Albany Softball Team celebrated its NCS title Saturday at Levine-Fricke Field. Photo by Ned Purdom. Article by Rashad Alaiyan.
Albany Softball Team was crowned NCS champion after winning a tight match against its opponent from Concord High School at Levine-Fricke Field Saturday.
The Cougars of Albany went down quietly in the top of the first inning, while the Minutemen of Concord stormed out to an early 1-0 lead. Going into the top of the third inning the Cougars looked a little vulnerable, allowing two more runners to score, giving Concord a 3-0 cushion.
The lead Concord had built didn’t last long, as Joan Cannon of Albany singled to left center, sending sophomore catcher Maddie Cousens to the plate. After a wild pitch in which Cannon advanced all the way to third, Cousens laced an RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-1. Laura Cannon came up to bat and ripped a double into the gap in left center, reducing the lead to 3-2.
After a pitching change, Nicole Presher came up to bat, and hit a shot off of the pitchers glove, sending runners to first and third. Senior star Amaya Fernandez tied the game at three for the Cougars with an RBI chopper to first base, and following another wild pitch, Presher moved to third base, setting up an outstanding at-bat by sophomore right fielder Sabina Kahn. After fouling away a dozen pitches, Kahn eventually hit the 13th pitch of the at bat up the middle to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead going into the bottom half of the inning.
However, Concord immediately tied it up with a leadoff homerun to tie the game at 4-4. It plated two more runs and took the lead at 6-4 by the end of the fifth inning.
Senior Laura Cannon stops a baserunner. Photo by Ned Purdom.
Neither team netted any runs in the sixth inning. Joan Cannon struck out to begin the top half of the seventh inning. But Cousens advanced to first base on a walk. Laura Cannon hit a blooper to the shortstop, but it was misplayed and the Cougars had runners at first and second with only one away. Presher hit an RBI single to center, and an untimely error by the centerfielder advanced the runners to second and third. Fernandez hit little dribbler back to the pitcher, who threw the ball home, trying to prevent the run from scoring. An overthrow to third by the catcher tied the game at six a piece.
The momentum shifted to the Cougar’s side. After a quick bottom of the seventh inning, the Cougars put runners on second and third, setting up some late-game heroics for Joan Cannon. Cannon hit a slow grounder to short, which scored the go ahead run, giving the Cougars the lead for good at 7-6.
By posting an outstanding 24-1 record, including a remarkable 16-0 in the BSAL, the Cougars impressed even their harshest critics.
*Ned Purdom is an instructor of the Journalism Program of Albany High School. Rashad Alaiyan is a reporter under his guidance.