SCHENEVUS — Too much traffic on the basepaths denied the Marathon Olympians a chance at their first ever sectional title in softball, as they fell to the Schenevus Dragons, 7-1, in the Section IV Class D championship game Friday at Schenevus High.
Marathon pitcher Kaitlyn Mitchell allowed only five hits, but the Olympians were done in by five errors, six walks and four wild pitches. Only three of the Dragons’ seven runs were driven in with hits. The others came on a wild pitch, sacrifice fly, bases-loaded walk and fielder’s choice.
“We didn’t make plays tonight and they did,” Olympians coach Jamie Bush said. “That was the difference in the game. We were both hitting the ball, but they were making their outs and we were making errors.”
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the third on a long solo home run to left by Brie Carter (2-for-2, two walks), the Dragons took the lead in the bottom of the third. Sam Osborne, who reached base in all four of her plate appearances without the aid of a hit, walked with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit by Liana Darling (2-for-4, two runs). Darling came around to score the eventual winning run on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
The Olympians got runners in scoring position in both the fourth and fifth innings, but Dragons pitcher Cassie Snyder got out of those jams thanks to some terrific infield defense. Osborne, Taylor Knapp and Autumn Jones all made clutch plays in the second half of the game to help Snyder out of jams and keep the Olympians off the scoreboard.
The most backbreaking play of them all came in the top of the fifth. With the tying run at second, the go-ahead run at first and two out, Knapp, the second baseman, charged toward second to cover a steal attempt, only for Mitchell to hit the ball to the gap on the right side.
But Knapp put on the brakes, scampered back to her left and scooped up the ball before it got to the outfield and threw Mitchell out at first to snuff out the last real offensive chance for the Olympians.
Snyder pitched a complete game, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out three, and helped her own cause at the plate by going 1-for-2 with a walk and three RBI. All three of those RBI came in the fifth and sixth innings to give the Dragons the insurance they needed to take the drama out of the game.
Snyder’s first RBI came after Darling hit an infield single, advanced to second on a throwing error, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Snyder’s sacrifice fly.
Her RBIs in the sixth inning came on a base hit up the middle, plating Sam Osborne and Hannah Osborne, to make the score 7-1 and take the wind out of the sails of the Olympians’ players and fans.
Not wanting to go down without a fight, Carter kept the game alive one more batter with two outs in the top of the seventh by taking Snyder for a 12-pitch battle before she eventually coaxed a walk out of her.
But Snyder shook that long at-bat off and got Audrey Jasper to ground out to shortstop on one pitch to give the Dragons their first Section IV championship since 1978, when they won the first-ever Class C softball championship.
The loss dropped the Olympians to 0-5 all time in sectional championship games in softball. It also marked the end of the high school careers for Mitchell, Sam Pendell and Abygail Layton. Pendell will continue her softball career next year at SUNY Morrisville.
“It’s been a great year,” Bush said. “In all honesty, we weren’t expected to get this far. We got a lot farther than anybody thought we were going to.”