It is hard to believe that Cooperstown’s softball team had never won a season title until this week.
Cooperstown has had plenty of good softball teams and even more good softball players. Current coach Dave Bliss has been in the position for 13 years. Assistant coach Tom Weeks is now on his third generation of year-round trained pitchers with senior Nicole Cring.
The problem has been tough division foes, Canastota and Sauquoit Valley in the past and Hamilton most recently. Although the Emerald Knights play a division lower than Cooperstown, in Class D, they have won the Center State Conference Division Three title for the past few years, sweeping Cooperstown en route to Section Three and regional titles. Hamilton lost in the state semifinals the past two years. In 2010, Hamilton also won the Section Three title.
This year, Cooperstown swept Hamilton, and some school officials believe it is the first CCS softball wins over Hamilton ever. The Knights were without their ace, sophomore Becca Rogers, in the circle. Relegated to second base with a shoulder injury for the first three-fourths of the season, Rogers returned on May 8 with a one-hitter against SV. She followed up with a no-hitter against Oriskany on Friday. Her backup, Cydnee Wendt, pitched a doubleheader Saturday, and threw her first career no-hitter against Madison. Hamilton could be ready to make another run in Class D.
To be sure, Cooperstown did well hitting and scoring on Wendt, giving her and her team their only two losses this season. A 14-1 victory at Hamilton on April 17 was lopsided. But with Cring’s pitching, Cooperstown could have won even a Hamilton-type “small ball” game. On May 3 at home, Cooperstown won that type of game over the Knights when junior Maggie Hall eluded a tag on the third base line to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning, en route to a 5-3 victory.