By Jon Dinan
BINGHAMTON Two-time defending Class D softball champions Livingston Manor will not three-peat.
Section IV’s Deposit laid the “lumber” on the Wildcats with a decisive 16-3 victory in the quarterfinals of the state championship playoffs. For the Lumberjacks who typically rely on strong defense, this victory at Binghamton’s BAGSAI softball complex was a long time coming.
“It’s an ecstatic feeling because we’ve lost in this quarterfinal round five seasons in a row,” said Deposit coach, Ed Swarthout.
For Manor, it’s disappointing to finally lose in the states after dominating the last two years.
“It’s not how you want your season to end,” Coach Kevin Clifford admitted, “but we’re young, and we’ll be back.”
Manor jumped out to an early 3-2 advantage in the top of the second with the help of a solo home run off the bat of lead-off hitter, Maggi Calo.
Manor’s lead, however, was shortlived as Deposit’s vaunted offense put together an eight-run third. The Lumberjacks McKenzie Martin and Haley Linkroum sparked the rally with a pair of singles. Shelby Pettersen then doubled to right-center field to bring in Linkroum and Martin. Hannah Freyer and Justina Ellis both reached by way of fielder’s choice and scored on a single from Jen Newman. Newman would then score on a double from Martin, her second hit of the inning as Deposit batted around.
The seven-run cushion allowed Deposit starting pitcher, Justina Ellis to find a groove. She was in command the rest of the game as Manor failed to score another run.
Deposit would have another big inning in the sixth, adding six more runs off three hits, two errors, and a walk to put the game out of reach.
This late offensive surge would knock 14-year old Manor starter, Kate Rau out of the game as well. She was replaced by junior shortstop, Samantha Scott. Manor Coach Kevin Clifford elaborated on why he chose to start his youngest pitcher in a game of such magnitude.
“You’re not going to get a lot of strikeouts against this Deposit line-up, so we thought it was most important that we have our best defense out there,” Clifford explained.
Clifford’s alternative would’ve been to start his best defensive shortstop, Scott in place of Rau.
“She has been big for us all year, and she hits her spots,” Clifford said in Rau’s defense. In the end, even Manor’s best defensive front was unable to stop the lively Deposit bats. Pettersen finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, Martin went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI, and Andrea Davis went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored for Deposit.
Deposit will play in the Class D semifinal against Fort Ann at 9 a.m. Saturday in Queensbury. The championship is scheduled for 2 p.m. the same day.