AHS softball splits doubleheader with Mayfield

The Amsterdam girls varsity softball team had faced about as much adversity as any one team can handle with rain and snow postponing the first four games of the season, and then having a bout of the flu go through the team like a plague. Monday afternoon, after dropping the first game of a doubleheader to the Mayfield Lady Panthers, the Lady Rams had enough of losing. Amsterdam got timely hitting and plenty of heads-up base running, and 14 solid innings from backup pitcher Emma Patrei to come back and defeat Mayfield in the second game 7-3 at Shuttlewort Park.

“She says to me ‘I can do it coach’ every time,” Amsterdam coach Brendan Cetnar said of Patrei, who started and finished both games of the doubleheader that was played to make up for a rained out game last week. “She was going to tell me if she felt she needed to come out, but she didn’t. She’s in great shape.”

Patrei, a sophomore who is normally a starting shortstop, was in the circle in place of Amsterdam’s starting pitcher Michaela Rust, who was one of several AHS players that did not play because of the flu. She and the AHS defense held Mayfield to only one hit through the first three innings. Left fielder Michaela Kelly made a pair of shoestring catches in the second inning to keep Mayfield off the scoreboard, and an apparent base hit into right field by Julie Hampton turned into an out when AHS outfielder Lucy Giglio alertly picked up the ball and threw to first getting Hampton by a step. The play set the stage for Amsterdam’s first scoring chance of the game that included a play rarely seen in the game today, but when executed well is very effective.

Amsterdam shortstop Megan Lamont led off in the third inning with a walk bringing Gianna Quatrini to the plate. Quatrini had instructions to bunt, and put down a sacrifice that was too good. Lamont didn’t stop at second base and motored all the way to third on a batted ball that never made it past the pitchers circle. Michaela Kelly stepped into the batters box next and gave AHS the lead with a blast into left field, a double, that was the beginning of a three run inning. Following a one out walk to Giglio, Patrei lined a single into right field scoring Kelly and then demonstrated some fancy base running wandering off first and forcing a throw to the base. Giglio, who advanced to second on Patrei’s hit broke for third and scored when a throw back to third went wide of the base. Amsterdam led 3-0 and looked to do more damage against Mayfield starting pitcher Kayleigh VanNostrand in the fourth.

The Lady Panthers got one run back in the top half of the fourth when clean-up hitter Taylor Fancher blasted a 3-2 pitch over the left field fence for a home run. Patrei was not effected by the hit and settled in and got the next two batters on infield pop ups to Lamont and second baseman Katrina Keyser. Amsterdam then went to work with the bats in the bottom of the fourth. Pinch hitter Martina Hughes was on base with a one out walk and moved into scoring position when Lamont’s fly ball to right was misplayed for an error. Hughes scored on Quatrini’s single to center field, but the Lady Rams weren’t about to settle for one run. With Lamont at third, Quatrini stole second and drew a throw. Lamont headed for the plate and made it ahead of the throw back boosting the Lady Rams lead to 5-0.

“Base running had been a problem for us and it had killed some rallies,” Coach Cetnar said. “We talked about it and [AHS junior varsity coach Colleen Resila] worked with the girls on their sliding.”

“The sacrifice steal and the double steal really helped us a lot,” added Emma Patrei.

The AHS defense wasn’t about to let the lead slip away. Mayfield rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the fifth getting a double from Taryn LaFountain and a single by Morgan Lathrop to lead off the inning, and an RBI ground out from Carly Cotugno, and a run scoring single from Angelina Mannino cutting the lead to 5-3. But Patrei made a diving catch on an infield pop up by Julie Hampton, and Morgan Durinick made an outstanding catch off the bat of Sydney Benton to end the threat. Amsterdam’s defense was nearly flawless throughout the game and didn’t give Mayfield extra bases with throwing mistakes that had cost the Lady Panthers in the middle innings.

“We cut down on the errors,” Coach Cetnar said. “These girls can play defense, and we’re a young team that is only going to get better.”

Amsterdam put a pair of runners on in the bottom of the fifth inning. Giglio was the last batter VanNostrand would face, and after the AHS right fielder reached after being hit by a pitch, Patrei greeted Hampton with a single, and her third hit of the game. Erica Engle’s sacrifice bunt moved Patrei and pinch runner Maddie Lanza into scoring position, and a walk to Janelle Pabis loaded the bases for Hughes, who followed the game winning script by smacking a fly ball to left that went off the glove of Mayfield’s Brie Egan scoring Lanza and Patrei and boosting the Lady Rams lead to 7-3. The AHS defense was more determined than ever, remained strong, and closed out the win.

Patrei didn’t allow a baser runner in the sixth and picked up only her second strikeout of the game in the seventh. Kayleigh Carrero snagged a pop up to second base and Amsterdam was one out away from only their second win of the season. A walk to Cotugno and a single by Hampton only postponed the inevitable, and when Durinick calmly fielded a grounder to third, the ensuing throw settled in the glove of Pabis, and the Lady Rams could celebrate.

“We needed to play smart,” Patrei said. “Once we did we knew we had the game. Hopefully now we can get back into it.”

Amsterdam (2-5 overall, 0-4 Foothills Council) still has the majority of their Foothills Council schedule to play, and hopes it can continue to be consistent as they will play one of the better teams in the league, South Glens Falls on Tuesday. Patrei, having pitched 14 innings on Monday, won’t be available for pitching duties. Coach Cetnar said he hadn’t decided who would pitch the game if Michaela Rust were unavailable. The win on Monday however, was an important one for the Lady Rams season.

“Getting this win is huge,” Coach Cetnar said. “I wanted to get two, and we need them to get to sectionals, but this is a big win for us.”

Amsterdam dropped the first game 6-2. Gianna Quatrini’s two run double scored both Lamont and Hughes in the fourth inning cutting the lead to 4-2, but Mayfield got runs from Hampton, Benton, LaFountain, Egan, Lathrop, and Marie Messina in the win. Quatrini led AHS with two hits. Patrei, Kelly, Lamont, and Hughes had singles for the Lady Rams.

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.