Battery powers Shen softball to win

MICHAEL KELLY/Gazette Sportswriter Shen beat Burnt Hills 5-1 Monday.MICHAEL KELLY/Gazette Sportswriter Shen beat Burnt Hills 5-1 Monday.

Gazette Sportswriter

BURNT HILLS — Fresh off its first defeat of the season, the Shenendehowa softball team looked to its senior co-captains Monday to get back on track.

Nicole McCarvill and Cailey Cuttita, serving as the Plainsmen’s battery against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, didn’t disappoint.

“The girls on our team are very comfortable with them as captains,” Shenendehowa head coach Chris Farquharson said. “They know they can rely on them.”

McCarvill pitched a complete game and hit a solo home run, while Cuttita doubled twice. The second of Cuttita’s extra-base hits came with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, providing
insurance runs for Shenendehowa in its 5-1 Suburban Council victory.

“It’s a big bounce-back win for us,” said Farquharson, whose team lost Saturday to Ballston Spa in a rematch of last year’s Section II Class AA title game.

“We definitely came back hungry from it,” McCarvill said. “We wanted to prove we’re better than that.”

In handing Burnt Hills (5-1, 6-2) its first league loss of the season, Shenendehowa (5-1, 7-1) showed its rebuilt roster for the 2017 season can be a potent one. After graduating nine players, several of whom were multi-year starters for the Plainsmen, Shenendehowa has needed to use the early part of this season to figure out its new identity.

“It definitely different from years past,” said McCarvill, who is committed to Stony Brook. “We had the same starting lineup for a few years, but this team has come together pretty well and quickly.”

Shenendehowa got ahead of Burnt Hills quickly Monday. Junior first baseman Katherine Cornell’s RBI single in the second inning got the Plainsmen started, while McCarvill’s home run came two innings later.

“She can hit it out at any time,” Cuttita said of her teammate.

Two innings after McCarvill’s home run, Cut­tita’s slammed her three-RBI double to put Shenendehowa up 5-0.

“I knew I had to be more aggressive,” Cuttita said of her at-bat.

A pregame message from Farquharson to his players had been not to watch early strikes zip past them. His senior battery, he said, set a positive example with their at-bats, and the rest of the Plainsmen followed their lead.

“They really took it to heart,” Farquharson said.

“And they have good hitters, top to bottom,” Burnt Hills head coach Gary Holtz said. “That’s a really good team.”

Burnt Hills scored its run in the sixth inning on an RBI double from first baseman Caley Brunson. Earlier in the game, though, the Plainsmen twice curtailed Spartans rallies with double-plays starting with nice catches off line drives, started by second baseman Megan Gillooley and third baseman Amaya Vlacich.

Burnt Hills pitcher Kristen Langdon pitched a complete game for the Spartans and had two hits. Shenendehowa designated player Sophia Caputo recorded three hits, while McCarvill struck out six in a quality win for the Plainsmen.

“This was definitely a confidence booster for us,” McCarvill said.

Shenendehowa    010 103 0 — 5 10 1
Burnt Hills    000 001 0 — 1  6 0

McCarvill and Cuttita; Langdon and Van Epps.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at 395-3109, or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.