SYRACUSE — With Whitesboro’s junior star Caitlin Reilly and Jamesville-DeWitt’s crafty senior Shayna Myshrall dealing in the circle, runs were going to be scarce.
Neither pitcher disappointed during Monday’s Section 3 Class A final, but it was the Red Rams who were able to string two hits together with Myshrall helping out her own cause in the bottom of the sixth to squeeze out a tight 1-0 victory that claimed J-D’s fourth consecutive banner.
“This group has always made adjustments and Shayna is who Shayna is,” J-D head coach Jeffrey Cantor said. “I’ve had her for five years and just when I think she can’t get better, she gets better.”
Reilly, who finished with 11 strikeouts, rolled through J-D’s lineup, setting the first nine batters down, seven coming by strikeout. She also helped out her own cause with the defensive play of the game, diving forward to corral a bunt by leadoff Andrea Sumida in the fourth inning.
“Reilly is a tremendous pitcher. She has been even better here at the end of the season from what I’ve seen,” Cantor said. “I went over to her special and I haven’t done that … probably ever, and I said to her “awesome” … I mean she was REALLY good. When you have someone like that and then she makes that great play, it’s just respect. … It was well played.”
Whitesboro’s ace seem poised to cruise through the sixth before Paige Keeler roped a triple to right-center field and was driven home by Myshrall’s lined double to left-center to account for the winning run.
“I think I was a little anxious,” Myshrall said. “I saw the pitch coming and thought this was the pitch and it worked out. It feels really good, especially this one feels a little different because I’m a senior. It feels really good to get here with my team. I think we work really good together really well, so (it’s) a win for everyone.”
That’s all the Red Rams, ranked 5th in the state, would need as Myshrall made quick work of the Warriors in the top of the seventh by inducing three groundouts, taking the last one herself and gunning to first to wrap up the title.
Myshrall, who posted three shutouts this postseason, finished with a two-hitter and struck out four for the Red Rams (19-1), who play 5 p.m. Thursday in a state first round game against Section 10 champion Franklin Academy at Canton High School. The winner of that advances to play at Section 2 champion on Saturday in a state quarterfinal.
Whitesboro (15-6) had the better opportunities throughout, putting runners on base in five of the seven innings, but couldn’t get that clutch hit to break the scoreless tie.
In the top of the fourth, the Warriors ran themselves out of the inning while trying to take an extra base after an error by J-D’s first basemen.
In the fifth, Whitesboro senior Madison Cieslak crunched a one-hopper to the center field wall for a two-out double, but Myshrall pitched out of it by forcing Reilly to popout to first, ending the Warriors’ best scoring opportunity.
“It was definitely hard because we couldn’t string the hits together at the right time,” Cieslak said. “But you have to give it to them, they’re a great program. We played them in the finals last year too and had the same result, but I’m unbelievably proud of Cait and this entire team. We’re young and we pulled it together and made it to the finals this year.”
Keeler had two hits at the plate and was solid defensively for the Red Rams, making two put outs to go along with three assists.
With Whitesboro’s lineup consistently putting the ball in play, J-D’s defense had to be good. And, aside from the dropped throw at first, they were able to make all the key plays, led by shortstop Kate Dorazio’s four assists.
However, aside from Cieslak’s double and freshman Emma Scranton’s liner to right field, not many balls were hit squarely off the barrel against Myshrall, who expertly changed levels and worked the ball in and out with a steady dose of curve balls.
“My coach told me going in that their three and four batters on their team were good, so I was just sticking with my best pitch, which is my curve ball. So, I was sticking with that a lot and not throwing a ton of other stuff.
“But the pitcher on Whitesboro is a great pitcher and we had a really hard time adjusting to her and it was a really a pitchers’ duel for a while, I thought.”
Sophomore Kendal Dorozynski had Whitesboro’s other hit – a one-out single to left in the third. When called upon, the Warriors defense was up to the task with Cieslak making a few key defensive plays.
Whitesboro, ranked 24th in the state, should be right back in the mix next season with seven starters returning including Reilly and catcher/3-hitter Olivia Simone, who will try to snap J-D’s reign during their senior campaigns.
“I look forward to playing with this team next year and getting here and winning it,” Reilly said.
Head coach Aaron Cirasuolo’s Warriors have been so close, losing to J-D 3-2 in last year’s final and 3-1 in the 2016 semis. A play here or there could’ve changed all three outcomes and Cirasuolo expects this group to grow into the team that makes those difference-making plays.
“I expected a pitchers’ duel and Caitilin pitched outstanding,” Cirasuolo said. “We just got a little unlucky and they had two big hits back-to-back and scored a run. We were looking to do the same thing and just didn’t get one to fall, and that was the difference in the game. We played well. We didn’t beat ourselves, they beat us, so we have to be happy what the girls did and look forward to being right back here next season.”
Section 3 Class A Final
Jamesville-DeWitt 1, Whitesboro 0
Wboro 000 000 0-0 2 0
J-D 000 001 x-1 3 1
W: Shayna Myshrall. L: Caitlin Reilly. 3B: J-D, Paige Keeler. 2B: Wboro, Madison Cieslak; J-D: Shayna Myshrall.
Records: J-D 19-1; Whitesboro 15-6.