FRANKFORT, NY– With the Adirondack Wildcats running away with the Center State Conference Division I title, it’s safe to say that the real race is for second place.
To use an old horse racing term, right now, it’s Canastota by a nose.
The Red Raiders took advantage of seven runs in the first two innings and never looked back, exacting sweet redemption on the Frankfort-Schuyler Maroon Knights by the score of 12-6.
Rhilea Chabot also went a complete game for the Red Raiders, who are currently in a battle with not one, but two sets of Knights for second place in the CSC-I. Holland Patent, along with the Maroon Knights, are also contenders for that spot, which could go a long way toward seeding in the Section III playoffs.
The Red Raiders came out firing almost from the first pitch, as Josie Sgarlata tripled a Maria DiNigro pitch deep into the outfield. She would score on a sacrifice fly by Alex Jones. Kelly Mason would score later in the inning on a triple from Julia Collins.
Canastota (11-5, 5-4 CSC-I) would break the game open in the very next inning, as Sgarlata’s single would score Brooke Weber. Sgarlata would come back home just two batters later, as Jones’ double would score not only her, but Nicole Delaney as well. Jones would come back home only one batter later, as Collins’ double would score herself and Jade Shimer. That would also chase DiNigro from the game after only one-and-a-third innings.
“We came out really hitting the ball really hard,” Canastota head coach Christopher Sgarlata said of his Red Raiders’ early inning slugfest. “We were just sitting back…If you sit back and wait, they’ll give you a good pitch.”
For Maroon Knights (10-5, 4-5 CSC-I) head coach Bryan Ingalls, his team has taken a turn for the worse, losing four of their last five after going on a nine-game winning streak. For Ingalls, it all comes down to one thing: work ethic.
“We didn’t bring the effort until the end,” Ingalls said. “We don’t give up, but we put ourselves into too big a hole to dig out of. We can’t settle for that…we have to play beginning to end.
“We can’t dwell on a skid…we can get hot again.”
On the other side, Chabot was completely fooling the entire Frankfort-Schuyler batting order, not even allowing a hit until the fourth inning. Meanwhile, the Maroon Knights continued to shoot themselves in the foot, making several errors that led to Canastota runs. As a matter of fact, all of Frankfort-Schuyler’s six errors came in the late innings and led to three Red Raider runs.
However, Frankfort-Schuyler was not about to roll over and die. They finally got to Chabot in the sixth inning, as Danielle Impink would get the scoring started with an RBI single that would score Izzy Donatello. Michaela Costello would score as well, as another RBI single by Marissa Padulla would bring her home.
The Maroon Knights would try to break it open in the seventh inning, as Chabot would find herself in a bases-loaded jam with only one out. While Costello would score Ashley Thompson on another RBI single, it would be reliever Danielle Florentino who would make Chabot pay. Her RBI triple would score Costello, Donatello and DiNigro on the play and send Sgarlata out to check on his pitcher.
Surprisingly, after a brief conference, Sgarlata decided to leave his pitcher in to complete the game. After a brief moment to settle down, Chabot would set the next two Frankfort-Schuyler batters down to close the book on the game.
It was evident that Sgarlata had the fullest confidence in his junior starter.
“She doesn’t panic under pressure,” Sgarlata said of Chabot. “If they were going to put the ball in play, we were going to make the big plays.”
For Ingalls and Frankfort-Schuyler, they go into their final game on Thursday against Little Falls on almost a sour note, something that wasn’t evident at the beginning of the season, when they won nine in a row.
“They were very hungry [during the streak],” Ingalls said. “Once we saw some success, we lost that hunger. We turn it on when we want to, but that doesn’t beat good teams.”
With the win, Canastota finds themselves on the inside track for second place in CSC-I. They can clinch sole possession of that spot with a win Wednesday against Holland Patent. That finish could make a big difference in the sectional seeding meeting on Sunday as to where both the Red Raiders and Maroon Knights could find themselves playing when tournament time comes around.
If tonight’s game is any indicator, the teams that have to play the Canastota Red Raiders should brace for impact.
Canastota Red Raiders 12, Frankfort-Schuyler Maroon Knights 6
Canastota 2 5 0 0 2 1 2 12 12 1
F-S 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 6 8 6
WP: Rhilea Chobot (CG, 2K, 3 BB, 6 RA)
LP: Maria DiNigro (1 1/3 IP, 2 K, 1 BB, 7 RA)
2B: Canastota 3: Alex Jones, Julia Collins, Kelly Mason.
3B: Canastota 2: Josie Sgarlata, Collins. Frankfort-Schuyler: Danielle Florentino.
Total LOB: Canastota 9, Frankfort-Schuyler 5.