The good news for the Edmeston softball team was a 5-2 victory over Milford in the Tri-Valley League championship game Friday at Oneonta State.
The better news? Winning pitcher Catherine Johnson and batterymate Sarah Lawrence have yet to spend one day in high school.
Lawrence caught a six-hitter by Johnson, who struck out nine and walked two in leading the Panthers to their first Tri-Valley League championship since the program’s three-year reign from 2005-07.
“Catherine and Sarah are both eighth-graders, so I knew what I had with them,” said first-year Edmeston coach Ken Plows, who spent the last two seasons as the Panthers’ modified coach. “I think we’re a strong team, but I know we’ve got some work to do.”
Edmeston (17-2) seemed to work pretty well together Friday, jumping to a 4-0 lead after four innings.
Lawrence drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the first inning that plated No. 2 hitter Katlin Talbot. One of seven seniors on the Edmeston roster, Talbot started the rally with a one-out single and advanced to third on another single by freshman Sydney Smith.
Talbot and Lawrence also accounted for the second run in the third inning. Talbot drew a one-out walk from losing pitcher Kaitlin Van Winkler, who gave up an RBI double to Lawrence one out later.
“It was almost the same thing,” Plows said. “Sarah actually just missed a home run to left field, maybe by a foot. She tried to stretch that into a triple by not looking at her base coach, but that didn’t work. At least she got the RBI.”
Johnson helped herself with a leadoff single in the fourth. She took second on a wild pitch before Savanna Fistrowicz walked. Both runners advanced on another wild pitch, setting up senior Michaela Simmons for an RBI groundout to first. Senior Madison Porter later hit an RBI single to stake Edmeston to a 4-0 lead.
Milford finally broke through with a run in the fifth. Mataiah Waters reached base on a comebacker that Johnson misplayed, then took second on a wild pitch. Kaley Chase followed with an RBI single to make it 4-1.
The Panthers restored their four-run cushion in the bottom frame, though. Talbot and Smith hit back-to-back singles and advanced on a groundout by Lawrence. Johnson followed with an RBI groundout as Talbot scored to make it 5-1.
Marina Steele’s RBI double in the sixth plated Natasha Skillen, who reached base on a misplayed flyball to third, to cap the scoring.
Steele finished 2-for-3 for the Wildcats, who are seeded sixth for the Section Four Class D Tournament. Milford opens at home against No. 11 Windham of the Delaware League at 4:30 p.m. today.
Talbot (three runs, two stolen bases) and Smith each went 2-for-3 for the Panthers, who are seeded fifth for sectionals. Edmeston also drew a Delaware League opponent as it will host Davenport at 4:30 p.m. today in the first round.
“We have to take one game at a time,” said Plows, whose team is on the same side of the brackets as top-seeded Afton of the Midstate Athletic Conference. “Having this many seniors, they’re out to do the best they can do. They’re all going to be good teams (in sectionals), but if we just do our best, things should turn out well.”
Edmeston 5, Milford 2
at Oneonta State
Milford 000 011 0 - 2 6 1
Edmeston 101 210 x - 5 8 3
Kaitlin Van Winkler (L) and Natasha Skillen. Catherine Johnson (W,16-2) and Sarah Lawrence. 2B: Sarah Lawrence (E), Marina Steele (M).