Hudson Valley Sports Report


Indians Go Extra Innings For Section 1, Class AA Softball Crown


MAHOPAC – How fitting that it came down to this.

The senior star pitcher, throwing her last high school game before taking the next step in her spectacular career, representing the legacy she helped build.

And the young freshman, thrust into a hero’s role, representing the future of the program.

That’s how the Mahopac High School softball team won its first Section 1, Class AA championship on Saturday in a thrilling 1-0, 10-inning classic over North Rockland.

The senior pitcher, of course, was the dynamic Shannon Becker, who will take her fabulous right arm to Notre Dame in the fall but not after striking out 18 more batters – giving her 1,041 for her career – and keeping the Raiders off the board.

“This means so much to me. Going out as champions in my senior year with the girls I’ve been playing with since T-ball is so special to me,” Becker said. “I am so so proud of this team and all the effort and hard work we’ve put in. Bringing home the first section title to this program is so surreal to me.”

The young freshman was shortstop Ava Lichtenberger, who might have already had the play of the game in the top of the 10th inning when she threw out a North Rockland runner at the plate to preserve the scoreless tie – if it wasn’t for her game-winning single in the bottom of the inning that gave the Indians the championship.

“I was looking for a strike and swinging at the first pitch that i liked. I kept telling myself to breathe and stay calm, and focus on my mechanics,” Lichtenberger said. “I had to tell myself that this at-bat is not any different than any other game and that I could do this. I was definitely feeling the pressure but I knew that my team was behind me to support me and cheer me on. As soon as I hit the ball and saw it go past the infielders it was an overflow of excitement and emotions.”

Indeed, the moment was overwhelming, particularly since it had been brewing for so long. In 2018, when Becker was a freshman, the Indians made it to the Section 1 quarterfinals. In 2019, it was a trip to the semifinals, where they were eliminated by eventual champion John Jay-East Fishkill. And last year, the entire spring sports season was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.

So the natural progression to a championship was interrupted.

But not abandoned.

“By not having a season last year, and getting close two years ago, that also fueled many of the girls to win today,” Mahopac standout Lauren Zecca said. “It was an amazing game between two teams, and it just comes down to who wants it more and Mahopac wanted it. This was what I have been dreaming of since I’ve been on varsity, to win a section.”

The moment was not lost on catcher Michelle DellaMura. Remember, it’s been DellaMura calling all of Becker’s pitches throughout this fabulous era of Mahopac softball.

“Being able to catch Shannon is honestly such an honor,” DellaMura said. “She is an insane athlete and is the best when it comes to pitching. I’m so lucky to be a part of it! It has been such an amazing experience and I’m so blessed to know she trusts me calling her pitches.”

For Becker, the title is a feeling of euphoria and relief.

“I’m just so happy I was fortunate enough to be a part of this historic season of ours alongside my amazing teammates,” she said.

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