The Shenendehowa softball team wanted to make the most of its first trip to the state finals in four years.
Unfortunately for the Plainswomen, they couldn't get the key hit they needed in the final two innings and lost to Long Beach 1-0 in Saturday's state class AA championship game in Binghamton.
Shen (24-2) threatened to tie the game in the sixth and seventh innings by getting runners to third base, but Long Beach pitcher Melissa Donnelly worked out of the jams to deny the Plainswomen their second state title.
We actually put two good balls in play. They just didn't find the holes, said Shen coach Dan D'Amboise.
Shen pitcher Angie Sagnelli scattered five hits in a complete-game performance. The lone run she allowed was in the top of the fourth when Donnelly doubled and scored on a fielder's choice.
"She pitched like a state champion," D'Amboise said of Sagnelli, who also threw 4.1 no-hit innings in Shen's 5-1 semifinal victory over Binghamton. "She was showing she was a high-quality athlete."
Shen threatened to tie the game in the sixth with runners on second and third and two outs, but Sagnelli grounded into the final out. Amanda Ferro gave the Plainswomen some life in the seventh when she singled and reached third when the ball got by right fielder Victoria Guma, but Ashley D'Agostino flied out to end the game.
It was the 12th game Shen was involved in that was decided by one or two runs this season. The Plainswomen were 10-1 in those games before Saturday's state final.
D'Amboise said once the team finishes basking in the glow of its trip to the state finals, the focus will shift toward next year.
"We're losing both of our pitchers (Sagnelli and K.C. Levin), as well as our top four hitters," said D'Amboise. "Fortunately, our junior varsity had a very good year, so we can look forward to some help there.""