By Greg Klein Staff writer
---- — The Cooperstown softball team has reached its goal, it will have a banner of its own to hang at Red Bursey Gymnasium.
The Cooperstown girls became the last Cooperstown Central School sports team to win a season title, clinching the Center State Conference Division III title with a 9-0 win over visiting Waterville on Monday.
“We’ve definitely been aware of it,” said senior Nicole Cring, who held Waterville to one hit and one other base runner for her 15th win of the season. “It has been a goal for us since the beginning of last year. We came close last year, but didn’t get it. This year we wanted to make sure we got it.”
While Cooperstown has had strong softball teams the past decade, the team has also had tough rivals in Canastota, Sauquoit Valley and Hamilton.
“Canastota is not in our division anymore, but they were always hard to beat,” coach Dave Bliss said. “I think all 10 years they were in our division, Canastota also won the Section Three title in Class B. A lot of those years, Sauquoit would win in Class C and Hamilton would win in Class D. Well, that was six of our division games right there, and that was not an easy road to go on.”
On Monday, Cring struck out 13 and held Waterville scoreless to bring her season ERA down to .60. Kelsey Buschor hit a single to left field in the second inning for the Indians’ hit. Buschor also reached base in the fifth inning on a dropped third strike. Cring set the Indians down 1-2-3 in the other five innings.
“Nicole has been pretty dominant this season, but it should be said that our defense has been very solid behind her,” Bliss said. “That’s a credit to our fielders, because when you have a dominant pitcher it is easy to get complacent. Our girls have been able to stay focused and make the plays they needed to make.”
Cooperstown scored three unearned runs in the second inning as Megan Eastman had control problems for Waterville. Cooperstown began the fourth inning with six batters reaching base. The team sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the inning.
Lexi Duda went 3-for-3 for Cooperstown, with a double, a run and 2 RBIs. Alannah Haggerty went 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI. Cring also had a double and Christina Noto scored two runs.
On Tuesday, Cooperstown (17-0, 11-0) won at Morrisville-Eaton. The team closes out the regular season today at SV. The Section Three Class C brackets will be determined on Sunday.