PLATTSBURGH — One year removed from a 9-0 loss to Chatham in the NYSPHSAA Class B regional final, the Saranac softball team is seeking a little revenge Wednesday.
The 22nd-ranked Chiefs (16-4) challenge the No.1-ranked Panthers (23-0) at Cardinal Park for 4 p.m., with a trip to the state semifinals at the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury on the line.
High School Sports Magazine
Chatham, the Section II representative, is a combined 47-1 dating back to the start of the 2012 regular season.
“The first thing I’m trying to get my kids to do is relax,” Saranac coach Sam Campbell said. “If we get nervous and worried about them being 47-1, we’re already beat. The reason you play is — anybody has a shot. We need to relax, play defense, be patient with our mistakes and put the ball in play.”
Putting the ball in play, though, won’t be any easy task.
The Panthers, who bested Mynderse of Section V in the Class B state championship game a season ago, are led by senior pitcher Kayla Doty. En route to her team’s first sectional and state title in school history, she was honored as the 2012 Class B co-player of the year.
Doty signed a national letter of intent to play softball for the University of Connecticut in November 2012. She tossed a three-hit, 10-strikeout shutout against the Chiefs as a junior last year before firing 14 strikeouts against Canton in a 12-0 regional semifinal win Monday.
“Her control is very good to start with,” Campbell said. “She keeps the ball down, and she’s smart. She doesn’t pitch to the middle of the plate unless it’s a mistake. If she walks somebody, she knows her team will help her out in the field.”
Pacing Chatham offensively Monday were Michaela Smith, who racked up three RBI, and Kaitlin Pearson and Caitlin Gilligan, who each contributed two RBI.