Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

SULLIVAN WEST’S AUTUMN Darder leads teammates Stephanie Lynch (25) and Kristen Brucher, right, through the line as they congratulate the Spackenkill Lady Spartans on a well-played game.

Sullivan West
Claims Victory

By Ted Waddell
JEFFERSONVILLE — May 28, 2004 – It’s out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire for the Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs varsity softball team.
The backstory of 3rd-seeded Sullivan West’s 1-0 shutout victory Tuesday over the sixth-seeded Lady Spartans of Spackenkill in a Section IX Class B quarterfinal was about six starting seniors being forced into making a decision between going on a senior trip to San Francisco or sticking with their team if they got past the opening round of the sectionals.
On Tuesday, that decision hit them squarely in the face as the Lady Bulldogs bit Spackenkill to advance in the sectional tournament.
And the decision left SW Coach Mike Ellmauer fuming outside the dugout as he envisioned going into the semifinals against second-seeded Highland on Thursday without six players. The group of seniors who would miss the contest includes starting pitcher Erin Rosenberger and starting catcher Leslie Bright.
Although Ellmauer passed on pointing the finger of responsibily at anyone in particular, he called the decision from higher up “inconsiderate.”
“It’s unfair to them and the program,” he said. “Due to some bad planning, bad timing and a lack of communication, somebody scheduled the senior trip right in the middle of the sectionals . . . and that’s going to cause us problems. These kids were put in a bad spot.”
Ellmauer said there was no excuse for the “bad planning” as this year’s sectionals were scheduled last June and finalized back in September.
“It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anybody,” he added. “The kids who went to school with each other for 13 years were put in the middle. Those of us who are left with the program will have to deal with it.”
SW (11-6) clinched the game in the second inning.
Jessica Lederman got on base after getting struck by an inside pitch.
She moved to second base on a single by Stephanie Lynch.
Lederman advanced to the hot corner on a shot by Cassie Valentine, a hit that was misplayed by the Spackenkill third baseman.
Rachel Peloquin knocked in Lederman with a fielder’s choice to short.
“It was a disappointing end to the season,” Spackenkill Coach Ray Hirsch said. “Defensively, we broke down in the second inning and that cost us.
“Sullivan West played a nice game,” he added. “They scored a run and we didn’t . . . that’s the bottom line.”
In earning the victory, Rosenberger allowed only three hits and recorded six strikeouts. Spackenkill pitcher Emily Luchnick gave up two hits and struck out four batters. She also smacked a double to account for one of the Lady Spartan hits off of Rosenberger.
Moments after catching his breath in the wake of lambasting the decision that forced six starters to opt for a senior trip instead of following the team’s dreams of advancing in sectional play, Ellmauer said the Lady Bulldogs of 2004 are a “real fine team . . . an exciting team, you never know what to expect . . . no day was the same.”
“It was a classic softball game,” he said of Tuesday’s shutout win. “Good pitching, good defense, timely hitting and being able to take advantage of a miscue or two.”

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