The Times
  • SOFTBALL: Another crown for Magicians

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  • NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. — The Herkimer Magicians added a second championship to their summer resume when they won two games on the final day of New Hartford’s high school league.
    The Magicians, crowned champion of the Mohawk Valley Fastpitch Softball League Monday in Ilion, shut Oneonta out 1-0 in Thursday’s semifinal then beat top seed New Hartford 6-2 in the championship game.
    Herkimer entered the playoffs seeded second behind New Hartford with a 5-2-1 record. Shannon Cool pitched a one-hit, seven-inning shutout with 12 strikeouts and no walks against Oneonta. Brienna Baker, Oneonta’s all-state pitcher, countered with 14 strikeouts and allowed only two hits while walking three batters.
    Megan Ball, who had one of Herkimer’s two hits, drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth inning and stole second base. Ball scored the game’s only run on an error on a ground ball hit by Abbey Pabes. Ball got her hand on the plate ahead of the tag on a close play at home plate.
    Baker led off the top of the seventh win a double, the only hit for Oneonta, and was thrown out by Ball when she tried to steal third base. Cool struck the next two batters out to end the game.
    Brianna Parks, who took the throw from Ball on the stolen base attempt, had the other Herkimer hit in the semifinal.
    Fading daylight shortened the championship game to four innings. New Hartford hit three consecutive doubles in the first inning to account for its two runs but would get just one more hit against Cool.
    Herkimer got one run back in the third inning — Gracie Schrader singled, stole a base, and scored on Nicole Zaleski’s double — then took the lead in the top of the fourth. Ball started the decisive rally with an infield hit but was forced out on a fielder’s choice on Parks’ ground ball. Pabes reached base on an error and the runners advanced on a passed ball. The tying and go-ahead runs scored when Emily Jory, pinch-hitting for Cool, doubled over the head of the right fielders.
    Leading for the first time, Herkimer would add three more runs in the inning. Brittany Hunter and Samantha Spanfelner each singled home a run and pinch-runner Savannah Stalteri scored on another hit by Zaleski.
    Zaleski, playing second base defensively, made a leaping grab of a line drive for the second out in the bottom of the fourth and Cool fanned the next batter for the final out.
    Herkimer finished its summer with a combined 14-4-1 record in its two leagues.
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