Sluggers base runner, Alli Barnes, slides into the tag of Herkimer shortstop, Bri Parks, during third inning action.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
MHTS Summer Fun Tour
The Herkimer Magicians overcame an early 1-0 deficit, with a five run fourth inning and went on to defeat the Utica Sluggers by a score of 8-1, in the semifinal game of the Mohawk Valley Summer Softball League playoffs, tonight at Whalen Park in Ilion.
To put a cherry on top of the Sundae, Herkimer followed that up with a 3-0 win over Frankfort-Schuyler to win the team’s fourth title in five years. Shannon Cool pitched Herkimer to the win, striking out nine.
The Mohawk Valley League is a Summer high school developmental league, made up of girls ages 18 and under.
This year’s teams were from Utica, Herkimer, Frankfort, Little Falls, Utica Notre Dame, St. Johnsville/Oppehnheim and Poland.
Frankfort-Schuyler defeated Little Falls by a score of 8-5, in the other semifinal, to advance to the final against Herkimer.
Under absolutely perfect late Summer weather conditions, the Lady Sluggers, primarily a 14 and under team, jumped out early in the top of the first inning of this one, as Hailey Murray led off the game with a sharp double off of Herkimer pitcher, Shannon Cool.
A perfectly executed sacrifice bunt from Olivia Simone, sent Murray to third and the Sluggers were in business right away.
Haley Casab knocked a double to right center and the Sluggers took a 1-0 lead to the bottom of the first.
Herkimer bounced right back in the home half of the first when Nicki Zaleski reached on a bunt single, followed by a walk to Megan Ball, to put runners at first and second with nobody out.
Alexis Oldfield drew a one out walk, loading the bases. A 2 RBI single off the bat of Bri Parks scored Zaleski and Ball, to make it 2-1 in favor of Herkimer with two away.
Samantha Spanny’s two out single then scored Parks and Herkimer would take a 3-1 lead to the top of the second inning.
Herkimer pitcher, Shannon Cool, was cool as a cucumber the rest of the way in this one, maximizing a great fastball with some nasty off speed stuff, holding Utica to just one more hit for the remainder of the contest.
Herkimer tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, chasing Sluggers starter, Allie Barnes, out of the pitching circle, in favor of Jenn Sciortino.
Barnes was injured and slightly shaken up on a hard slide into second base in the third inning.
The Lady Magicians got fourth inning doubles from Abby Paloes and Shannon Cool and singles from Nicki Zaleski and Megan Ball, all of which set the table for a huge three RBI triple from Bri Parks. Herkimer jumped out to an 8-1 lead after four innings.
Due to MV Softball League rules, no game can last over 75 minutes in length, so this semi-final game was over when the clock struck 6:45 p.m., much to the disappointment of both teams and everyone in attendance.
Shannon Cool got the win in the circle, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 2 and walking 1.
Congratulations on to both teams on a great Summer of softball from My Hometown Sports!
Utica Lady Sluggers Roster:
Coaches Jerry Albanese and Emily Woudenburg