Amsterdam Lady Rams softball team wins Papierniak Tournament

After picking up a pair of key wins in the Foothills Council earlier in the week, the Lady Rams continued their win streak with a 9-4 victory over host Fonda-Fultonville in the title game of the 2017 Ronald J Papierniak Memorial Scholarship Tournament on Saturday at Fonda-Fultonville Central School.

“We’ve had momentum rolling since Monday at Gloversville,” Amsterdam coach Brendan Cetnar said. “That was a great game, and then lost only 2-0 to Mohonasen, a big difference from the first time we played them, and then beat Queensbury. That’s four good games in a row now, and we will keep riding that momentum with this win.”

The Lady Rams had already posted a 9-0 win over Johnstown in the first game of the day long event to reach the title game with Michaela Rust going the distance in the pitchers circle as AHS advanced to it’s second straight tournament championship game against the Fonda-Fultonville Lady Braves. The host team won the 2016 title, but Rust and the AHS offense were determined to stay on a win streak.

The late afternoon game started the same way as the Lady Rams first one did as Amsterdam didn’t push a run across the plate for the first two innings. Lady Braves starting pitcher Bri Egelston kept the AHS offense in check getting ground ball outs and allowing only a pair of singles to Megan Lamont and Rust. Amsterdam stranded three runners and fell behind 1-0 when Gianna Carbone laced an RBI single up the middle to score Sierra Rose, but that was the only lead Fonda-Fultonville mustered for the game. The Lady Rams offense was waiting to erupt.

Lamont led off the top of the third the same way she did to open the game with a solid single to center field, but this time she had a little help from her teammates who followed her in the AHS lineup. Nicole Derose smacked a single up the middle leaving runners on the corners for Emma Patrei. The talented AHS shortstop then wasted no time providing AHS a lead it would never give up with a base hit into left scoring both Lamont and Derose. Michaela Kelly brought Patrei home with a one out single, and Rust drove in courtesy runner Kat Keyser, who ran for catcher Karly Power, with another hit to put the Lady Rams in front to stay, 4-1.

“Top to bottom in our lineup we’re hitting the ball,” Coach Cetnar said. “This team has really started to come together the past couple of weeks.”

The Lady Braves got one back in the bottom half of the inning when Egelston led off with a walk, moved into scoring position on a single by Kelsey Denton, then scored on a grounder by Sierra Grant. AHS got out of further trouble with Rust snaring a pop up off the bat of Carbone, and Patrie ranging far to her left to field a grounder from Kat Nordby then throwing a dart to first nabbing her by step. Rust helped her own cause by not walking a batter over the last four innings and used a change up that had baffled Johnstown hitters in the early game, to even more success.

“Michaela has had more confidence than two weeks ago,” Coach Cetnar said. She’s worked in the change up, throwing it no matter what the count is, and is throwing it with confidence. Batters don’t know when it’s coming and it keeps them off stride.”

Rust scattered three hits and struck out two over the last four innings while AHS built its lead, allowing only single runs in the fourth and fifth. Both runs were unearned. Avery Cusack singled and came around to score when a fly ball by Egelston went in and out of a charging right fielder Michaela Kelly’s glove, and Rose tripled and scored when Patrei bobbled a relay before throwing to the plate narrowly missing an out as AHS catcher Power did what she could to block Rose from scoring. But, the AHS defense had its share of shining moments. None brighter than what Lamont did twice in center field.

Amsterdam led 9-4 with the Lady Braves batting in the bottom of the sixth. Nordby reached on a single before Rust picked up her fourth strike out of the game. A fly ball to center off the bat of Jenna Santabarbara looked like trouble from the moment it left her bat, but Megan Lamont wasn’t about to let it fall in for a hit.

Lamont has seen more time at shortstop and second base since arriving on the Amsterdam varsity squad in the middle of last season, but with starting center fielder Gianna Quatrini out due to illness, having a versatile fielder like Lamont turned out to a blessing for the Lady Rams. As the ball continued to sink in shallow center field Lamont showed remarkable quickness and dove forward getting to the ball before it got to the ground. Lamont held her glove in the air to show the umpire she had made the play, and for the second time in the game Amsterdam had reason to cheer a catch by its center fielder. Lamont had made practically the same, exact play in the third inning as well.

“Megan (Lamont) is such a good fielder,” Coach Cetnar said. “Catches like that are bonuses. She became Michaela’s (Rust) best friend with catches like that.”

Moments later the Lady Rams had even more reason to cheer when Patrei ran back on a ball hit into shallow left field by Cusack and reached over her head to make a catch on what likely would have been an extra base hit. Amsterdam’s defense accented a good day by its offense.

