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Crown Point's Maria Malone swings at an offering from Fort Ann pitcher Molly Bailey during a NYSPHSAA Class D regional softball game Tuesday at Moreau Rec. The Panthers fell, 2-0. (P-R Photo/Ryan Hayner)

Panthers fall short against Cards


MOREAU — Fort Ann pitcher Molly Bailey kept Crown Point off-balance and scoreless through six sterling innings Tuesday.

Down 2-0, the Panthers finally put together a threat that added some late-game drama to the NYSPHSAA Class D softball regional final at Moreau Recreational Park.

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Alex Macey and Brittany Foote singled to lead off the top of the seventh inning and advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Hunter Spaulding. Logan Harrington hit a flare in front of Fort Ann shortstop Kayla Bancroft, who fired home in time to nail Macey at the plate despite a hard collision with the catcher.

Bailey ended the threat and the game with a strikeout, sending the Cardinals to the state semifinals while ending Crown Point’s previously unblemished season.

“I got to give (Fort Ann) credit, they made some really good defensive plays and they played a good game. Their pitcher pitched good and we didn’t hit the ball like we normally do, but holding them to two runs, we were in it right to the end,” said Crown Point assistant coach Jack Harrington, who teamed with two other assistants and the school’s athletic director to lead the Panthers Tuesday.

First-year head coach Tony Macey could not attend the game after being ejected in Crown Point’s Section VII title-game win.

Fort Ann (23-0) knocked Crown Point (18-1) out of the state tournament – and ended the Panthers’ season – for the second straight year.

“You never count anyone out,” Fort Ann coach Tim Gleason said. “We’ve seen Crown Point before. We’ve won games like this, 2-0. We beat them when we won the states in 2006 – we beat them 3-2. We’ve had very, very close games with Crown Point – never take them lightly.”

Fort Ann, ranked second in the state, took advantage of two Crown Point errors for its first run and manufactured the second with small ball.

In the second inning, Kimmi Ostrander hit a two-out single and advanced to second after her hit went through the outfielder’s legs. Ostrander made it 1-0 when she stole third and made it home after the catcher’s throw went into the outfield.

Jordan Aubin drew a walk to lead off the fourth inning, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an RBI single from Ostrander.

Alex Macey, who took the loss in last year’s state regional game, was the hard-luck loser on Tuesday after limiting the Cardinals to just one earned run. She struck out three, walked three and finished 2013 with a 15-1 record.

“This season has been really great,” she said. “I wouldn’t have asked for a better season for my senior year, at least.”

Her counterpart proved to be too tough for the Panthers on Tuesday. Bailey kept fourth-ranked Crown Point off balance with a good change-up, no-hitting them through five innings before Maria Malone punched a leadoff single up the middle in the sixth.

Malone advanced to third on a one-out sacrifice bunt and an error when the throw to third was dropped. Bailey ended the threat with a ground ball to short.

Up until that inning, Crown Point’s only baserunner reached after getting hit by a pitch. Bailey finished with five strikeouts while giving up just three hits. The sophomore helped her own cause with three singles.

“She was changing her speeds, and we just weren’t hitting the ball right on the head. We were hitting the ball – pop ups, grounders,” Harrington said. “They got a real good defensive team and like I said, I can’t give my girls more credit, they played hard all year.”

NOTES: Crown Point players came through with two noteworthy defensive plays in the game. Catcher Taylor Booth threw a runner out trying to steal second in the third inning, and Spaulding, in center field, made a nice running catch in the fifth.

Fort Ann 2, Crown Point 0

Crown Point 000 000 0 — 0 3 3

Fort Ann 010 100 x — 2 9 1

A. Macey and Booth. Bailey and Goodspeed. WP- Bailey. LP- A. Macey.