By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE The Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs grabbed a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning of their Section IX Class B softball quarterfinal game against the visiting Red Hook Lady Raiders on Tuesday afternoon at Lauren Hughson Field.
But fifth-seeded Red Hook quickly answered with four runs in the top of third and tied the game at 5-5 in the fourth.
The Lady Raiders broke the tie by scoring four runs in the top of the seventh to record a 9-6 win and advance in the tourney.
Red Hook (13-10) was slated to meet No. 1 seed John S. Burke Catholic High School yesterday in a semifinal contest. No. 4 seed SW ended its season with a 6-9 record.
Cara Davies scored the Lady Bulldogs’ first run of the game on a single by Rachel Gruenke. Moments later, Kirsten Niemann hit a two-run single to push the SW advantage to 3-0.
The Lady Bulldogs scored their other two runs of the inning on an error and a successful double steal play.
However, the Lady Raiders wasted little time in chipping away at the SW lead as Victoria Howland led off the top of the third with a triple to left field and scored when Jen Picard reached base on an error. Camille King, who reached base on a walk, scored on a groundout and Picard crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly by Katie Drummond.
Asia O’Han brought Red Hook to within a run when she scored on a single by Krissy Mulpeter.
Picard’s RBI single in the top of the fourth tied the game at 5-5.
Red Hook took the lead for good in the top of the seventh.
O’Han began the frame with single to center field. After stealing second base, she scored on a ground-rule double by Kayla A’Brial.
Howland and Emma Moore had RBI singles and Kaitlin Schoonmaker hit an RBI triple to deep left field as the Lady Raiders took a 9-5 lead.
The Lady Bulldogs attempted a game-winning comeback in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Lindsay Bauer blasted a solo home run to center field to reduce the team’s deficit to three runs.
But Red Hook pitcher A’Brial recorded a strikeout and then caught a pop fly for the final out of the game.
A’Brial had eight strikeouts in earning the complete-game victory.
“The news we had about them was that they were a good-hitting team,” Red Hook Coach Tom Gilbert said of the Lady Bulldogs. “They hit the ball well today.”
He praised his players for being patient and not panicking when SW took its early five-run lead.
“We had an hour and 45-minute bus ride to get here and I think we came out a little nervous,” Gilbert said. “But I told our players that they [SW] had an early lead against Pine Plains last year [in sectionals] and Pine Plains came back to win the game.”
Lander, who registered seven strikeouts, took the loss in the circle for the Lady Bulldogs.
Niemann led the SW offense with four RBIs.
“It was a tough game,” SW Coach Mike Ellmauer said. “We knew that Red Hook has a quality program.
“We had a couple of mental miscues,” he added.
Ellmauer noted that Bauer’s home run was the first one hit by a player from the home team previously the Jeffersonville-Youngsville Lady Trojans and now the SW Lady Bulldogs to clear the home run line near the outfield railing at the field since 1990. The ball sailed over the line and bounced off a utility pole located a few feet behind the line.
“We had a good season and we will be losing a great group of seniors,” Ellmauer said. “We will try to fill their spots next season.”
Those seven SW seniors are Davies, Morgan Edwards, Gruenke, Lander, Stephanie Meyer, Niemann and Jennifer Pitz.