FORT EDWARD — Crown Point had a dream start Saturday, but Alfred-Almond found a way to take control and had a response every time the Panthers rallied.
The Eagles (18-5) of Section V came away with an 8-4 win against Crown Point (12-1) in a NYSPHSAA Class D softball semifinal at Moreau Recreational Park.
It was just the second time in program history that the Panthers had reached the final four.
Morgan Davidson racked up three hits, including a homer and double, and six RBIs to lead the Alfred-Almond attack, while lefty Ali Fancher tossed a complete-game five-hitter and struck out 12 batters.
Shawna McIntosh finished with two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored to help the Panthers' cause and gave Crown Point a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a booming two-run homer to left.
With McIntosh in the circle, the Eagles got one run back in the bottom half of the opening frame with an RBI groundout, and they took the lead for good when Davidson notched a two-out, three-run double in the third inning.
“Shawna’s homer was a big start for us, but it was too early in the game to feel good about the lead,” Panthers coach Mike Ross said. “There was just too much time for them to come back. Alfred-Almond is a good team, and we knew they weren’t going to just back down.”
In the fifth inning, Davidson blasted her home run to give Alfred-Almond a 5-2 lead, but Crown Point responded in the sixth with the top of the order kicking off the frame.
Hannah Palmer reached base on an error, moved to second after a sacrifice bunt and stole third before McIntosh drove her in with an RBI single.
McIntosh came around and crossed the plate on a double steal to cut the Panthers’ deficit to one run.
“We never quit, and that sixth inning was a perfect example of what our team was about this season,” McIntosh said. “Our attitude is what helped get us to this point. Everybody was great to each other, and we all liked each other. We were always working together, and that’s what families do.”
Just when Crown Point looked to have momentum back on its side, the Eagles, assisted by two errors from the Panthers and a two-run single from Davidson, plated three key insurance runs before Fancher shut the door with a scoreless seventh.
The bottom of the sixth inning encapsulated a somewhat frustrating day for McIntosh on the slab, which included working six innings, fanning five batters and allowing six earned runs on five hits and eight walks.
“In this game, probably 95 percent of it was mental,” McIntosh said. “When you are in the dugout, you had to keep everybody’s spirits up, but you then have your confidence shot down when they score.”
After facing nine Alfred-Almond batters through two innings, McIntosh saw 27 come to the plate during the next four frames.
Crown Point committed six errors, which added to the workload of the Panthers’ righty.
“When you have long innings like Shawna had in this game, especially when the start time for the game was 9 a.m., it’s tough,” Ross said. “Playing early in the morning isn’t easy in the first place.
“Some errors hurt us, and we knew if anything was going to hurt us, it was going to be errors. The thing that is important to know is these players don’t commit errors on purpose. They are just young kids, and I am proud of these girls.”
For Crown Point, the 2019 campaign included a Section VII championship and a cherished 5-3 regional win against Section II rival Fort Ann.
The Panthers will say goodbye to seven seniors, including Emily Russell, Swade Potter, Cassie Ashe, Palmer, Makayla Racine, Shelbie DuShane and McIntosh.
“This is what you call a dream team,” Ross said. “We had only three starters from last year’s team back.
“To see them go this far, actually beat Fort Ann and get ahead in this game, it was special.
“The stars lined up for these girls. They were lined up for awhile, and we rode it to the end.”
Alfred-Almond 8, Crown Point 4
Crown Point 200 002 0 — 4 5 6
Alfred-Almond 103 013 X — 8 5 4
Sh. McIntosh and Palmer. Fancher and Yczarski. WP- Fancher. LP- Sh. McIntosh. 2B- Davidson (AA). HR- Sh. McIntosh (CP), Davidson (AA).
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