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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

MONTICELLO’S FRANCINE KAISER follows through after throwing a pitch in Saturday’s championship game versus Tri-Valley.

Monti Is Tops
In Tournament

By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE — May 6, 2003 – The championship game of Saturday’s Sullivan County Softball Officials’ Tournament featured plenty of action.
Both Monticello (2-6) and Tri-Valley (2-4) held leads in the early innings of the game. But Monticello had the lead when it counted most.
The Lady Panthers scored one run in the seventh inning to break a 9-9 tie and record a 10-9 victory.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Monticello’s Nicole Bradley reached base when she was hit by a pitch. After Eliz Pavese grounded out, Bradley advanced to third base on a passed ball. Cara Brighton then hit a bloop single to bring Bradley in to score the decisive run.
Monticello pitcher Francine Kaiser set the T-V batters down in order in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the Lady Panthers’ victory.
After the Lady Bears grabbed a 4-2 lead through two innings, Monticello responded with five runs in the third to take a 7-4 lead. Keying that offensive outburst were Tricia Kaiser, who hit a two-run double, and Francine Kaiser, who smacked an RBI triple.
T-V battled back with two runs in the fourth to make it a one-run game. Then in the fifth, T-V scored three times to take a 9-7 lead.
With one out in the fifth, Tiffany Paul hit a double that allowed Lacey Moore to cross home plate and knot the score at 7-7.
Later in the inning, Paul scored on a passed ball and Christina Poulos scored on a wild pitch as the Lady Bears took a 9-7 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Monticello rallied to tie the game at 9-9. With two outs, Erica Ramos reached base on an error to put two runners on the basepaths as she joined Brighton, who had walked to lead off the inning.
Shannon Dietrich then ripped a triple to left center field to bring both Ramos and Brighton around to score.
“We’re starting to hit the ball,” Monticello Coach Ed Kaufmann said. “And we were able to get the hits when we needed to. Shannon had a big hit to tie the game.”
Kaufmann also noted the performance of Francine Kaiser.
“She pitched both games today,” he said, referring to the title game win over T-V and the Lady Panthers’ 8-3 defeat of Liberty in the opening round. “She did a nice job.”
Overall, it was a very good afternoon of softball for the Lady Panthers.
“One of our goals this season was to win this tournament,” Kaufmann said. “We came in as the defending champions and wanted to win it again. We’re very happy that we were able to achieve that goal.”
In addition to the previously mentioned hits by Dietrich and Francine and Tricia Kaiser, Mel Devlin had three singles for Monticello.
Leading the Lady Bear offense were Paul (3-for-4, two singles, double) and Moore and Poulos, both of whom went 2-for-4. Moore had two stolen bases and Poulos scored three runs.
“They got the key hits when they needed to get them,” T-V Coach Mary Feusner said of Monticello. “But after they tied it in the third, we came back with some runs in the fourth and fifth. I was pleased to see that.”
Feusner noted that she was pleased with her team’s overall effort during the tournament.
“We’re working better together as a team and improving our skills,” she said.
T-V reached the championship game with an 11-3 victory over Eldred in the opening round. Liz Lowe was 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs for the Lady Bears.
Liberty defeated Eldred in the consolation game.
Feusner noted that the umpires at the tournament officiated the games at no cost.
“We need to say a big thank you to the officials for donating their time,” she said.

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