QUEENSBURY — Section 6’s Hamburg had runners on second and third with two out in the bottom of the eighth. The decision was made by Tappan Zee coach Gene Kousoulas to intentionally walk Bridget Hogan.
The decision might have been the right one, but the execution was not.
Tappan Zee pitcher Paulina Gutkin’s third pitch was a little to close to the plate. Catcher Kelly Connolly could only watch helplessly as Hogan laced it into right field to score Maddie Tucker from third base and give the Bulldogs a 1-0 win in the Class A state semifinals Saturday at the Adirondack Sports Complex.
“The umpire had made an adjustment right before that pitch and told (Connolly) not to step out too early,” Kousoulas. “Kelly delayed and Paulina saw her still inside and it distracted her enough not to throw the ball outside.
“I call it a perfect storm. We knew it was coming. It just didn’t happen for us.”
That run snapped Gutkin’s 36-inning scoreless streak dating back to the first game of the sectionals.
“I should’ve thrown hard and out,” Gutkin said. “There’s no excuse for what I threw her. I just wish it ended differently.”
Gutkin allowed one earned run, seven hits, and two walks. She struck out eight.
Prior to the eighth, Gutkin allowed just one runner in scoring position.
Hogan hurt the Dutchies just as much with her arm as with her bat. She hurled a four-hitter, struck out 12 and walked just one for the Bulldogs (17-5), who were making their second straight appearance in the state semifinals.
Hamburg went on to defeat defending champ Sayville (Section 11) 5-3 for the state championship.
The best chance for the Dutchies (20-5) came in the top of the eighth.
“One timely hit here or there. Runner on third the inning before and just couldn’t get it done,” Kousoulas said. “It never seemed to pan out the way we hoped. No bigger hit than the one that Cassie Leone hit to start us off. She put us in a spot to do it again.”
Cassie Leone fouled a ball off of her left shin and then ripped a double to left field. Jill Lynch sacrificed Leone over to third but the Dutchies couldn’t drive in the run.
“As soon as I hit it, I thought I was in a dream,” Leone said. “Jill moved me over. I was sitting on third. We tried our best with everything. We gave that game our all.”
Meagan Trozzo was the only other Dutchie to get into scoring position. She ripped a double down the left field line in the sixth.
Nicole Spigelberg and Kaitlin Quirk had the other hits for Tappan Zee.