Softball: Valley Central rallies to win section title
SLATE HILL — They looked shell-shocked, dazed, unnerved, which is rare for Valley Central.
However, in the top of the first inning of Saturday's Section 9 Class AA championship, upstart Pine Bush, full of energy, with nothing to lose, had the overwhelming favorites reeling.
Pine Bush plated two runs in the first, hitting Valley Central ace Jane Pinckney hard.
How would the top seed respond after that assault?
With its first Section 9 Class AA title since 2004.
Valley Central (20-2) answered Pine Bush with two runs of its own in the first, adding one in the second and fifth, holding on for a 4-2 win.
"We were a little nervous, definitely," Valley Central third baseman Leanna Feerick said. "But, of course, we came back. Those are our games. We scored some runs and got pumped up."
Third-seeded Pine Bush (15-7), which upset second-seeded Kingston in the semifinals, scored two runs in the first on hard-hit RBI doubles by Crysti Eichner and Anna Mallory. However, Valley Central, which beat Pine Bush twice during the regular-season, came right back with two runs.
And after giving up three hits in the first, Pinckney (18-1) didn't allow another the rest of the game. Amber Corrigan's RBI single in the second inning gave the Vikings, who lost to Roosevelt 2-0 in last year's Class AA championship game, a 3-2 lead. Valley Central's run in the fifth came when Tessa Brown scored from second on a Pine Bush fielding error.
Brown and Corrigan each had two hits for Valley Central.
"We just calmed down. It's a championship game, there are always some nerves," Pinckney said. "We just settled down and started playing like we know how. It's incredible just knowing we pulled together and went all the way. It's incredible, insane."
What: Class AA state tournament, first round
Who: Valley Central vs. Union-Endicott
When: 5 p.m. Monday
Where: BAGSAI Complex, Binghamton