Trailing by four runs in the fourth inning of their game Thursday night against Gloversville, the Amsterdam varsity softball team could see their sectional playoff hopes beginning to fade. But giving up is not part of their vocabulary. The Lady Rams rallied, outscoring Gloversville 10-3 over the last three innings to earn a 14-11 victory at Shuttleworth Park.
“We’ve had some rallies late in games,” Amsterdam coach Brendan Cetnar said. “A couple of times we’ve had two out rallies. They don’t give up.”
There were two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Lady Rams down 8-4, when Amsterdam catcher Callie Lindsay singled to left keeping the inning alive. Lindsay’s hit was just the spark that AHS needed. Two pitches later, Tessa Filiberto crushed the ball into deep left field. After some serious hang time, the ball landed on the other side of the fence cutting Gloversville’s lead to two. AHS was just getting started, and after a pair of walks issued to Amber Iannotti and Kristie Kaczmarek, Ella Dybas lined a single to center field scoring Iannotti and pulling Amsterdam closer at 8-7. Rebecca Pike then stepped to the plate.
“I was super nervous,” said Pike. “I hit the first one. I just knew it was going to be my pitch. My first double of the year.”
Pike’s double to right field brought around Kaczmarek to tie the game. The Lady Rams seniors were not about to lose the final game of their careers at Shuttleworth Park. Morgin Russel followed Pike’s game tying hit with a line drive that the Gloversville infield couldn’t handle, scoring both Dybas and Pike for a 10-8 Amsterdam lead. But, unlike a game the week before against Johnstown, when the Lady Rams rally gave them a lead, they did not relinquish, Gloversville responded with rally of their own.
Jazmyn Eberts walked to lead off the Gloversville fifth against Amsterdam hurler Jessica Gardinier, who came on in relief of Braelin Aldi, and had surrendered four runs in the top of the fourth. Jenny Vickery followed with a liner to deep center field that Kacczmarek gloved for the first out. But the walk came back to cost AHS as Emily Washburn belted a triple to the fence in left-center, scoring Eberts. Emily Towne reached on an infield error bringing Washburn in with the tying run. Gardinier then settled down to retire Megan Patterson on a pop up to Iannotti at first base, and struck out Katie Hauser to stop the threat. But the damage had been done, and the Lady Rams needed to respond one more time.
“She was a little shaky at first,” said Coach Cetnar on Gardinier’s inning. “It took her an inning to settle down, but once she warmed up she went back to being Jess.”
Amsterdam shortstop Natalie Vogel led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk bringing Lindsay to the plate once again with the go ahead run on base. The first year varsity catcher wasted no time in collecting her third hit of the game and when the dust cleared, Vogel made it home ahead of the throw putting the Lady Rams in front once again. Lindsay’s double left her only a home run short of the cycle, but was critical to her teams’ success. Lindsay had taken third on the throw to the plate and gave Filiberto a chance to do something rare in softball: a sacrifice bunt to score a run.
Filiberto’s bunt was a good one. Lindsay scored in a cloud of dust, and Filiberto made it safely to first. Iannotti followed with a double and came around on a wild pitch. The second AHS rally left them with a 14-10 lead.
“Once someone starts it, we all get going,” Filiberto said. “When one starts hitting, the team starts hitting.”
Gardinier pitched a perfect sixth inning getting the first two batters swinging. The sophomore hurler finished with eight strikeouts in her four innings in the circle. Aldi, normally the Lady Rams right fielder, pitched the first three frames for AHS giving up four runs, only two earned on three hits and pitched a scoreless first inning.
“Braelin threw well, not a lot of walks,” Coach Cetnar said. “We wanted to get everyone in for the last home game.”
Gloversville got an RBI double by Patterson with two out in the seventh and brought the tying run to the plate, but Gardinier ended the drama striking out Hauser to end the game. Gardinier got some help for the second out of the inning when second baseman Ella Dybas made an impressive running catch with her back to the infield.
Lindsay, Filiberto and Iannotti each scored three runs for the Lady Rams, Kaczmarek and Dybas each had a pair of hits. Emily Washburn led Gloversville scoring four runs.
Amsterdam (6-8 Foothills, 5-3 South Division) defeated Gloversville for the third time this year including a win at the Ronald Papierniak Memorial Tournament in Fonda last Saturday. AHS has seven wins over Foothills Council teams in their first year in the league. Coach Cetnar indicated that he will petition the Section 2 committee for the Lady Rams to be included in the Class A tournament. Amsterdam’s most impressive win of the year came at home in an 8-0 two hit shutout over Queensbury.
“We’re a good unit together,” said Kaczmarek, one of seven seniors. “We all support each other. I hope I get a chance to play with this team again. We always play up for sectionals.”
The Lady Rams will know their fate when the 2015 tournament seedings are announced on Monday.
(Photos by Scott Mulford)