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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Howlan’s Game-Winning Single Leads Schalmont to Section 2 Softball Victory Over Niskayuna

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ROTTERDAM — Brooke‍ Howlan, a Schalmont pitcher, is not just known ⁢for her pitching skills, but also for her ability to⁢ hit. When she ⁤got the outside pitch she was waiting for, she made sure to make the most of it.

In a thrilling season-opening softball game, the Sabres’ sophomore went the opposite way ⁣with a run-scoring single ‍in the bottom of the seventh inning, leading Schalmont to a 2-1 victory over Niskayuna on ​Monday. This non-league game marked the start of the season for the Schenectady County teams.

Howlan showcased ‌her pitching prowess by sending the last seven Niskauyuna batters down in order as part of her two-hit pitching effort. The young Schalmont team, with contributions from its entire lineup, managed to outplay the Silver Warriors.

“A walk-off win like this is a great way ⁢to kick off the season,” said Steve Kowalczyk, the third-year Schalmont coach. “This victory is particularly significant ‌for us as we have six‌ middle ⁣schoolers on the team who are all playing.”

Eighth-graders Layla Williams and Caitlyn Alderdice hit⁤ back-to-back singles in⁤ the third inning. ⁤Alderdice scored Schalmont’s first run on a wild ⁣pitch, while ninth-grader Ava Papienuk singled ⁣and scored the game-winner after Howlan’s liner to right field.

Freshman Mia Rafferty had two singles,‌ and seven ⁤other Sabres collected a single off Niskayuna pitcher Anna Joyce.

“At the start of the season our veterans were a little apprehensive,” said Kowalczyk, whose team has only three seniors in Maggie Raymond, Marissa Phillips and currently injured Alana Judeikis. “Once our younger girls got on the field, they saw that they could‍ play. We played South Jerfferson in two scrimmages and beat them both times, and we had another good scrimmage with Mohonasen.”

“I had high expectations,” Howlan said ⁢of Schalmont’s young cast. “They’re really fun to have on the team, and they’re good players.”

Howlan was good on the hill and at the plate, where she became the eighth Sabres to single when ‍she brought Papienuk home on a 1-1 offering from Joyce. Papienuk had reached on a one-out infield single and stole second before Howlan ⁤delivered.

“It was a curve, a little outside,” Howlan said. “I saw ⁣the‍ pitch ‌before, so ‌I moved right to the line [in the batter’s box] to make sure I could get to⁣ the outside pitch.”

Howlan struck out six and walked one, and was backed by a flawless defense that factored into five one-two-three innings⁢ by the sophomore right-hander.

“Everyone was ready and on their toes,” Howlan said. They all did a really‍ good job of ‍covering​ the area where they were supposed to be and rotating.”

“Brooke was hitting her spots. She was hitting ⁢her off-speed pitch. She kept ​them off balance,” ‍Kowalczyk said. ⁢“We got a huge pitching performance, and a huge performance in the field to back her up. We didn’t make ⁣any errors.”

“I think everyone is a little⁤ more confident after this one, ‍and hopefully it will lead to big things,” Howlan said.

Schalmont went 16-6 in‌ its first season under coach Kowalczyk and 14-6 last year.

“We graduated seven seniors. We’ve got three this year, although one will be out until May,” Kowalczyk said. “Even though we’re young, ⁢we’ve got girls who can play, and we want to keep it going.”

Clare Brown led off the Niskayuna third with a single, stole second, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a one-out groundout by⁢ Madelyn Aldous. Isabel Neugabauer had another Niskayuna single in the fifth inning.

Joyce⁣ struck out seven and walked two. She escaped a one-out, bases-loaded threat‌ in the Schalmont fourth with a forceout ⁤at home and a strikeout. Aldous made that throw home in the fourth ⁤inning, and the second baseman also ⁤snagged a hot grounder and threw to first to end a two-on threat in the sixth inning.

“They ⁣didn’t ⁢give up. I’d rather lose 2-1⁣ than 12-1 and have no one trying,”⁣ Niskayuna coach Ashley Shean said. “They kept fighting.”

Niskayuna 001 000 0 — ​0 2 2

Schalmont 001 ‍000 1 — 1 9 0

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Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan, an informed and passionate sports reporter, is a former college athlete with a degree in Sports Communication from Ithaca College. Go Bombers!
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