Kearney claims state softball crown
Photo courtesy of Bishop Kearney
By Mike Latona/Catholic Courier
Winning the school’s first Section 5 girls’ softball title in 35 years had already certified Bishop Kearney’s 2017 season as a major success.
But adding a state championship as well? That’s right off the charts.
So, too, was the excitement shared by BK’s players following a 4-3 victory over Pine Plains of Section 9. The Class C final, held June 10 in South Glens Falls near Albany, saw Kearney claim its first state softball crown in school history. BK ended the year with a record of 25-2.
Kearney’s march to the state title was aided by an uncanny ability to pull out close battles: Four of the Lady Kings’ final five games — the Section 5 Class C2 title game and all three of its state-tournament matchups — were decided by a single run.
In the state final, BK fell behind 2-0 in the first inning but tied the score right back up in the bottom of the inning as Marissa Conroy and Christina Aldridge each drove in runs. Two more runs followed in the second inning behind RBIs from Emily Phelan and Annie Heyen as Kearney took a 4-2 lead that it never relinquished, thanks to some stellar defense.
Pine Plains crept to within 4-3 with a run in the fifth and put two runners on base in the seventh and final inning, but Phelan recorded key strikeouts to secure the victory.
Just a few hours prior to Kearney’s historic Saturday-afternoon win, the Lady Kings notched a 3-2 decision over Sandy Creek of Section 3 in state semifinal play. Phelan struck out 14 in the morning game and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, allowing single runs in the sixth and seventh before hanging on for the victory. Hannah Lindey delivered a key triple in a two-run first inning, and the Lady Kings got what proved to be the winning run in the fourth thanks to Aldridge’s RBI single.
The trip to the state Final Four was made possible by a 5-4 win over Portville of Section 6 in quarterfinal play June 3. A three-run fifth inning was highlighted by Lindey’s two-run double as the Lady Kings erased a 4-2 deficit with Phelan throwing a four-hitter.
Kearney, under Coach Dave Herbst, had reached the state tournament via a 10-1 win over Geneseo in state-qualifier action May 30 behind a 19-strikeout performance by Phelan, a freshman transfer from Greece Olympia. That came on the heels of a 4-3 triumph over top-seeded Caledonia-Mumford in the sectional Class C2 title game May 26. Myah Gonzalez’ fifth-inning single brought home the tying and go-ahead runs as second-seeded Kearney overcame a 3-1 deficit after one inning to win its first sectional softball crown since 1982.
In previous sectional action, the Lady Kings won 7-0 over No. 15 Cuba-Rushford in first-round play May 19 as Phelan threw a one-hitter, 6-0 over No. 7 Oakfield-Alabama in the quarterfinals May 22 with Phelan notching a no-hitter and 16 strikeouts, and 10-1 over No. 3 Campbell-Savona in a semifinal game May 24 as Kearney outscored its first three sectional opponents 23-1.