No.2 Yorktown, No.1 Lakeland on Potential Collision Course in A-1

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No.1 Mahopac Knocks off No.16 Ossining in Class AA

By Tony Pinciaro

Following a Covid-impacted fall, winter and fall two high school sports’ seasons, the spring season has returned to some sense of normalcy with the Section 1 playoffs.

Sectionals began in full force, Saturday, after a one-day delay because of heavy rain. The Examiner coverage boasts two of the top seeds — Mahopac (Class AA) and Lakeland (Class A1).

Yorktown is seeded second in Class A1, Hen Hud (Class A2) and Valhalla (Class B) are seeded third and Byram Hills (Class A2) is a four seed.

The student-athletes were excited that there would be a spring season. The addition of sectionals makes it more noteworthy.

Mahopac senior 1B Lauren Zecca crushes a two-run homer before doubling and finishing with four RBI in the top-seeded Indians’ Section 1 Class AA playoff win over No.16 Ossining Friday

“After missing out on all of last year, just being able to have a season this year was amazing, but being able to have sectionals is even better,” said Mahopac senior and captain Michelle Dellamura. “We’ve all worked so hard to be here this year.”

MAHOPAC, 16-1 this season, won its first-round game as Shannon Becker threw a perfect, perfect game with 15 strikeouts, including No. 1,000, in five innings as the Indians mercied Ossining.

Mahopac played No. 8 R.C. Ketcham, Monday, in a quarterfinal. A win would have propelled Mahopac into the semis where it will host the No. 5 White Plains-No. 4 Arlington winner, today. Ketcham and Arlington lost to Mahopac during the regular season, 2-0 and 3-0, respectively.

“I think facing a team you played once before has both advantages and disadvantages,” Dellamura said. “It’s easier in the sense we know the pitcher and the sequence of pitches she throws. It’s also tougher since they also know us and know our strong points and weak points.

“I personally believe it’s harder to beat a team the second time you play them. We need to definitely play our best in order to come out on top.”

If the seeds in Class AA hold true, the other semifinal will be No. 3 North Rockland at No. 2 Ursuline. The Class AA final will be held, Saturday, 6/12, at the higher seed. Mahopac is hoping to host it.

Mahopac was on its way to an undefeated regular season when Yorkown handed the Indians their lone loss, 2-1. No team likes to lose, but better in the regular season than experiencing your first loss during sectionals.

“Losing to Yorktown was devastating, but I do think a lot of pressure was taken off us,” said Dellamura, who will attend Fairfield in the fall. “But, we were even more determined to do great. It made us want to win it even more.”
Dellamura and her teammate are looking forward to each step, especially after John Jay-East Fishkill defeated Mahopac in the 2019 Section 1 Class AA Championships semifinal.

“I think having confidence is going to be a key in being successful,” said Dellamura of winning the section. “We know how capable we are of succeeding and we need to apply what we know during the game.”

WHITE PLAINS received the fourth seed in the Section 1 Class AA Championships and premiered with an 18-0 win, in five innings, over No.13 FOX LANE.

White Plains played at No. 4 Arlington in a quarterfinal, Monday.

Alexa Galligani and Darla Palombo fueled White Plains’ offense. Galligani had two doubles among her three hits, scored three runs and drove in five. Palombo had two hits, including a home run, and collected four RBI.

Zoe Kovach had two hits and Amanda Lemark and Kiersten Hardy each scored twice and had two RBI.Eighth-grader Serena Gillen continued her excellent season, throwing a two-hitter with nine strikeouts. This was her seventh shutout of the season.

Prior to sectionals, Fox Lane closed out the regular season with a 9-3 win over rival Horace Greeley.

Hannah Gettman finished with a three-hitter and did not allow an earned run. She also had two hits, including a run-scoring double.

Sam Sanchez had a home run among her two hits, Sydney Hurvitz had a double among her two hits and an RBI and Adriana Piccolino recorded two hits.

Fox Lane finished with an 8-9 record, after its sectional loss to White Plains. However, Fox Lane coach Anthony Rodrigues is looking forward to the future.

“We have a very young, promising nucleus returning with seven starters who are freshmen and sophomores,” Rodrigues said.

Lakeland’s Hannah Matusiak and Hornets have secured top seed and were set to host Class A-1 quarterfinal game last night.

LAKELAND went 14-2, including 6-0 in its league, during the regular season, earning the top seed.

