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December 08, 2016
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Wet blanket

Amanda Rosenberger gets congratulations from Coach Mike Ellmauer after giving her team the early lead with an RBI triple in the third inning.

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — April showers bring May flowers. They also bring innumerable rainouts. Fortunately the rainy week was during spring break, or the burgeoning list of postponed games would have grown longer yet.

Sullivan West ended its hiatus with softball and baseball games against Section IV’s Deposit on April 22. Things went well for the baseball team, but ended up sadly for the girls just across town. Good pitching, solid defense, timely hitting and good base running are hallmarks of teams that prevail in the regular season and earn the right to contend in sectionals for greater glory, while issues with any of the above can lead to disappointing outcomes.

While the old adage maintains that “practice makes perfect,” there is no substitute for live-game experience. For the diamond Dawgs of baseball and softball, this wet spring has not only limited their engagements, it has readily informed players as to what leads to both wins and losses. The baseball team experienced the former with its 11-4 victory over the Lumberjacks, fueled by six strong innings thrown by Richard Mirch, who yielded just three hits. The Dawgs got two hits apiece from Mike Pierce and Justin Zaccari, which produced three and two RBI respectively, as the Bulldogs improved to 3-2 vs. the 1-3 Lumberjacks. Meanwhile, Sullivan West’s undermanned softball squad suffered a 6-1 defeat, a product of a nightmare seventh inning that began with a two-out Lady Westie error, and opened the floodgates and led to the resulting defeat.

The Lady Jacks had spent the morning beating Hancock to improve their record to an impressive 8-1. Their only loss thus far was to powerful Class C Greene. Sullivan West’s inexperience and its missing of four players increased its vulnerability, despite getting a sterling mound outing from junior Hannah Schwatz, who struck out 10 and yielded just five hits. Schwatz also did her part at the plate, going two for three. Junior Amanda Rosenberger belted an RBI triple in the third inning to drive in the Lady Bulldogs’ sole run of the game. For six innings, Schwatz and Deposit’s Justina Ellis kept opposing batters mostly at bay. During that span, Deposit batters had whiffed eight times and were limited to one run that had been scored in the fifth inning to tie the game. That run was abetted by fielding woes as well.

Deposit’s seventh-inning rally began with a playable ball to left that should have ended the inning but didn’t. When the dust cleared, five Lady Jacks had crossed the plate and a game that appeared to be one that might be decided by a single run morphed into something vastly different.

From the perspective of Sullivan West coach Mike Ellmauer, this was “one that got away.”

After Rosenberger drove in Katie Taylor, who had singled before her, in third inning, Sullivan West couldn’t score her from third with less than two outs. They squandered another chance in the seventh inning with runners on second and third and one out.

Deposit was 16-4 a year ago and lost to perennial winner Afton in the Section IV finals. Sullivan West was crowned the 2010 Division IV Co-champion, made it to sectionals and beat Onteora 4-3 in eight innings before losing to eventual Class B champion Highland in the semifinals. Needless to say, they hope to earn a berth in sectionals again and go further.

Sullivan West fell to 1-3. They are 1-0 in the league, having bested Liberty earlier in the week. Losses were to Port Jervis, Cornwall and now Deposit.

The Lady Westies’ game vs. Goshen was rained out on April 25. They host league rival Tuxedo on April 26, travel to O’Neill for a league game on April 27 and visit Collins Park on April 29 to take on Monticello.

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