Holland Patent – Today’s Section III, Class B Softball playoff game between Holland Patent and Camden was less driven by hitting and much more focused on pitching. Really, really good pitching.
Both starting pitchers, Camden’s Laura Vanhoeven and Holland Patent’s Makenna Reinold each pitched well enough to win most any game, as neither allowed a run until Camden broke through in the the top of the ninth.
Reinold struck out eight batters, walked two, and gave up five hits while Vanhoeven struck out six, walked five, and gave up two hits.
But the Blue Devils, who are now (2-0) in the Class B Tournament as the #11 seed, got the best of this pitching battle and pulled off a 1-0 upset victory over 6th seeded Holland Patent in extra innings.
Camden (11-4) will now take on 3rd seeded Marcellus, a 16-4 winner of Chittenango today, in the quarterfinals tomorrow at 5 p.m.
“Laura pitched a hell of a game,” Camden head coach Bill Sullivan said. Holland Patent had a great defense, and we knew that it was going to come down to a one-run game. They’re (Holland Patent) a great team, but today was our first game that we actually played to our potential. All we’ve got to do is keep playing. The hits and runs will come.”
The Blue Devils first and only run was scored in the top of the ninth when Camden junior Kim Birmingham hit a single midway through the inning, stole second, and later made it home off on a throwing error by Reinold.
Despite the 1 run lead, Camden was not in the clear yet, as Holland Patent showed plenty of life in the bottom ninth. Reinold and Golden Knights’ senior Skylar Kaelin both walked and moved up one base off of the sacrifice groundout from Anna Healey. Reigan Lines also walked to load the bases, but things went south for the Golden Knights right when they had the opportunity to record a walk-off victory.
Vanhoeven regrouped and struck out Cassidy Kotary to get the Knights down to their final out. Holland Patents’ playoff fate rested in the hands of sophomore outfielder Madeline Acevedo, but Vanhoeven struck her out to end the home team’s threat.
“When she (Vanhoeven) threw that bomb pitch that got me out , I knew it was going to be high” Acevedo said, adding “I should’ve waited on it, I shouldn’t have swung at it.”
The Holland Patent Golden Knights lost 3-0 on the road against Adirondack in their regular season finale on May 16, and the team was looking to shake that loss off and advance to the quarterfinals with a win over Camden. The Knights, ranked #20 in the most recent NY State Class B poll, earned a first round-bye in the sectionals, but Holland Patent head coach Dennis Williams said that the week long break may have come at a cost.
“We were averaging about 14 runs a game this season,” Williams said. “We were playing everyday of the week. We were on a roll scoring, scoring, and scoring, and then we had a delay and a little time off. I think we got a little bit rusty during that time, and we just didn’t hit the ball the way we’re capable of hitting.”
Despite the rough ending, Holland Patent still had a great season finishing (13-5) overall and (9-3) in the Center State Conference.
“I am very proud of the team,” Williams said again. “It was a fun team to coach this year. We did a lot of good things and improved. We didn’t have many close games, and this (vs Camden) was a close game. We need more close games to be able to learn how to win these close games. That’s what we’re taking forward into the summer and winter. It is just tightening up some of the mistakes that we made, and we can play with pretty much anybody.”