Blue Devils handle Williamsville-North, 5-1, on Friday to advance to next weekend's final four in Glens Falls
BROCKPORT — The quick start was impressive.
The middle and the end weren’t all that bad, either.
The Victor softball team got the early jump, added some timely power and played tidy defense on Friday, and it all added up to a 5-1 win over Williamsville-North of Section VI at SUNY Brockport.
The win sends the Blue Devils (16-1) to Glens Falls for next weekend’s Class AA state semifinals and trying to sort out what powered the Blue Devils on Friday is kind of like trying to figure out which snowflake is the most important flake of a snowball.
“We believe in each other,” said junior center fielder Reagan Gensiejewski, whose fourth-inning solo home run gave Victor a 4-1 lead. “Everyone is important.”
Indeed, the Blue Devils on Friday needed everything on Friday. Senior shortstop Sam Torlish helped get the offense going by driving in one of Victor’s first two runs in the first inning. And in the third, sophomore Kyra Grooms doubled to right center to score Torlish.
But in the bottom of the third, Victor’s defense took its turn. With two on and one out, Williamsville-North’s Rachel Dimitroff hit a sharp grounder back to Victor sophomore pitcher Erin Wong, who had an easy play at third to get the lead runner.
But there was still another out to go and the Spartans (14-7-1) still had two runners on. It got even more tense when Alex Mucci drew a walk to load the bases.
Leadoff batter Anna Brand ripped a single to right field to score Jordan Cooper. In right field, senior captain Alexa Ricci charged the ball and came up throwing. She hit senior first baseman Kara Commisso with the cutoff, and Commisso turned and fired to home, where catcher Kyra Grooms easily tagged Rachel Dimitroff to end the inning.
“We’ve been saying we have a great defense and today we proved it,” said coach Shelly Collins.
So Victor carried a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fourth, but it could have been much worse. And instead of letting the Spartans gain any more confidence, Gensiejewski led off the inning with a solo shot to left field, sending the second pitch she saw clear over the fence.
“I was just thinking please go over so I don’t have to sprint to second base,” joked the centerfielder.
But the timing of the home run was no joke. It came just minutes after the Spartans scored their only run, perhaps instilling some confidence to fuel a later rally. The shot also restored Victor’s lead to three runs and it came as a result of the Blue Devils doing their homework.
“We knew their pitcher was strong with the inside pitches and that’s where Reagan is strong, so we told her to go after it,” said Collins.
In the fifth, Wong walked the first two batters but the defense again came to the rescue. Junior third baseman Paige Phillips fielded a hot shot right at the bag and after she stepped on third for the force, her throw to first to complete the double play was on the mark.
Williamsville-North again put two runners on in the sixth, but couldn’t cash in. And a diving catch by Torlish on an infield pop set the tone for the seventh. The final two outs were ground balls to third, and the Blue Devils cooly celebrated their win and started making plans for next weekend’s trip to Glens Falls. Their opponent is to be determined, but they know they play on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
The insurance run in the bottom of the sixth provided by Commisso’s single helped as well, and gave the Spartans one more look at how a well-rounded team gets it done.
“We’ve been so positive and confident this year,” said Torlish.
As it is, Gensiejewski wasn’t all that surprised at Victor’s success. Not when the public address announcer correctly pronounced her name for each at-bat.
“When they say my name right, you know it’s going to be a good day,” she said.