The Hornets drew a first-round bye and played No. 8 Rye, Monday, in a quarterfinal. A win sends Lakeland into the semis against the No. 5 Eastchester-No. 4 Harrison winner, Wednesday. The other half of the A1 bracket has Yorktown seeded second and Saunders third. The A1 title game will be played at the higher seed, Saturday, 6/12.
The A1 winner will play the A2 winner, Sunday, 6/13, at Arlington for the overall Section 1 Class A title.

The Hornets enter sectionals on a six-game winning streak. They closed the regular season with a 3-0 and 10-3 doubleheader sweep of Hen Hud.

In the 3-0 victory, Stella Bale tossed a no-hitter and struck out 16. She also helped herself with two hits, including a home run, scored two runs and drove in a run.

Lakeland was upset in the 2019 Section 1 Class A final by district-rival and 11th-seeded Panas. Senior Hannah Matusiak was a starter on that Lakeland team so the opportunity to play in sectionals has her excited.

“Being able to have full-fledged sectionals this year means so much to the entire team,” said Matusiak, who will attend Franklin & Marshall this fall and play softball. “With all of the Covid stuff going on, we weren’t sure we’d have a season. As a senior that was really upsetting, but once we heard the good news, we were ecstatic.”

Matusiak and her teammates understand the pressure of being the No. 1 seed, but they view it as a challenge.

“Since we’re the first seed, people have high expectations for us,” Matusiak said. “That puts a lot of pressure on the team, but it also makes us play harder.

“Winning the section title would be such an amazing way to end my high school softball season. It will make us closer as a team and give us an unforgettable memory. It would also be great to make history on the new field by winning the first year it’s being used.”

YORKTOWN, like Lakeland, earned a first-round bye.

The Cornhuskers (15-3 this season) hosted No. 7 Clarkstown North, Monday. A victory would move Yorktown into the semis, Wednesday, against the No. 6 John Jay-Cross River-No. 3 Saunders winner.

No.8 Rye eliminated No.9 SOMERS, 7-2, in the opening round. Tuskers Emily Stavola and Aimee Maoriello each went 2-for-3 and knocked in the final runs of the season. No.6 John Jay knocked off No.11 BREWSTER, 9-0.


PANAS, the 2019 Section 1 Class A champions, began the Section 1 Class A2 Championship seeded sixth and with a 10-0 victory over No. 11 Nyack in the first round.

The Panthers (9-8 this season) met No.3 HEN HUD in a quarterfinal game, Monday. Hen Hud received a first-round bye.

Senior Olivia Bordenaro, who was instrumental in Panas winning in 2019, struck out 16 against Nyack, including her 600th varsity strikeout. Bordenaro, who will attend Western Connecticut State in the fall and also play softball, aided her own cause with three hits and two RBI. Jaime Cardello, her battery-mate, had two hits, including a bases-loaded double.

Sam Kayo, Alex Moyer, Emma Guglich and Kittzie Mera each had a hit and scored a run.

HEN HUD had a first-round bye. No.5 BYRAM HILLS, which was set to host No.5 Nanuet last night, crushed

Sleepy Hollow, 15-0, behind a total team effort. Pitchers Alexis Conigliaro and Madison Nero allowed just two hits in the win.

Valhalla players celebrate the 100th hit of C Julia Serena’s career, which was a home run.

VALHALLA began sectional play with a dominant five-inning mercy win, 17-0, over No. 14 Blind Brook.

The Vikings, seeded third, hosted No. 6 Tuckahoe/Bronxville in a quarterfinal, Monday. If Valhalla won that game, it would play the No. 7 Albertus Magnus-No. 2 Rye Neck winner in a semifinal, Wednesday.

In the victory, senior Julia Serena registered her 100th varsity hit in grand fashion. Serena, who will attend Oneonta in the fall and also play softball, hit a home run.

“It was fitting that Julia’s 100th hit was a home run,” Valhalla coach Heather Kleinberger said. “She is a power hitter and has hit some of the hardest balls I’ve seen this year.

“Julia is a great player and a great leader and we couldn’t be happier for her. She deserves it 100 percent.”

Tanner Smith tossed a one-hitter and struck out 13. Emma Levine and Kathryn Wolfthal had two hits apiece.

No.12 WESTLAKE advanced to the quarters after a dominant 13-1 win over YMA and was set to visit Dobbs Ferry last night. No.9 Hastings eliminated No.8 PLEASANTVILLE by a 5-2 count, and No.4 Dobbs Ferry eliminated No.13 BRIARCLIFF, 18-2.


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