DICKINSON – Windsor’s Mara Kohlbach made sure there would be no state-title repeat for Thomas A Edison, while also ensuring the Black Knights an opportunity to make amends for last year’s early state-playoff exit.
Kohlbach tossed a two-hitter and Paige Rauch went 3-for-4 with three RBIs as Windsor cruised to an 8-0 victory over Edison in the Section 4 Class B softball final Saturday at the BAGSAI Complex.
Windsor (21-1) will play the Section 3 champion in a state quarterfinal game 5 p.m. Friday at Gillette Field in Cicero. Last year, the Black Knights quest for a second straight state Class B title was halted by a 6-3 loss to Solvay in a state quarterfinal game at Union-Endicott.
Saturday’s title game featured Section 4’s two most recent state champions, Edison winning last year’s state Class C championship.
It was a scoreless game until the third inning, when some aggressive base-running helped get Windsor its first run. With one out, Allison Lockwood singled and stole second base. After she was sacrificed to third, Rauch ripped a single to left to plate Lockwood for a 1-0 lead.
Windsor added two more runs in the third inning, with Lockwood starting things again. She had a one-out infield single, then stole second and third base before scoring on a squeeze bunt by Danielle Cary, who later scored in the inning on a sacrifice bunt by Kohlbach to push Windsor’s lead to 3-0.
“I felt like I was able to get those innings going,” Lockwood said. “I just got everybody moving, I was trying to keep a heads-up on base.”
Things ultimately unraveled for Edison (14-5) in the sixth inning, when Windsor scored five runs to increase the lead to 8-0 and remove any doubt about the outcome. Rauch had a two-run triple and the Spartans committed a pair of errors in the inning.”
“I only have one girl who was in her original position from last year, and we created this infield just three weeks ago,” Edison coach Becky Cooper said. “Our (youthfulness) showed up on Saturday.
“I’m not disappointed at all. We made it to this game and a lot of other schools with seniors and solid stud players in their infield did not.”
Kohlbach, meanwhile, kept Edison’s bats at bay. She allowed only a one-out single by Leaha Jones in the second inning and a one-out bloop single by Haley Maggs in the sixth inning in a performance that her catcher Lockwood said was the best she had seen out of Kohlbach in five years.
“All my pitches were working for me,” said Kohlbach, noting her curveball and screwball were especially effective. “I think this time around, we’re the team that wants it more because we don’t want to feel like we did last year (against Solvay.”
Kohlbach’s shutout was the third for Windsor in as many games in the Section 4 playoffs. Windsor blanked Chenango Forks in the semifinals, 1-0, following a 17-0 victory over Dryden in the quarterfinals. Overall, it was the 12th shutout in 22 games for the Black Knights this season.
“My best team on the field is with Mara on the mound and Paige at short,” Windsor coach Bill Waldron said. “We knew they’d put the ball in play, they’re kind of a pesky team, and Paige had a lot of putouts at short, which is what I wanted.
“They hit to our defense and we pitched to our strength.”