Toni Edwards leads Bethlehem softball team past Saratoga Springs

As Toni Edwards goes, so goes the Bethlehem softball team.

The sophomore pitcher tossed a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Lady Eagles to a 1-0 Suburban Council victory over Saratoga Springs last Friday.

Edwards has been one of the league's most dominant pitchers recently. She threw a no-hitter last Monday against Ballston Spa and limited South Division-leading Columbia to two hits in last Wednesday's 1-0 victory.

She's on fire, said Bethlehem coach Karen Gentile. "We did her stats today (before the Saratoga game), and she's on pace for over 200 strikeouts."

It's a far cry from the beginning of the season when Edwards' wildness led to losses against Colonie, Niskayuna and Columbia.

"I was having struggles with my control, but I went for some lessons and that helped," said Edwards.

Edwards needed to stay in control against Saratoga (8-6 league, 13-7 overall). She was locked in a pitcher's duel with Blue Streaks' ace Krista Robarge, who had a no-hitter going through the first five innings.

Bethlehem (10-4, 13-4) got its offense in gear in the top of the sixth inning, though. Megan Crucetti lined a one-out single and moved to third when Megan Burns' grounder went through the second baseman's legs for an error. Amy Halvorsen's single drove in Crucetti for what proved to be the lone run of the game.

Edwards displayed a little wildness in the bottom of the seventh inning by walking Saratoga's eighth and ninth hitters in the line-up, but she bore down and got the final two outs to pick up the victory.

"I knew this was my game. I couldn't give it up," said Edwards. "I had to get those next two batters."

Robarge allowed only those two singles and struck out seven for Saratoga, which was coming off a 7-0 loss to North Division-leading Shenendehowa last Wednesday.

Bethlehem returned to action Monday when it visited Averill Park in its second-to-last league game of the season. The Lady Eagles host Guilderland Wednesday before wrapping up their regular season with non-league games against South Glens Falls Friday and Mechanicville Saturday.

Gentile said she hopes that her Bethlehem team will build on the momentum from its wins against Columbia and Saratoga as it heads towards the Section II, Class AA playoffs, especially since the field should be wide open.

"Going into Sectionals, I feel confident in playing anyone," said Gentile.""

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