By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY May 18, 2001 Countless coaches and spectators in various sports have often left games thinking it was a shame that one of the teams had to lose the well-played, hard-fought contest.
Wednesdays OCIAA Division III softball game between Cornwall and Monticello was that type of contest.
Visiting Cornwall maintained its perfect record by squeezing past Monticello 3-2 in an 11-inning thriller at Edward Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
All of the runs in the contest were scored in the tenth and eleventh innings as Monticello pitching ace, Analey Dietrich (163 on the season), matched Cornwalls standout hurler, Jessica Donohue (120), out for out in the first seven innings. With help from their respective defenses, Dietrich and Donohue kept the opposing hitters off-balance and with a few exceptions, off the base-paths in regulation.
Each team scored a run in the 10th. First Cornwall grabbed a 1-0 lead when a sacrifice bunt by Emma Chmara allowed Jen Kelly to score. Then in the bottom of the frame, a two-out single by Monticellos Jessica Konefal scored Cindy Jessup to knot the game at 1-1.
But it was an RBI double by Cornwalls Melanie Lulves in the 11th that proved to be the difference in the epic battle. With one out in the inning, Katie Farrugias squeeze bunt along the first base line allowed teammate Maureen OConnor to score from third to give the Green Dragons a 2-1 lead.
The next batter, Jenn Bowie, laid down a sacrifice bunt to get Farrugia to second base with two outs. Lulves then ripped a Dietrich pitch to left field for a 3-1 Cornwall lead.
The Lady Panthers answered in the bottom of the 11th, however. With Sam Tucker on second base because of the international tie-breaker rule which is the regulation that requires each team, from the eighth inning on, to place the runner who made the final out in the previous inning at second base as the team begins its at-bats Amelia Devlin bunted Tucker over to third base. After Donohue recorded a strikeout for the second out of the frame, Sam Lynch beat out a grounder to short.
Tucker scored on the play to make it a 3-2 game. But Donohue got the next batter, Megan Drobysh, to pop up to end the game.
It was a great game, Cornwall coach Rick Miller said. You had two good teams with great pitchers and the defense was excellent. We just were able to put the bunts down to move the runners over and bring them in.
Monticello coach Ed Kaufmann concurred with Miller.
We didnt execute the two bunts we had to and they did, Kaufmann said. Their execution of the bunt won them the game.
When the game was still scoreless in the ninth inning, the Lady Panthers popped up two bunt attempts. That left runner Kristie Beamer stranded at second with two outs as Donohue then got a strikeout to end the frame.
Monticello also had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs and two runners on, Beamer hit a little dribbler between the plate and the pitchers mound. But Cornwall third baseman Jenn Bowie grabbed the ball and threw to first to get Beamer out by a split second as Tucker crossed the plate with the potential game-winning run.
Despite the very disappointing loss, Kaufmann and his players seemed pleased that they had played better in this second match-up with Cornwall, which is ranked number two in among Class B teams in the latest state rankings. Back on April 30, Donohue allowed only four Lady Panther hits in a 6-0 shutout.
But in Wednesdays game, the Lady Panthers got six hits off of Donohue and scored the only two earned runs she has allowed this season.
We all played really well today, said Dietrich, who allowed only seven hits while striking out four and walking two batters. We hit the ball better than we did the last time. We were more prepared this time.
Donohue struck out 10 and did not walk a batter. She gave a great deal of the credit for the win to her defense.
I have to thank my defense, it was awesome, Donohue said. Its nice to know theyre back there for me even when Im not having my best day.
Donohue added that Dietrich also did a great job on the mound.
Like Donohue, Kaufmann noted how vital defense was in the game.
We played great defense, the veteran coach commented. Shannon Dietrich had seven putouts at shortstop. You couldnt have asked for a better effort from everyone.
If both teams continue to play well, there is a good chance they will meet for a third time this season in the Section IX Class B tournament. Naturally, Monticello would welcome that opportunity. Especially after, as Kaufmann noted, going 11 innings with the second-ranked team in the state.
Our goal at the beginning of the season was to get to sectionals and play Cornwall, Kaufmann explained. Were on the right track to achieve that goal.