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Rob Potter | Democrat

The Livingston Manor players and coaches were smiling brightly after winning the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Class D softball championship on Saturday at Waterloo High School. Standing in the front row, from left to right, are Nina Zheng, Meagan Edwards, Samantha Scott, Victoria Taggart, Angela Zayas and Maggi Calo. Standing in the back row, from left to right, are Jessyca Wolcott, Co-Coach Charlie Hicks, Victoria Davis, Sarah Reigel, Emily Casey, Brittanie Fredenburg, Marissa Diescher, Christine Babich and Co-Coach Kevin Clifford. Missing from photo are Assistant Coach Amanda Moffet and Scorekeeper Sandy Taggart.

Manor wins state Class D softball title

By Rob Potter
WATERLOO — June 15, 2010 — The Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D softball championship on Saturday afternoon at Waterloo High School.
And they did so in dramatic fashion.
With the score tied, no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, Manor junior catcher Victoria Taggart stepped into the batter’s box. On a 1-1 count, Taggart swung at a pitch from Bolivar-Richburg’s Erin Fleming. Taggart got her bat on the ball and sent it just inside first base and down the right field line.
As Taggart ran to first base, teammate Maggi Calo sprinted from third base to home plate to score and give the Lady Wildcats a 2-1 victory and the state title.
The players then exchanged hugs and “high fives” with each other, coaches, parents and friends during a spirited celebration on the field.
“I just wanted to make contact with the ball,” Taggart said moments after her game-winning hit. “Whether it was a hit or a fly ball to the outfield, I wanted to make sure she [Calo] could score. The single worked, it was perfect placement.
“All of the players and coaches worked so hard for this championship,” Taggart added. “Everyone gave 100 percent at practices and in games. It feels so great to win this.”
Manor (18-3), which reached the title game with a 4-1 semifinal victory over Section II champion Germantown on Saturday morning, fell behind early against the Section V champion Bolivar-Richburg Wolverines.
After Manor junior pitcher Marissa Diescher struck out the first two batters she faced in the top of the first inning, Brianna Perkins ripped a triple into center field. Perkins scored when the next batter, Kami Doane, singled.
Bolivar-Richburg (24-2), which defeated defending state Class D champion Afton in Saturday morning’s other semifinal game, held its 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Taggart singled to center field. Taggart was forced out at second base when the next batter, Brittanie Fredenburg, reached base on a fielder’s choice. Emily Casey walked to put two runners on base with two outs.
Angela Zayas then hit a bloop single into right field, which allowed Fredenburg to cross home plate and tie the score at 1-1.
Zayas and Casey moved up to second base and third base, respectively, when the throw to home plate in an attempt to get Fredenburg was errant.
But Manor was unable to add to its lead as Fleming stuck out the next batter to end the inning.
After walking one batter in the top of the fifth, Diescher, who struck out 14 batters in the game, set down the Wolverines in order in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Wildcats knew they needed just one run to claim the first softball state championship in Livingston Manor Central School history. (Manor reached the Class D title game in 1988 and 1990, but was defeated both times. Stockbridge Valley shut out the Lady Wildcats, 2-0, in 1988. Deposit topped the Lady Wildcats, 6-1, in 1990.)
Calo, a sophomore rightfielder, led off the frame by belting a triple to the base of the fence in right center field. Junior second baseman Christine Babich reached base on a bunt single and Diescher was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Taggart then delivered her game-winning hit to start the Manor celebration.
“Kevin and I always believed this team could make it here,” said Manor Co-Coach Charlie Hicks, referring to fellow Co-Coach Kevin Clifford. “We had T-shirts made up saying ‘This team, this year.’
“I am so happy because this is a great group of kids,” Hicks added. “It’s great to win a state championship with this group of girls.”
Clifford echoed Hicks’ sentiments.
“From Day 1 of practice this spring, we made it our goal to get to this game,” Clifford said. “We planned out how we could get here. We had to win our section championship and then win in the [state] semifinals.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to win the game,” he added.
Of course, the players were very thrilled to be state champions.
“It’s amazing, it’s insane, it feels so good,” Casey said. “All of the hard work paid off.”
Diescher noted that the first-inning hits by Perkins and Doane were on pitches “that were out over the plate.
“I tried to keep the ball up in the [strike] zone after that,” Diescher said. “I knew I couldn’t let them get any more runs. That was my job and our defense played really well behind me.”
When asked about winning the state title, Diescher paused for a few seconds before answering.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” she said. “It will kick in later tonight that we are the champions.”
Bolivar-Richburg Coach Mark Emery noted that his team faced very talented pitchers like Diescher during the regular season, so his team wasn’t totally surprised by the Manor standout.
“She’s a great pitcher,” Emery said of Diescher. “She did what she needed to do for her team and pitched well.
“It’s disappointing to reach this game and not get it done, but we’ll be back,” Emery added.
It’s safe to say that the Manor players and coaches also want to be back at the Class D final four next June. The majority of the players on the Lady Wildcats’ roster will return for the 2011 season as the team will lose just three seniors – Casey, Fredenburg and Sarah Reigal – to graduation.

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