Democrat Photo by Rob Potter
THE NEW HOPE players and coaches gathered for a team photo following Tuesday nights title-clinching victory. Kneeling from left to right are Tammy Sondermeyer, Maureen Johnson, Devon Davis, Ashley King, Laura Denman and Allison Whipple. Standing from left to right are Lori Kimmes, Coach Sean Matthews, Kelly Cicero, Heather Bachmann, Assistant Coach Mike Ward, Kerri Vandermark, Darlene Malewit and Linda Mears (scorekeeper). Missing from photo is Rachel Friedman.
Hope Rises To
Top of B Class
By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY August 18, 2006 Its two in a row for the New Hope womens softball team.
On Tuesday night at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley, New Hope won its second straight Sullivan County Womens Softball League (SCWSL) B Division playoff championship.
Last August, New Hope defeated The Nugget two games to one in the B Division championship series. With a 13-5 victory over Cobblers Tuesday night and a 16-8 win in the series opener on Monday night, New Hope swept its way to the 2006 title.
New Hope, which also won the B Division regular season title this summer, grabbed control early in Monday nights opening game. The team scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and led by at least four runs during the rest of the contest.
Laura Denman and Maureen Johnson each ripped a two-run single in the frame to pace the New Hope offense. Lori Kimmes and Allison Whipple each added an RBI single as New Hope took a 6-0 advantage.
The lead grew to 9-0 in the second inning as Johnson and Kimmes smacked RBI singles and Kelly Cicero hit a sacrifice fly.
Cobblers narrowed its deficit in the top of the fourth. The first batter of the inning, Stephanie Babich, tripled to right field and then sprinted home on an errant relay throw from the outfield.
Shannon Weigand followed with an infield single. She scored three batters later on a hit by Terilyn Steigler to make it a 9-2 ballgame.
New Hope got those two runs back in the bottom of the frame when Johnson ripped a single to right field to bring teammates Devon Davis and Whipple around to score.
Babich smashed a two-run triple in the top of the fifth to bring Cobblers to within seven runs at 11-4.
Cobblers further reduced the New Hope lead in the sixth inning. Cathy Roser and Janet Calangelo had RBI singles as Cobblers pulled to within four runs at 11-7.
But New Hope responded with five runs in the bottom of the sixth on its way to the eight-run victory. Johnson had a two-run single, while Davis and Denman contributed RBI hits in the frame.
New Hope Takes Game 2
In Tuesday nights second game, New Hope had to overcome an early deficit.
Cobblers took a 2-0 lead in the third inning thanks to RBI singles by Babich and Erin Brown.
But New Hope took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth. Leadoff batter Heather Bachmann smacked a double just inside the right field line and moved to third base on a groundout.
Whipple then ripped the ball to center field. As the ball moved between two outfielders and rolled to the wall, Whipple sprinted around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
An error a few moments later allowed Johnson to score the go-ahead run.
New Hope broke the game open by scoring eight runs in the top of the fifth. Cicero stroked a two-run double, while Bachmann, Davis, Kimmes and Darlene Malewit each added an RBI single as New Hope took a commanding 11-2 lead.
After New Hope added a run in the top of the sixth, Cobblers scored twice in the bottom of the inning. Weigand crossed home plate on a single by Brown. The next batter, Susan Hahn, grounded out, but earned an RBI as Brown scored.
Denmans RBI single in the top of the seventh gave New Hope a 13-4 advantage going into the final half-inning.
With two runners on base and two outs, Brown beat out a grounder to third base. Lara DePaolo, who had reached base on a bunt single, scored on Browns infield hit to make it an eight-run contest.
But New Hope pitcher Malewit ended the game by fielding a ground ball by Hahn and tagging her as she ran to first base.
I cant take much credit for these wins; these ladies knew what they had to do, New Hope Coach Sean Matthews said. They did an excellent job in the playoffs. They were excellent all season.
In addition to crediting the players, Matthews praised Assistant Coach Mike Ward for bringing it all together at the end of the season.
On its way to winning the B Division regular season crown, New Hope went a perfect 12-0 against its division foes. With a two-game sweep of Behans Garage in the B semifinals and a two-game sweep of Cobblers in the finals, New Hope finished the 2006 season with an overall record of 17-6.
By winning the B Division title, New Hope will move up to the SCWSL A Division in 2007.
Brown, who serves as the Cobblers Player/Coach, said that she was happy with the overall season.
We came in fourth in the division last season, she said. This year we took second place in the regular season and second place here in the playoffs. I couldnt be prouder of my team for what they have accomplished this year. It makes me very proud to be able to give two second place trophies to our sponsor.
Next year, were going for the big trophy, Brown added.