By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
SCHENEVUS – The Dragons broke open a close game with a four-run sixth inning and senior pitcher Cassie Snyder gave up one run on four hits as top seeded Schenevus won its first section title in softball in a generation with a 7-1 win over Marathon in the Section IV Class D championship game Friday, June 11.
Snyder and her teammates, including fellow seniors Autumn Jones, Hannah Osborne and Elizabeth “Biz” Hoag have accomplished something that hasn’t been done in decades at their school. Schenevus softball Coach Ron Spranger said he thinks the school won its only other softball section title in 1978. And between 1995 and 2019 only two schools, Afton and Deposit, have won Section IV Class D softball titles.
The Olympians had gotten runners on in the first two innings, only to have them erased or stranded by the Dragons’ defense.
“That is the way we have played all season,” Spranger said. “We seem to be able to shake things off and turn around and make a play.”
“We live in a small community, so we’re all close,” Jones said. “We do a good job of supporting each other.”
Marathon, the three seed, scored first, on a solo home run to left field by Brie Carter in the top of the third. However, true to form, it did not seem to rattle Snyder or her defense.
“Good for her, it’s just one run,” Snyder said.
“We knew we could get it back,” Osborne said.
The Dragons did get it back in the bottom of the inning, plus one, as Sam Osborne walked, stole second and scored on Liana Darling’s single. Snyder then reached on a fielder’s choice and Kelsey Burton reached on an error to load the bases. Darling then scored on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Schenevus made it 3-0 when Darling singled, advanced on an error and wild pitch and then scored on Snyder’s sacrifice fly to right field.
The Dragons then broke the game open in the sixth inning as Hoag singled, Sam Barrett walked, Jones reached on a error and Sam Osborne walked with the bases loaded to score Hoag. Hannah Osborne hit a sacrifice to score Barrett. Jones got forced at third on the play, and Darling made the second out on a pop foul, but after a double steal, Snyder dropped a single into center field to score the Osbornes and make it a 7-0 game before the Olympians could get out of the inning.
Four batters after that, Hannah Osborne took a grounder at short and made a routine put out to end the game and bring the Dragons the title and a perfect season, at 12-0.
“I don’t think it has sunk it yet,” Osborne said.
The section title win ends the season; state tournaments were canceled this school year because of the coronavirus, but the girls said they won’t dwell on it.
“We’re happy with what we’ve got,” Jones said.
For Spranger, who had his daughter Erika as one of his assistants this season, the feeling of winning a section title was something he said he could not put into words. However, he said this year’s team owes a tip of the cap to the teams that have come before them, including several that won TVL titles recently.
“Absolutely, these girls grew up seeing what has happened before them and what it takes to get here,” he said. “They wanted to be a part of it and it turned out they were the ones that put it all together.”
On Monday, Schenevus will host a merger forum, to discuss combining with neighbor Worcester Central School. The younger girls on the team, may graduate from a merged school, playing on a combined team. However, this year’s squad topped Worcester in the semifinals/Tri-Valley championship game Wednesday, 18-7, and Friday it won a title that could mark the end of an era in the community.
“It means a lot to us,” Snyder said. “And knowing that it was full-on Schenevus that won it, that is special.”
Hoag will join the Marines after graduation, but the other three seniors said they plan to play college softball, Jones and Osborne at nearby SUNY Cobleskill and Snyder at Wells College in Aurora.