Nicole Cring made it look easy Monday, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t feeling the pressure.
“When they loaded the bases with no outs, I was pretty nervous,” said Cring, Cooperstown’s senior right-hander who improved to 19-0 with a 3-0 home win over Pulaski in a Section Three Class C-1 semifinal. “Honestly, I haven’t calmed down yet. My heart is still beating really fast.”
Clinging to a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning, Cooperstown let the Blue Devils load the bases. Libby Greene led off with a pop up that third baseman Lexi Duda lost in the wind for an error. Hannah Potter then singled to right field, sending Greene to third. Potter stole second before Cring walked Rochelle Atkinson to load the bases.
But 12 pitches later, Cring was out of the inning.
First she got Sammie Jones to ground out on a comebacker to the circle. Then she struck out Liz Monnat on four pitches and Simi Minnick on six.
“Getting out of bases loaded with no outs, that was huge,” Cooperstown coach Dave Bliss said.
For good measure, Cring gave herself an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
She led off with a single that went to the right of second baseman Jones. The ball then got past Potter in center field and Cring made it to third on the error. She scored on Ellen Vibbard’s single to right field — the only RBI of the game.
Cooperstown scored its other two runs in the third on two errors by Pulaski shortstop Miranda Edick.
Christina Noto reached on a grounder that Edick knocked down but couldn’t pick up. After Alannah Haggerty advanced Noto to second on a fielder’s choice, Maggie Hall singled to center. Noto went to third and Hall took second uncontested. Duda then hit a grounder that went between Edick’s legs to score both runners.