MHAL softball tournament: Dukes try for second straight

MHAL softball tournament: Dukes try for second straight

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MHAL softball tournament: Dukes try for second straight

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Marlboro High School will attempt to win its second straight Mid-Hudson Athletic League softball title and third in the last four seasons in today’s tournament.

Marlboro, the champion of the MHAL’s Division 2, will face Division 1 champion Franklin D. Roosevelt at noon at Highland’s Tony Williams Park in an MHAL semifinal. The other noon semifinal pits Division 3 champion Ellenville against Division 4 champion Pine Plains at Highland High School.

The winners will square off at 2 p.m. at Tony Williams Park.

Roosevelt (16-2) vs. Marlboro (15-1)

The Presidents have won nine straight games since a 7-2 loss to Marlboro on April 25. Marlboro’s victory over Roosevelt started a winning streak that stands at seven games.

“It will be a great game if both teams play at their best,” said Roosevelt coach Pat Moshier, whose Presidents are seeking their first MHAL crown since back-to-back titles in 2008 and ’09. “It will be a barn-burner and you’d be hard pressed to find a better game if both teams play up to expectations.”

Moshier said the Nos. 1 and 9 hitters in Marlboro’s order, Andrea Schoonmaker and Amber Mianti, are two players who get on base and could hurt the Presidents. He also complimented the work of pitcher Aubrey Bianco. Marlboro has a .404 team batting average.

“They’re a team that doesn’t make mistakes and they take advantage of mistakes,” Moshier said. “I feel very good that we’re going to come out and put our ‘A’ game together, but I’m sure Marlboro’s going to put theirs together.”

Marlboro coach Jennifer Veronesi mentioned both of Roosevelt’s pitchers — sophomore Allison Pritchard and freshman Alyssa Pfitscher — as players for whom the Iron Dukes need to be ready. Roosevelt’s starting lineup also features prominent sophomores Darien Demelis and Maddy Lee, as well as a senior middle infield of second baseman Samantha Emmert and shortstop Jessica Demczar.

“Pritchard throws hard and hits her spots and Pfitscher has a lot of movement,” Veronesi said. “Roosevelt’s going to be good competition for us.”

Veronesi said because her team has already beaten Roosevelt, she wanted to make sure it didn’t go into the game too overconfident.

“I want them to understand that anyone can show up any day,” Veronesi said. “It’s not going to be an easy game at all. We need to play the ball we’ve been playing — relaxed and playing the way we know how. We’re focused on what makes us the best we can be.”

Ellenville (11-4) vs. Pine Plains (8-8)

Pine Plains, which last season lost in the final of the MHAL tournament to Marlboro and in the final of the Section 9 Class C tournament to Tuxedo, would like to do a little bit more than place.

Before the Bombers’ aspirations for a title can be considered, Pine Plains must get past Ellenville, which defeated Spackenkill 10-6 in a Division 3 playoff on Wednesday at New Paltz High School. Pine Plains defeated Ellenville 6-4 on May 2. Anna Lonczak had two triples in that game, which the Bombers won at home.

“We’re very optimistic,” Pine Plains coach Jim Jackson said. “We played some good defense in that game. We were in total control.”

Jackson noted that some Bombers to watch for in the MHAL tournament are Lonczak, the cleanup hitter, shortstop Brooke Hapeman, who hits fifth, and eighth-grader Riley Croghan. Pine Plains’ top pitcher is Monica Smith. Ellenville is led by Kim Craft’s .421 batting average and 21 RBI.

The Bombers haven’t seen Marlboro since last year’s MHAL final, but they did play Roosevelt on May 1 in Hyde Park. Despite his team’s 6-1 loss that day, Jackson said he thought the Bombers played one of their best games of the season.

“We had pretty good pitching and pretty good defense,” Jackson said. “We just need to find a way to score some more runs. Our girls are playing with confidence and anything can happen. We’re at our peak right now and we’re looking forward to this tournament and beyond.”

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