If the Colonie softball team wins the Suburban Council South Division title this year, then Monday's 5-2 victory over Bethlehem will be a pivotal moment.
Catcher Jess Reinhardt drove in three runs on two sacrifice flies and an RBI single to help the Lady Raiders gain an early advantage in the battle for first place against the Lady Eagles.
I'm very happy to get a win early, said Colonie coach Chris Robilotti.
The key to the game was what both teams did when they had a chance to break the game open. Bethlehem (0-1 league, 1-1 overall) had the bases loaded twice against Colonie (1-0, 3-0), but couldn't score a run in either circumstance, while the Lady Raiders converted on two of their three bases-loaded opportunities.
"We just didn't get the clutch hits," said Bethlehem coach Karen Gentile. "We had the bases loaded twice, and we couldn't push across a run."
The fifth inning epitomized the game's theme. With the score tied at 2, Bethlehem loaded the bases with no outs in the top half of the inning, but Colonie pitcher Jami Cordell got out of it by catching designated hitter Kat Rice's line drive and doubling off seconds baseman Megan Crucetti on a close play at third base. Cordell then struck out Bethlehem pitcher Toni Edwards to end the inning.
"I'm not trying to put the blame on any umpire, but there was a close play on a double play ball," said Gentile.
"I couldn't really tell, either," said Robilotti. "It was a great heads-up play by Jami, though."
Cordell led off the bottom of the fifth with a double. Left fielder Allison Mullen then reached second when Bethlehem failed to get Cordell out at third on a fielder's choice. A walk to center fielder Natalie Triano loaded the bases with no one out.