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OFA, Heuvelton win Section 10 softball crowns

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POTSDAM — Years of frustration are over finally over for MaKenzi Stevenson and the Ogdensburg Free Academy softball team.

Stevenson, a four-year starting pitcher, fired a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts to deny defending champion Canton 1-0 on Thursday, wresting the Section 10 Class B crown away from the Golden Bears.

“This means everything to us. It’s what we’ve wanted for the last four years and we finally did it,” said Stevenson, who set a Blue Devils’ record for career victories by a pitcher with 40.

“I’ve been working on my spin and trying to move the ball around and it worked out well for me today.” added the OFA standout, who afterward was presented both the NAC Central Division MVP Award and the Huffer Gebo Award, emblematic of the Section 10’s top player.

In the Class D final, Heuvelton defeated Colton-Pierrepont, 7-1.

OFA (13-4) advances to state tournament play to meet the Section 7 champion at SUNY Plattsburgh on Monday.

The winners scored the lone run in the top of the sixth inning when Stacy Barr reached on an infield error after one out, moved to second on a bloop single to left and then scored on Jocelyn Fifield’s ground ball single that just eluded Canton shortstop Katie Murray.

Things got a little dicey for OFA in the bottom of the seventh when Kara Locey lined a one-out single up the middle and a Stevenson throwing error put Canton runners on second and third. But the OFA pitcher induced an infield pop-out and then struck out the final Canton batter to end the game.

“The players have done a good job of putting it behind them when things happen like they did in that last inning,” OFA veteran coach Storm Cilley said. “The kids got over the hump today. I can’t say enough about MaKenzi. She’s great kid and she was right on today. It’s been a lot of years waiting for this.”

Canton starter Emma Rexford matched Stevenson pitch-for-pitch for most of the contest and finished with a six-hitter with six strikeouts.

“We just couldn’t get the bat on the ball enough today,” said Rexford, who had big shoes to fill after the graduation of four-year starter Kacie Wentworth, now pitching in the Division I college ranks. “Not many thought we would do well this year with the players we lost from last year and I think we did a lot better than expected.”

OFA’s Brittany Barr tripled in the first inning, but was stranded as was teammate Shannon Tooley who singled in the third. Cole finished 2-for-3 for the winners.

Canton (14-4) also received singles from Beth Pearson and Katie Christy.

CLASS D

Heuvelton 7, Colton-Pierrepont 1

In the championship game, the Heuvelton battery consisted of sophomore pitcher Alexis Widener and eighth-grade catcher Hannah Thornhill. The youngsters put a charge into Colton-Pierrepont as Widener threw a four-hitter with seven strikeouts while Thornhill went 3-for-4 that included a two-run triple in the third inning for a 3-0 lead.

“Whenever I was off a little today, Hannah brought me right back. She’s one of the best catchers around,” said Widener, whose team was superb in the field with no errors. “My defense was right there all day,” she added.

Heuvelton (16-4) will play in the quarterfinals of the Class D state tournament on Tuesday at SUNY Potsdam versus the Section 3 champion either Alexandria Bay or Hamilton, who meet Saturday in Liverpool. The Bulldogs will be looking for a repeat trip to the final four under fourth-year coach Mark Henry.

“It was our best defensive game of the year and Alexis pounded the zone, which we’ve been working on,” Henry said.

Colt starter Brianna Beaulieu also struck out seven, but allowed 10 Bulldog hits and was the victim of four errors.

“We showed today we are just a good team,” Henry said. “Colton has a good pitcher, she can change speeds and we haven’t seen a lot of that this year.”

Heuvelton pitcher-third baseman Logan Tallman, who singled once and scored four runs, was named NAC West Division MVP afterward.

Also for the Bulldogs, the lone senior in the starting lineup, Jenny Couglar, singled home two runs in the fourth, which gave the Bulldogs an insurmountable 6-0 lead.

Rachel Thornhill went 2-for-5 on the day, while Abby Williams, Alicia Larose, Abby Basford, and Alexis Sawyer all added singles.

For the Colts (16-3), Katherine Miller’s sacrifice bunt scored their lone run. Andrea Aldous, Sabrina Johnson, Kylie McKinle and Morgan Doyle all singled

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