Hudson Valley Sports Report

FDR SOFTBALL BEATS NEW PALTZ TO WIN OWN TOURNEY

Lourdes Tops Goshen In Consolation Game

By Jack McElduff
Special to HVSR

HYDE PARK – You couldn’t have asked for better weather for this year’s Franklin D. Roosevelt High School Spring Softball Tournament, with temperatures rising into the upper 60s and not a cloud to be found above Hyde Park.

The host Presidents were all too eager to bask in the sunshine and warm air, as FDR cruised to an 11-2 win over New Paltz to secure the tourney victory.

FDR head coach Kristi Coughlin was pleased with her team’s victory, particularly after a loss to Monroe-Woodbury in last year’s final left a bad taste.

“This year, to get to the championship game again and to beat a MHAL and section rival like New Paltz was huge for us,” Coughlin said.

This game initially looked to be a pitcher’s duel. New Paltz starter Alex Frenza, who had already pitched earlier on Saturday against Goshen in the semifinal, was throwing smoke early. However, FDR pitcher Elizabeth Gross was equally effective, striking out the side in the first inning.

That’s how it was until the third inning, when FDR broke through for three runs. Gross helped her own cause with a two-run double, and Abby Thomas laid down a perfect bunt to drive in a run of her own.

The three-run third would prove to be all Gross needed, as the senior pulled off a complete-game victory, allowing just two runs in the seven innings of work.

“I was just throwing fastballs, mainly,” Gross said. “I was just hitting my spots the whole game, and that’s what you need to do.”

Already up 3-0, the Presidents added four more runs in the top of the fifth (yes, FDR acted as the visiting team in this one), aided by RBI singles from Aliya Feerick and Alex Pfitscher. As Frenza tired – understandably so after pitching in the morning – several runs came across for the Presidents via walks. Later on in the seventh, Gross knocked another two-run double to turn this game into a rout.

In addition to its five-player senior class, FDR also holds five seventh- and eighth-graders on its roster. According to Coughlin, the wide age range has not been a detriment.

“Sectionals is huge for us,” Coughlin said. “These young ones are coming into their own, and I’m going to carry that confidence throughout the postseason.”

Backed by a sizeable fan section, Gross and the Presidents appreciated the home crowd.

It means a lot to us, because all our families came out here today to support us,” Gross said. “Going into the week, we have two huge games, so it meant a lot for us today.”

New Paltz dropped just its third game of the season, but as head coach Brooke Graham noted, miscues have been an issue for the Huguenots thus far.

“We have so much talent on our team, but we end up beating ourselves more so than our opponents beating us,” Graham said. “Moving forward, it’s about how we bounce back from this.”

In a consolation matchup between the losers of the morning’s semifinal games, Our Lady of Lourdes rolled to a 6-1 victory over Goshen High School. For the Warriors, an undefeated start to the season has given way to some bumps, as OLL had dropped four of its last five games going into the Goshen matchup. Given the recent struggles, Lourdes head coach Taryn Paggi noted the importance of grabbing the win.

“[This win was] really big,” Paggi said. “We have some good competition coming up, and moving into sectionals, it’s all about pitching and being able to beat the strong pitchers…I have high hopes for this team moving through sectionals.”

Lourdes was aided by a strong pitching performance from Lia Damiani, who fired seven effective innings while allowing just one run. Karissa Kerrs also primed the Warriors’ offense with a two-run double. Damiani was able to help her own cause with a run-scoring single of her own.

Goshen has had its struggles this season, but head coach Mike Kelly sees progress each time out, particularly from his eighth and ninth graders that are new to the varsity level.

“The girls are hanging tough,” Kelly said. “[We want to] finish strong and continue the growth of our young players.”

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