SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – For the MacArthur softball team, Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Binghamton felt more like the beginning than the end.
With a strong incoming class set to join a core that will have state tournament experience, Generals coach Bobby Fehrenbach expects to have a hard time squeezing the team’s talent into just nine spots on the field.
So looking forward, after their one-run loss in the state Class AA semifinals at Moreau Park, the Generals focused on what they accomplished and the new heights they’re capable of reaching in the future.
“Getting off the Island is tough enough as it is so this is a great accomplishment,” Fehrenbach said. “The program will be pretty strong next year. The good problem is there are probably going to be some good kids that definitely can play who probably aren’t going to be seeing the field. I can only play nine. I wish I could play more. There’s just no room at the inn.”
Though there will be some vacancies with the departure of key seniors like Jessica Lombardo, Gabby DeNunzio, and Dana Kiedaisch, who played crucial roles in helping MacArthur (21-4) capture the Long Island championship.
“I wish we could have went farther, but overall we had an amazing season,” said sophomore pitcher Jess Budrewicz, who allowed six hits, two walks, and one earned run in six innings. “I just want to take care of business next year. We’re not going to give up and we’re not going to fall short.”
They came up just short Saturday due to some untimely miscues in the field that led to four errors.
Shannon Myles hit a two-run double in the top of the fourth inning to give MacArthur a 3-2 lead. With two outs in bottom of the inning, though, the tying run scored when a fly ball to left-centerfield was dropped after a miscommunication.
“None of us were used to this atmosphere and I think we got a little nervous,” said Myles, who went 1-for-2 with two walks. “Errors happen. They just happened at the wrong moment for us, sadly.”
Riley Ward doubled to lead off the sixth and came home on a sacrifice fly to give Binghamton (21-2) a 4-3 advantage.
Paige Rauch, a power pitcher bound for Fordham University, struck out 14 but also walked seven. She allowed three hits, including a base hit by DeNunzio and an RBI single by Kristen DiCicco in the third to pull MacArthur within 2-1.
“Getting to the state tournament is good on its own,” DeNunzio said. “We did better than we thought we were going to do this season.”
Which is why when the Generals left the field and began walking to the bus, they received a standing ovation.
“We really did the best we possibly could and that’s all you can ask from your team,” Myles said. “Playing in a state tournament is a situation most girls never get to see. To come back with that experience next year is going to be huge for us. This is only the beginning.”