PLATTSBURGH — Crown Point found itself in a position it wasn’t accustomed to Friday — trailing.
The Panthers were behind Minerva/Newcomb 1-0 through four innings, but an unlikely incident awoke them as they rallied for nine runs over the fifth and sixth inning to capture the Section VII Class D softball championship with a 9-1 victory.
High School Sports Magazine
With the victory, Crown Point will travel to Moreau Rec Park Tuesday for a 4:30 p.m. battle against Section II champion Fort Ann, a 13-0 win over Germantown.
Mountaineer starting pitcher Cheyenne Williams held the powerful Panther offense in check through four innings. Over that time, Crown Point threatened once with the bases loaded in the third inning, but Williams was able to get out of the jam.
In the fifth, Minerva/Newcomb’s Angela McCall led off with a walk and stole second base.
Panther coach Tony Macey disagreed with the call and was thrown from the game — but it appeared to ignite something in his players.
Crown Point turned two after he was tossed, including throwing McCall out at home, to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Panthers erupted for five runs and never looked back.
“The turnaround came around when I got kicked out,” Tony Macey said. “Plus, turning that double play really helped.
“Our girls finally came to life. We worked all week on our hitting, but we weren’t hitting (Williams). I think we finally adjusted and were able to start hitting the ball.”
After an out to start the fifth, Mara Vradenburg cracked a double to get things started for Crown Point. She took third when Maria Malone reached on an error by the center fielder, and Vradenburg scored on a passed ball to tie the game at one.
Brittany Foote then delivered the game-winning hit with a single that scored Malone and Ellen Kiely, who had walked. Foote then scored on a passed ball, and Hunter Spaulding, who was hit by a pitch, scored on Taylor Booth’s infield single.
“When our coach got thrown out it really brought us together as a team,” Foote said. “We pulled through it.
“I think we started hitting and it got into our heads that if we keep hitting, the pitcher would fall apart and we did it.”
Alex Macey allowed just one hit the next inning to keep the lead at four, before the Panthers tacked on four more in the sixth.
Malone and Kiely both scored on Alex Macey’s triple. Macey scored on a fielder’s choice by Foote and Foote scored the final run of the game when Harrington got on after an error on the first baseman.
“I was actually pretty confident in my team,” Alex Macey said. “We had been down one other time, to Willsboro. I knew we had the willpower to come back and we did.
“My team comes through for all of us and I trust them. I know we can hit and that we can field, so I knew we’d come through.”
Macey struck out two in the top of the seventh and got Makenzie Winslow to pop out behind second base for the final out of the game.
Alex Macey led the way for Crown Point with a triple and two RBI. She also took the win on the mound with eight strikeouts.
Vradenburg and Malone each added doubles, while Foote, Harrington and Booth finished with a hit apiece.
Minerva/Newcomb’s Gabrielle McNally led all hitters with a 3-for-3 performance. Danielle McNally had a single and knocked in the Mountaineers’ run in the fourth inning. Dakota Bennett also finished with a single.
Williams suffered the loss for Minerva/Newcomb.
“I feel pretty good about our chances (in the next round),” Tony Macey said. “If we can come out strong we can play with any time in New York State. If we are on our game we are tough to beat.”
“I think we can make it further if we can play like Crown Point Panthers,” Foote said. “I think we can go all the way.”
Crown Point 9, Minerva/Newcomb 1
Minerva/Newcomb 000 100 0 — 1 5 4
Crown Point 000 054 x — 9 6 1
Williams, Hogan (5) and Winslow. A. Macey and Booth. WP- A. Macey. LP- Williams. 2B- Malone (CP), Vradenburg (CP). 3B- A. Macey (CP).