The Babylon softball players knew they had talent at a young age. And they weren’t afraid to show it off.
In sixth grade, the junior class, which features players such as Molly Cummings, Julia Vella, Allie Stanya, Grace Malley, Emily Bell, Amy Baldwin and Erin Baldwin, invited their sixth-grade math teacher — and varsity softball coach — Rick Punzone to a practice.
“I guess that’s when it all started,” Cummings said.
Where it finishes remains to be seen. But the next destination will be South Glens Falls to play in the state semifinals after Babylon beat Marlboro, 16-0, in the Class B regional final at St. Joseph’s (LI) Saturday.
Babylon (24-0) will play Depew (Buffalo) June 10 at 1:30 p.m. as the Panthers play in their first state semifinal since 2003, Punzone said.
“That’s what’s so special,” Punzone said, “because they told me in sixth grade, ‘We’re going to go to the states one day.’ ”
Babylon wasted little time showing off its potent offense — scoring four runs in the first inning with a trio of doubles, featuring Gwen Donaldson’s double to drive in Vella, Bell’s two-run double to drive in Stanya and Donaldson and Danielle Donaldson’s double to drive in Bell.
Eight of the nine Babylon starters either scored or had an RBI, led by Danielle Donaldson’s 3-for-3 performance with two runs and three RBIs. Bell added two runs and three RBIs and Cummings scored twice and had two RBIs.
“Just about everyone hit, so to see that is great,” said Gwen Donaldson, the team’s lone senior, who went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs. “If we could continue that, it would be awesome.”
“It’s really special,” said Stanya, who tossed a one-hitter with one walk and 14 strikeouts and went 2-for-3 with three runs. “We’ve never made it this far so it’s just really great that we’ve accomplished this.”
The players and coaches flash back to a practice before any of the current core donned a varsity jersey. But they had the thought, and the dream. And even as sixth graders, Punzone was there with them.
“He said, ‘I knew from the day I saw you guys that one day, you guys were going to be a state-qualifying team,” Cummings said Punzone told the team Saturday. “And he was right.”