Prior to the section final against North Rockland, the only team to defeat the Clarkstown South (25-1) this season, Vikings coach Maura Heebink had laminated strips of paper made up for the girls with “BAU” typed in gold font to match the school colors. The veteran coach told the girls to keep it in their back pockets as a constant reminder of their team motto, “Business as usual.”
Since the May 30 section final, the Vikings have run over the Red Raiders, Kingston and Maine-Endwell en route to a berth in Saturday’s Class AA state semifinals, outscoring them by a combined 13-2.
“(Opponents) may think that we’re just taking (the game) lightly, that we don’t think enough of them,” Heebink explains. “That’s not it at all. What it is is, we need to stay focused for every single team. Every single game is important.”
Class AA state semifinal
Clarkstown South (25-1) vs. Section 6’s Orchard Park (17-6)
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Moreau State Park, Field D.
Players to watch: Clarkstown South — Karly Fishkin, Sr., SS; Sara Herskowitz, Jr., C; Briana Keaveney, Sr., P; Nicole Ritsick, Sr., 1B. Orchard Park — Sarah Kubik, Sr., 1B/OF; Molly Hennessey, Sr., P; Katie Weimer, Sr., C/OF/IF.
Outlook: Hennessey is a contact pitcher (118 strikeouts in 107.2 innings), which should work to Clarkstown South’s advantage. The Vikings’ balanced lineup is going to score runs, so it’s up to Keaveney to keep the Quakers (21 team homers) at bay. Orchard Park has lost five of its games away from home, which only benefits the Vikings more.
Up next: The winner will play the Liverpool (Section 3) vs. Eastport-South Manor (Section 11) winner in the state championship game at 5:30 p.m. on Field B.