AHS scored two runs in the fourth inning with Lamont and Derose getting aboard on back to back singles to lead off the frame, and both runners came around to score on RBI ground outs from Patrei and Morgan Durinick. The Lady Rams plated three in the fifth as Rust and Rena Peconie started the inning with singles and came around to score when Lamont and Derose kept the inning moving. Lamont scored her third run of the game on a wild pitch. AHS made good on its scoring chances, leaving only four runners in scoring position, and only once did not have a batter put the ball in play.

“Having only one strike out in two games is amazing,” Coach Cetnar said. “We’ve been cutting down on the strikeouts and hitting the ball better.”

The Lady Rams defense ended the game getting three ground ball outs in the seventh. All three were fielded by AHS second baseman Rena Peconie. It was strikingly similar to Amsterdam’s first game against Johnstown where three ground outs in the sixth were all fielded by second baseman Kaylee Cappuccio.

Michaela Rust pitched her second complete game win of the tournament. Rust also had four hits in four at bats and scored a run. Lamont and Derose each had three hits and combined to score five runs. Emma Patrei had three runs batted in. Lamont earned the defensive MVP award. FFHS’ Sierra Rose took home the offensive MVP award.

“We have played excellent over the past week,” Coach Cetnar said. “We’ve definitely taken a turn.”

Amsterdam (4-4 Foothills Council, 7-7 overall) begins the second half of its schedule with a game at Broadalbin- Perth High School on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30pm.

Amsterdam 9 Johnstown 0

Michaela Rust pitched a four hit shutout striking out six and walking only three as Amsterdam advanced to the title game with the win. Michaela Kelly and Karly Power broke open a scoreless game with run scoring hits in the third, and keyed a four run fourth inning with back to back doubles. Kelly finished the game with three hits, scored three runs, and was only a home run away from hitting for the cycle. Power also had a three hit game and drove in a pair of runs and scored a run.

Megan Lamont and Nicole Derose each singled and scored two runs. Michaela Rust connected for a single and an RBI triple. Rena Peconie added a single, and Morgan Durinick drove in a run for Amsterdam. Alex Thiessen led Johnstown with a single and pitched four innings for the Lady Bills. Anna Heroth, Allison Trajilnek, and Cecelia Mowrey each had singles for Johnstown. Tara Kilmartin made a run saving catch in right field for the Lady Bills.

Fonda-Fultonville 7 Gloversville 4

The Lady Braves scored early and held off a late rally by Gloversville to advance to the title game. Fonda Fultonville has never missed a title game appearance in the tournament. Bri Egelston, Sierra Rose, and Sierra Grant scored in a three run first for FFHS with Rose and Grant connecting for RBI doubles. Avery Cusack scored on an RBI grounder by Kelsey Denton to make it 4-0 in favor of the host team after two innings of play.

Bri Egelston was strong in the pitchers circle for the Lady Braves going five innings while giving up only one run on three hits and striking out six. Egelston got continued support from her teammates as Denton, Cusack, and Kaleigh Smith all scored with Cusack and Grant coming through with RBI’s.

Gloversville scored one run in the fourth on an RBI single from Kaitlin Kwiakala with Jenn Vickery coming around for the Lady Huskies first run. Vickery added an RBI double in the sixth inning and a two run single in the seventh to help Gloversville rally. Vickery tossed a complete game in the circle.

Johnstown 16 Gloversville 14

In a game that featured the most offense of the day, it came down to key defensive plays and a big pitching performance from Allison Trajilnek to help lead Johnstown to the win.

Trallmen came on in the top of he fifth to halt a Gloversville rally getting the last two outs of the frame with a strike out and a heads up play from center fielder Grace Giarrizzo, who threw out a runner trying to advance to second base. Trajilnek went on to record shutout innings in the sixth and seventh with plenty of support from her defense including third baseman Mallory Baldwin, shortstop Sydney Darling, and catcher Cecilia Mowrey.

Johnstown outscored Gloversville 10-8 over the first two innings then scored six more over the fourth and fifth. Giarrizzo, Baldwin, Darling, and Janay Douglas each had three hits for the Lady Bills. Douglas led the way with a double, home run, and four runs scored, and made a pair of run saving catches in left field. Alex Thiessen went four plus innings in the circle for Johnstown, struck out two, and helped her own cause with a two run single.

Jenn Vickery led Gloversville with a double, single and two runs. Payton Biasini smacked a triple and a double, Caitlynn Catucci had a pair of singles and scored two runs, and Katelynn Kwiakala doubled and drove in two. Gabby Langley scored two runs, Michaela Ponchillo singled and scored, and Kwiakala, Kendra Lavery, and Taylor Wadsworth played outstanding defense for Gloversville.

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.