for junior right fielder Braelin Aldi, who after faking a bunt attempt on the first two pitches, lofted a fly ball into shallow left field. Dybas tagged up on the play and scored when Zoe Reid’s throw skipped past catcher Cecilia Mowrey. Amsterdam had its first lead of the game, and the hits kept coming.

Senior Natalie Vogel smacked a single to center scoring Pike, and after Callie Lindsay walked to load the bases again, senior Tessa Filiberto crushed another single to left plating Yager. The Lady Rams were up 6-3, but the storm was just beginning.

“You gotta love it,” Coach Cetnar said of the Amsterdam hitting. “Ella crushes a single and I knew we would get at least one or two. Then the wheels just kept turning.”

Amber Iannotti’s double to center was like a bolt of lightning. By the time it touched the ground, three runs had scored giving the Lady Rams a commanding 9-3 advantage. But, they didn’t stop there. Senior Kristie Kaczmarek singled, putting runners at first and third, and the Lady Rams had batted around the order giving Ella Dybas a chance to create more havoc. Dybas hustled down the first base line after a dropped third strike, and when the throw by Mowrey went past first baseman Alexis Darling both Iannotti and Kaczmarek scored to make it 11-3. One out later, Morgin Russell capped off an outstanding effort by the AHS seniors with a pinch hit double to score Dybas again. By the time it was over, all seven AHS seniors had at least one hit or scored at least one run in a big nine run sixth inning.

“Once we started hitting, everyone started hitting,” said AHS third basemen Tessa Filiberto, who tied a team record with three putouts in the top of the sixth. “We were making plays and it was all up hill from there. We played together, played hard and wanted to win.”

The Lady Rams defense was making plays when it counted all game long denying Johnstown runs in key situations. Filiberto started the first of two double plays by the Lady Rams when she snared a line drive off the bat of Zoe Reid and fired the ball to first to double off Madison Dillenbeck who had singled with one out. Filiberto also hustled to grab a pair of pop ups in foul territory with the score tied 3-3 in the sixth and then finished the inning throwing out Lexus Willams on a grounder to the bag.

Amsterdam junior catcher Callie Lindsay eliminated one base runner by throwing out Reid trying to steal second with one out in the second inning. Amsterdam sophomore pitcher Jessica Gardinier later started the Lady Rams second double play snaring a line drive off the bat of Mallory Baldwin and then firing to first to catch Molly Morrison off the base recording the first two outs in the seventh. Amsterdam’s defense prevented the Lady Bills from getting any momentum and as a result Johnstown put together only a pair of runs through the first four innings.

Johnstown took a 2-0 lead in the third when Williams singled with one out, and moved into scoring position when both Mowrey and Baldwin reached on errors. Meghan Anagnostopulos brought home Williams with the first of her three singles in the game. The Lady Rams answered in the bottom of the fourth when Senior Rebecca Pike drove in Iannotti and Kaczmarek with a two run single.

Johnstown grabbed the lead again after Williams’ lead off single turned into a run courtesy of singles by Mowrey and Anagnostopulos. Amber Iannotti’s two out single in the bottom of the fifth provided the answer for the Lady Rams bringing home Callie Lindsay to tie the game at 3-3 leading up to the crucial sixth inning. Iannotti finished the day with two hits, two runs and four batted in to lead Amsterdam. The Lady Rams gave Gardinier plenty of run support and the sophomore hurler in her first year on varsity made it stand up.

Gardinier got AHS off to a good start striking out the first four batters she faced, and followed up Lindsay’s throwing out a base runner by striking out Jordyn Hale to end the fourth. Gardinier scattered ten hits, struck out six and walked only one. The only batters to score runs were the eight and nine hitters in the Lady Bills lineup, Willams and Mowrey, who scored two runs each.

“I think she was rested and knew she had to attack these hitters, and she did,” said Coach Cetnar, who has not lost on Senior Night.. “Heading into sectionals we needed this win.”

Amsterdam will have its work cut out for them over the next several days starting with the Ronald Papierniak Memorial Tournament this Saturday at Fonda-Fultoonville High School. The Lady Rams first game will be against Cambridge at noon. Amsterdam is the defending champion in the tournament and has made the final game in each of the events’ first three years. Amsterdam (6-8, 5-6 Foothills) will return to Foothills Council action on Monday when they travel to Schuylerville to face the North divisions’ top team. The Lady Rams will then play a crossover game on Wednesday before their final home game against Gloversville on Thursday leading up to sectionals.

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.