Wait til next year

June 9 – 15, 2005
VOL 124 NO. 22
Wait til next year
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
Usually reliable defense falters in sectional loss

NORTH SYRACUSE — The greatest season in the recent history of Bishop Ludden softball came to an end Wednesday when the Section 3 Class B Champion Gaelic Knights fell 6-1 to Broadalbin-Perth of Section 2 6-1 in the Regional Final at Gilette Road Field.

In previous seasons, the Knights had routinely fallen short of a sectional berth, much less a championship and the lofty heights of the New York State Public High Schools Athletics Association Tournament. After starting the season 4-4, Bishop Ludden then went 14-1 before defeating South Jefferson 5-2 in the sectional championship game.

Nevertheless, the disappointment of Wednesday’s loss was inevitable.

“After we get over our depression about that we’ll be happy with what we did,” said first-year coach Mike Rogers.

The Patriots preyed upon several defensive lapses in Bishop Ludden’s infield. The defensive issues made the loss sting all the more as the Knights have been able to rely on capable glove work all season long.

“It’s just unfortunate to play that kind of defense in this type of game because one thing about this team is, up or down, big games or little games, it’s been our constant, especially the left side, it’s been outstanding and we struggled [today],” Rogers said.

With the exception of a strong offensive display in the top of third, Broadalbin-Perth pitcher Katie Finch kept Bishop Ludden’s bats at bay.

Finch dealt 14 strikeouts and yielded three hits.

Rogers believes his team’s struggles at the plate can also be attributed to nerves.

“She’s a good pitcher, she’s a real good pitcher, but we’ve faced good pitching this year. We were impatient,” he said. “Our philosophy has been to work them down, but we were a little impatient. The kids’ adrenaline was pumping; in this kind of game you’re a little uptight.”

Broadalbin-Perth struck first in the bottom of the first inning when Michelle Rathbun hit a double and then scored on an error.

The Gaelic Knights seemed to have found their composure at the plate in the top of the third. With one out, Maggie Henty drew a walk and an error enabled Kate Sierotnik to reach first. With two outs and two runners on, Ludden finally tied the game when Amanda Gajewski hit a bounding ball through the middle of the field, scoring Henty.

“During that one inning where we put that little rally together we were a little more selective and put the ball in play better,” Rogers said.

In the bottom of the third, the Patriots reclaimed the lead when another infield error allowed Nicole Hal to score.

Defensive miscues plagued the Gaelic Knights once more in the fourth inning and Broadalbin-Perth was opportunistic, scoring four runs.

With a 6-1 lead supporting her, Finch knuckled down and kept the Knights off the board for the remainder of the contest.

Gajewski led the Knights at the plate, going 2-for-3, and Bri Papa hit a double in the top of the sixth.

Bishop Ludden will lose six seniors from this edition, but a strong nucleus returns including its middle infield and pitcher Courtney Smith, who was among the top pitchers in the section this season, recording 116 strikeouts.

With the loss, Bishop Ludden finished the season 18-6.

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