— Crown Point is back in the state playoffs, having captured its eighth straight Section VII Class D softball crown.
The Panthers, though, will be a bit undermanned today. First-year coach Tony Macey won’t be allowed to coach, or attend the game, after being ejected from the team’s sectional championship win over Minerva/Newcomb.
High School Sports Magazine
Assistant coaches Todd Malone, Jesse Harrington, Jack Harrington, and athletic director Mary McGinness, a certified coach, will lead the team into today’s NYSPHSAA Class D regional game.
“They’re excellent,” Macey said of his assistant coaches. “They think the way I do, so I don’t have any worries. I think they are going to coach the way I would coach.”
Crown Point (18-0) will once again play Section II’s Fort Ann, a team that knocked off the Panthers 9-1 in last year’s regionals. The Cardinals (22-0) come into the game undefeated and with the No. 2 spot in the state rankings. Game time is set for 4 p.m. at Moreau Recreational Park.
“It’s really up to us,” said Crown Point senior ace Alex Macey, Tony’s daughter. “It’s really where our mechanics are and what we’ve learned over the past few years that we’ve played, and what (Tony) has taught us throughout the year.”
Tony Macey doesn’t know much about Fort Ann, and he wasn’t interested in learning much about them.
“We’re not putting any pressure on them to win. We’re going to go out and enjoy ourselves, play Crown Point’s game,” Tony Macey said. “That’s kind of why I haven’t done much scouting against Fort Ann, because I want to play my game and not try to change it to the way they are.”
Section II teams have knocked Crown Point out of the state playoffs in three out of the last four years – Section X’s Heuvelton did it in 2011.
“We really have to have a lot of confidence in ourselves and sometimes we get down, but if we really have more confidence in ourselves than we usually do I think we can get over the hump,” Alex Macey said. “It’s really a difference between cockiness and confidence.”
Fort Ann starter Molly Bailey, who earned the win against Crown Point last year, has been stellar in the postseason. She has allowed just seven hits in three games, all shutouts. She struck out 11 Germantown batters in the title game.
Alex Macey (15-0) has also had a dominant streak through the postseason. She went the distance in all three sectional games, with opponents scoring just one run in each. She gave up a combined 10 hits while totaling 30 strikeouts.
“With Alex pitching, normally if we can get 3-4 runs we’re looking real good if our defense stays solid,” Tony Macey said. “They’re going to hit her, but if our defense is there, we’re in the game. Last year, our defense fell apart.”
Crown Point once again established itself as the premier team in the Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference, rarely getting challenged throughout the season. The Panthers averaged 20.7 runs per game, with opponents far behind at 3.9 during the regular season.
The Mountaineers battled them tough twice – the first time a 4-1 regular-season win for Crown Point. The two teams met again in the championship game, with Minerva/Newcomb holding a 1-0 lead through 41/2 innings. Tony Macey was ejected for arguing a safe call on a stolen base by the Mountaineers in the top of the fifth. But it fired up the Panthers, who scored five runs in the bottom of the frame and cruised to a 9-1 victory.
“Now they have the confidence if they’re down, they know they can come back,” Tony Macey said.
CROWN POINT RECENT STATE PLAYOFF HISTORY
2012: First-round bye; Lost to Fort Ann (II), 9-1, in regional final.
2011: Lost to Heuvelton (X), 8-1, in first-round regional game.
2010: First-round bye; Lost to Germantown (II), 6-1, in regional final.
2009: Lost to Germantown (II), 5-3, in first-round regional game.
For updates on today's Class D regional softball final between Crown Point and Fort Ann follow @ryanhayner on Twitter.