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May 8, 2010

 

Red Dragons closing in

3rd straight shutout has Cortland playing for title

Softball

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland’s Brooke Weidman knocks a single into the outfield in the top of the third inning against Geneseo Friday. The Red Dragons blanked both Geneseo and Plattsburgh in the SUNYAC playoffs yesterday.

One win away.
That is where SUNY Cortland stands in its quest for a conference softball playoff title after grabbing two more shutout victories in this double-elimination tournament that hopes to crown a champion this weekend if Mother Nature cooperates.
The top-seeded Red Dragons finished up the second day of tournament play on Friday with an 8-0 victory over Plattsburgh in a five-inning affair shorted by the conference’s eight-run rule. It was the third consecutive shutout of the playoffs for Coach Julie Lenhart’s 37-6 squad that is ranked seventh nationally in Division III and riding an 11-game unbeaten streak.
The Red Dragons are scheduled to play in today’s championship round game at 1:30 p.m., to face the winner of the 11 a.m. elimination contest between Brockport (32-11) and Plattsburgh (24-15).
Plattsburgh and Brockport both defeated Oneonta on Friday, with the Cardinals winning 7-4 and the Golden Eagles victorious 5-2. If Cortland loses today, a final game will be played Sunday at noon at Dragon Field.
The weekend winner earns an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament, Cortland out to return to the World Series for a second consecutive season.
Cortland senior pitcher Katie Finch shut out New Paltz 6-0 to get the playoffs underway Thursday, blanked Genseo 3-0 in the opening contest Friday and then handled Plattsburgh hitters with fifth inning assistance from Lyndsay Rowell.
Against Plattsburgh, Finch (24-2) gave up only two hits and a walk and struck out eight before Rowell came on to pitch a perfect fifth frame. Donnalyn Cross hit a two-run homer in the Red Dragons — the first roundtripper of the season for the junior out of Chenango Valley.
Emily Ringen went 3-for-3 with an RBI and sophomore Lorraine Stoddard was 2-for-2 and drove in three runs to spark a nine-hit Cortland attack. Jessica Harman finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Ringen hit an RBI single in the first and Stoddard’s infield single drove in a run. Harman also scored on the play when raced home from third and caught a Plattsburgh infielder off guard.
In the third, Stoddard singled with the bases loaded to drive in two runs and Katie Fusco hit a sacrifice fly. Cross completed the scoring with her two-run shot in the fourth.
Danielle Gjergji doubled and Amy Woo singled for the only Plattsburgh base hits.
EARLIER IN THE DAY —
Cortland 3, Geneseo 0: Katie Finch tossed a four-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and no walks to eliminate Geneseo (25-17). Cross tied her own school single-season record with her 13th triple of the spring to lead off the game, scoring the game’s first run.
Plattsburgh 7, Oneonta 4: Erin Florkiewicz smacked a two-run homer to right field and Erin Jamieson blasted a three-run shot over the fence in left to power the Plattsburgh victory. Jamieson finished the game with three hits for the Cardinals.
Freshman pitcher Ashley Marshall (18-5) scattered nine hits and allowed only one earned run for the win. She walked one and struck out seven.
Jillian Serraro went 4-for-4 with an RBI for the Red Dragons from Oneonta, who led 2-0 in the first inning before Plattsburgh scored twice in the top of the second.
Brockport 5, Oneonta 2: Senior Ona Halladay was 3-for-3, scored twice and drove in two runs for the Golden Eagles. Brockport took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run homer by Halladay to left field, coming after Jenna Yates reached on a single.
Oneonta (21-17) tied the game with a run in the second and the third, but Brockport answered with a three-run home run by senior Kim Gabor in the bottom of the third.
Yates finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Stephanie Geer earned the win as she allowed two runs on six hits with two strikeouts in five innings, Kelly Briscoe coming on to hold Oneonta scoreless over the final two frames.