Mahopac, Lakeland, Panas, Put Valley All Reach Final 4
By Tony Pinciaro & Ray Gallagher
WALTER PANAS is proving to be a dangerous No. 10 seed in the Section 1 Class A Championships. The Panthers entered the tournament with an 11-9 record, but they quickly dispatched No. 7 Nanuet, 6-0, in the first round, and then upset No. 2 HEN HUD, 4-1, in a quarterfinal game.
Panas will look to make it three-straight when it plays at No. 3 Pearl River in a semifinal, Wednesday. The other semifinal has No. 5 Tappan Zee playing at No. 1 and undefeated LAKELAND.
Ironically, Panas and Lakeland play in the same league while Tappan Zee and Pearl River also reside in the same league.
Panas sophomore windmiller Olivia Bordenaro has been next to unhittable through two sectional games, allowing six hits and striking out 19, including 13 against state-ranked (No.20) Hen Hud (20-1).
“We were really excited to have the shutout against Nanuet because we hadn’t had one in a while,” Bordenaro said. “Overall, we hit really good and our defense was tight.”
Panas scrimmaged Hen Hud prior to the season to Bordenaro did her homework based on that game.
“I knew the big hitters because some of them play on my tournament team,” Bordenaro said. “I knew how to pitch to each hitter. We had also scrimmaged Hen Hud last year. We went into the game knowing how we wanted to play which was play tight defense and hit the ball.”
Panas led 2-1 after six when Sam Kayo drilled a two-run homer in the seventh to seal the deal.
Even though Panas (13-9) entered sectionals with an 11-9 record, Bordenaro and her teammates feel it is deceiving. Panas plays in the same league as Lakeland, Yorktown, Brewster and Somers. The depth and quality of this league prepared Panas for sectionals.
Panas will prepare itself for state-ranked (No.14) Pearl River, a perennial Section 1 Class A power. The Pirates are regulars in the sectional semis or sectional final.
“I know Pearl River is a good team and they have a strong pitcher,” Bordenaro said. “Our whole team feels good because we’re playing like we know we should play.”
LAKELAND received a huge scare from Pelham in a Section 1 Class A Championship quarterfinal, but Ava Knopf delivered in a memorable way.
The sophomore crushed a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, sending the top-seeded and undefeated Hornets to a 3-1 win.
Lakeland will host No. 5 Tappan Zee in a semifinal, Wednesday, 4:30. Claire Fon tossed a two-hit shutout over Tappan Zee, 2-0, on May 11.
Prior to Knopf’s walk-off home run, she had two fly outs and a sacrifice bunt. Knopf made the adjustment against Pelham’s pitcher.
“She was staying on the left side of the plate, which is inside for me so I knew I had to open up and turn on it,” Knopf said.
Knopf said it was a 2-2 count and the pitch was an inside, high fastball.
“I knew it was a far shot off the bat and quickly realized it was over,” Knopf said. “Hitting any type of walk off is a great feeling but hitting a walk-off home run in the sectional tournament, in extra innings, was something really special.”
Fon and her teammates were able to maintain their composure and focus and not allow the stressful situation to affect them.
“We were all really excited and pumped up for this game,” said Fon, who finished with a five-hitter and eight strikeouts against Pelham. “It was really nerve-wracking, but, as a team, we knew we had to step it up and keep our heads in the game the whole time.
“Personally, I knew I had to keep my cool and do my absolute best. But I knew that my team had my back which is very important and the best feeling.”
Lakeland’s regular-season victory over Tappan Zee came on a Krystal Badillo two-run homer. The Hornets expect Tappan Zee to be psyched for a rematch.
“Being that we are undefeated I expect every team wants to come after us and beat us because we have a target on our back,” Knopf said. “Knowing this psyches our team up and drives us to want to win even more.”
State-ranked (No.4) Lakeland (21-0) opened the Section 1 Class A Championship with a 7-2 victory over rival Brewster.
The Hornets rang up four runs in the second inning to take control. Fon finished with a four-hitter and five strikeouts.
Hannah Matusiak and Shannon Scotto each had two hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Krystal Badillo collected two hits and two RBI.
State-ranked (No.17) PUTNAM VALLEY (15-7) advanced to the Section 1 Class B Championship semifinal with a first-round win over Croton (15-0) and quarterfinal victory over rival Pawling, 8-3.
The Tigers, seeded third, will play at No. 2 Rye Neck, Wednesday. Rye Neck bat Putnam Valley, 5-4, the last week of the regular season.
Going into the Pawling game, Putnam Valley was aware of the revenge motive because the Tigers swept Pawling during the regular season.
“We knew we had a target on our back going into the game because they previously had an upset in their first-round game,” said Emily McKenna, who allowed five hits and struck out seven. “We had a tough battle last time against them, so we knew we had to take it to them from beginning to end.”
Tiger SS ‘Fearless Frankie’ Reyes doubled, tripled, homered and drove in four runs against Pawling as she continues to wield a hot bat. Sonya Garcia added two hits and two RBI and Alex Waters and McKenna each drove in a run.
McKenna finished with a three-hitter and nine strikeouts against Croton. Gianna D’Addona and Reyes each had three hits and four RBI each. Alex Waters and McKenna had two hits, three runs and an RBI apiece and Sophia Lord had two RBI and scored twice.
The final score of Putnam Valley’s regular-season game against Rye Neck was indicative of how close it was.
“It was a very close and could have been anyone’s game,” said McKenna of Rye Neck. “This time we have to win every inning, put the ball in play and keep the pressure on their defense.
Mahopac, like Lakeland, walked off to victory in Section 1 Class AA Championship quarterfinal round – 1-0 over Suffern in nine innings.
Carolyn Galizia singled in Ela Riccobono, who doubled, with the winning run.
State-ranked (No.17) MAHOPAC (19-3) will play John Jay-East Fishkill, Wednesday, in a semifinal. Second-seeded John Jay swept the regular-season set against the third-seeded Indians.
Mahopac P Shannon Becker rang up 18 strikeouts and limited Suffern to three hits in a 1-0 extra-inning quarterfinal win over the visiting Mounties. Becker now has 364 strikeouts on the season. Indian Ela Riccobono’s lead-off double in the ninth was followed by Carolyn Galizia’s walk-off RBI single.
“Right before Ela’s at-bat we were all talking to them and I said to them, ‘We’ve worked so hard for this. Ela, I believe in you. You just need to believe in yourself,’” Mahopac coach Cristina Giansante said. “And Danielle was like, ‘I believe.’ Then, they all started yelling and I was like, ‘We are gonna win.’ It was like that scene in A League of Their Own when Tom Hanks starts yelling, ‘We’re gonna win.’”
Mahopac opened sectionals with a 7-1 win over Carmel as Becker allowed three hits and struck out 14.
Michelle Dellamura and Riccobono each had two hits and an RBI. Kelly Zecca and Becker had a hit and RBI apiece and Danielle Sabia had two hits and a run scored.
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