Press-Republican

June 4, 2013

Witches knock out Sentinels for second straight year

RYAN HAYNER
Press-Republican

MOREAU — Ticonderoga experienced a dose of déjà vu Monday afternoon.

For the second straight season, the Sentinels faced Greenwich in the NYSPHSAA Class C regionals. And just like last year, one bad inning proved costly.

The Witches broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run second inning, and senior southpaw Sarah Heimbach kept Ticonderoga at bay the rest of the way for a 4-1 victory at Moreau Recreational Park.

In 2012, the Sentinels trailed 2-1 after five innings before Greenwich broke through with four runs in the sixth on its way to an eventual state title.

“I thought we hung tough – it was just that one inning,” Ticonderoga co-coach Shelly Young said. “Hopefully we’ll be back here next year and get by them finally.”

That one inning Monday began with Ticonderoga junior starter Kylie Austin giving up a single and two walks to load the bases. Courtney Towne smacked an infield single just past the reach of Austin to score the go-ahead run.

The Witches (22-3) added runs on another infield single and a bases-loaded walk to go up 4-1 before Austin was replaced with senior Jordan McKee. She induced two ground balls to end the inning and didn’t allow a run the rest of the game, but the damage was done.

Austin, whose strong relief pitching helped the Sentinels win the Section VII title game, ended up with the loss. McKee went 42/3 innings, giving up four hits while striking out four and walking none.

“McKee came in and threw a great game,” Young said. “(Kylie) just didn’t get into any kind of groove. I don’t think we waited too long with McKee either, we had to give Kylie a little bit of a chance, but she just didn’t settle in.”

Jaelyn Granger opened up the fourth with a walk, and Hannah Ross reached after getting hit by a pitch with two outs, but Heimbach came through with a big strikeout.

Ticonderoga threatened once more in the sixth when Granger and Nicole Fuller put together consecutive one-out singles. Heimbach, though, shut the door once again, registering two straight strikeouts.

Heimbach earned the complete-game win, striking out 12 while allowing five hits. She hit two batters and walked two.

“We stranded a lot of runners on base,” Young said. “We just couldn’t get that next hit to get anybody around.”

Ticonderoga had trouble in Section VII postseason play getting hits and runs early, needing late rallies and two walk-off wins to advance to the state level for the seventh straight year.

Against Greenwich, the Sentinels struck first in the top of the opening inning. Haleigh Wright and Katie Palandrani strung together back-to-back one-out singles. Granger smacked the second pitch she saw for an RBI single to stake Ticonderoga to a 1-0 lead.

That run broke a 21-inning scoreless streak Heimbach and the Witches put together through the Section II playoffs. It would be the last time Ticonderoga scored.

Greenwich, ranked ninth in the state, didn’t let Ticonderoga’s lead stand for long. Carolin Strasswinner led off with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball and ended up at third on a fielder’s choice. Heimbach singled to knot the score.

Ticonderoga second baseman Maura Jebb helped prevent another run from scoring in the fourth inning when she gunned down a runner at home for the third out.

The Sentinels finished the season 12-6. They will say goodbye to five seniors – Granger, McKee, Palandrani, Andrea Rich and Meg Campney – but have talented youth to move forward with.

Wright, an eighth grader, Fuller, a sophomore, and Ross, a freshman, were brought up from JV before sectional play began and all reached base at least once Monday. Wright reached three times.

“I’m very proud of the team. I thought they would give up and they didn’t,” Ticonderoga co-coach Shannon Huntington said. “They fought hard the whole time, and they know they’re right there.”

Greenwich 4, Ticonderoga 1

Ti. 100 000 0 — 1 5 1

Greenwich 130 000 x — 4 10 0

Austin, McKee and Palandrani. Heimbach and Linnett. WP- Heimbach. LP- Austin.