Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

BETWEEN BASES: Monticello’s Sam Tucker waits to catch a throw from shortstop Sam Lynch as Tri-Valley’s Rachel Altbach slides safely back into first base during Friday’s championship game. Altbach stayed in the run down long enough for a run to score in the confusion.

Lady Bears Beat Monticello

By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE — May 2, 2000 -- The championship game of the annual Sullivan County Officials Softball Tournament featured something “extra” this year.
That “extra” applied to both excitement and innings.
Tri-Valley’s Jessica Miller smacked a single to center field in the bottom of the ninth inning in Friday’s title tilt to score teammate Heidi Manell and give the Lady Bears a 11-10 win over Monticello.
A few minutes before, however, the possibility of extra innings seemed slim as T-V carried a 9-5 lead into the top of the seventh. But the Lady Panthers proved Yogi Berra’s old adage to be true once again and guaranteed that the game would not be over in the seventh.
Two walks, an infield hit and a bloop RBI single by Kristi Beamer allowed Monticello to cut the T-V lead to 9-8. Then Becky Sheerer lined the ball just inside the bag at third to score Beamer with the tying run.
When the Lady Bears failed to score in the bottom of the frame, the teams played by the international tie-breaker rule in the eighth and ninth innings. The rule puts the batter who made the final out in the previous inning at second base and then her team comes to bat as usual.
In the top of the eighth, Kim Donohue ripped a double to left to score Melissa Lewis and give the Lady Panthers a 10-9 lead. But in the bottom of the frame, T-V came right back. Lisa Sorrentino, who began the frame on second, stole third base and scored when Rachel Altbach grounded out to second.
A stellar defensive play in the top of the ninth allowed the Lady Bears to keep the game knotted at 10. After Beamer started at second base and went to third on a passed ball, Sheerer hit a ground ball to shortstop and Miller picked it up and fired the ball to catcher Alesia Rexford. Rexford did a fine job of blocking the plate and tagging out Beamer.
Monticello put two more runners on base, but Manell, who pitched the entire game for T-V, induced two fly balls to end the threat — and set the stage for Miller’s game-winning hit.
“It’s nice to win a game like that,” noted T-V coach Mary Feusner. “We’ve lost two league games in extra innings this season.”
Feusner also enjoyed how her team played, both in the championship game and in the Lady Bears’ opening round 11-7 win over Liberty.
“I was very pleased with our hitting today,” she commented. “We were smashing the ball all over the place.”
Monticello coach Ed Kaufmann was disappointed that his team “made a couple of silly errors early in the game.”
But overall, he was pleased.
“We’ve been playing pretty well all year,” he said of his team, which beat Eldred 15-4 to reach the final versus T-V. “The team has been working hard and just needs to learn some more fundamentals. But they play with a lot of heart.”
Kaufmann also praised junior varsity coaches Kyle Hoar and Dan Orlan, for working with the younger players who are now on the varsity roster. (Monticello’s varsity team has only two seniors in the lineup.)
Leading the Lady Panther offense versus T-V were Beamer, who went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI, and Sheerer, who was 3-for-6 with one RBI.
Altbach had two hits and an RBI for Tri-Valley. Megan Sheeley (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Miller (2-for-6, 2 RBI) also helped the Lady Bear offense.
In the tournament’s third-place game, Eldred shut out Liberty by a 10-0 score. The game was called after five innings due to the 10-run rule.



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