MIDDLETOWN – There were tears, of course. That’s to be expected after a hallmark season ends in heartbreak. But within seconds, there were smiles from the Franklin D. Roosevelt softball team.
As the pain of the moment subsides, the bigger picture becomes more clear, and there is reflection.
“Instead of being down on ourselves, we realized we should be thinking about the great times, and there have been a lot,” Roosevelt second baseman Emma Izzo said. “This was still an amazing season.”
Indeed, though it concluded on Saturday as No. 2 Roosevelt lost to top-seeded Kingston, 4-1, in the Section 9 Class AA final at Middletown High School.
The Presidents (20-3) enjoyed their most successful season in six years, reaching the final for the first time since 2009. And this run, they said, was redemption for last year’s first-round loss.
“We got a little emotional because I’ve been playing with a bunch of these girls since I was 6,” said Sarah Pruner, a senior. “It’s bittersweet, but I have so many great memories.”
Including the team dances, and the Presidents’ funny rituals, like singing “Ice Ice Baby” before each game.
“It hurts that this was our last game, but this was the best season of my life,” said senior Allison Pritchard, who took the loss after giving up six hits and three walks in a complete game. “It just didn’t go our way.”
Kingston scored twice in the first inning and added two runs in the fifth, and Olivia Lattin, masterful with her curveball and changeup, allowed four hits and an unearned run for the Tigers (20-2).
Lattin also sparked Kingston’s offense, drilling a two-run homer to center in the first inning. Annie Cooney’s RBI single upped Kingston’s lead to 3-0 in the fifth inning, and Claudia Hommel followed with a run-scoring double off the wall in left.The Tigers face Clarkstown South in the regional semifinals, 4 p.m. Thursday at Rhinebeck High School.
“Kingston was probably the best team we’ve seen,” Roosevelt coach Samantha Mantor said. “We can’t feel too down because we played our hearts out.”
The Presidents got on the board in the sixth when Pritchard, who had walked, came home on an error. Roosevelt again threatened to score in the seventh after Pruner and Maddy Lee lashed singles, but Lattin escaped unscathed to end the game.
Pruner, Pritchard, Izzo, Danielle Johnson and Jenna Sucato have been close friends and teammates on various teams since elementary school. Their paths now diverge.
“At least I’m going to college nearby,” said Lee, who is headed to Marist College. “I’ll be at as many games and practices as I can, rooting for them to pick up where we left off.”
Izzo, a junior, vowed to use this loss as “extra motivation” for next season. But for the seniors, so ends an era — one that Pritchard said couldn’t have been better spent “with anyone else.”
“It’s the best team I’ve coached and the best group I’ve been around,” Mantor said, “but every great story has an ending.”
Stephen Haynes: email@example.com, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4