Hudson Valley Takes Two Out Of Three To Keep Hope Alive

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 210-4161

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, May 17, 2002

Wins Keep Lady Vikings In The Running For A National Title, Guarantee That Hudson Valley Will Finish No Lower Than Fourth In The Country

Joliet, Illinois, May 17, 2002 – Hudson Valley Community College's softball team (34-8) played three games today in the 2002 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III championship tournament. Playing in Joliet, Illinois, where rainouts on Thursday forced a packed schedule today, the Lady Vikings won two out of three games to keep their chances of winning a national title alive.

At 9 a.m., Hudson Valley lost to Montana's Dawson Community College, 8-0. Then, in a 1 p.m. game against Nassau Community College, the Lady Vikings pounded the ball for an 18-5 victory. Finally, in a 5 p.m. contest, Hudson Valley rode Kelly Scott's (Schuylerville H.S.) right arm to an 8-0 win over Minnesota's Rochester Technical and Community College. That victory propelled the Lady Vikings into the "Final Four" of the national championship tournament.

Scott and Christyn Hamel (Averill Park H.S.) were Hudson Valley's stars on the day. Scott went the distance in the nightcap, shutting down Rochester with a one-hitter and Hamel had a seven-hit day.

Against Dawson, Lindsey Bradt (Bishop Maginn H.S.) and Jill Fox (Bishop Maginn H.S.) had Hudson Valley's only two hits.

"We ran into a buzz saw," said Chuck Sosnowski, Hudson Valley's coach. "I'm still confident that we're one of the top four teams out here -- Dawson just hit the ball well. We'll be OK, though. We'll bounce back."

The Lady Vikings, competing in the national championship tourney for the first time in Hudson Valley's history, certainly did bounce back against Nassau. On the strength of a seven-run second inning, in which Hudson Valley sent 10 batters to the plate, the Lady Vikings accumulated 17 hits in a game that was shortened to five innings by an eight-run mercy rule.

Trailing 3-2 at the start of the second frame, centerfielder Kiah Narotski (Hoosick Falls H.S.) led off with a single. Hudson Valley followed with five more hits in the inning, including Fox's game-winning two-run single. Casey Brinkman (Troy H.S.), who also had an inside-the-park home run against Nassau, scored the sixth and deciding run, racing home on Fox's hit.

Bradt and Hamel each had four hits on the game. Bradt also scored four times while Hamel scored twice. Hamel, a First Team All-Region III player, went the distance on the mound, picking up her 14th victory and striking out three batters.

"That's the way we're capable of playing," Sosnowski said. "We hit the ball really well, and we're still in this tournament. We came out here to win games."

Scott kept Rochester off the base paths in Hudson Valley's third game of the day, striking out six batters to record her 10th win of the season.

"Kelly Scott threw a gem," Sosnowski said. "That's the best game I've seen her throw in her two years at Hudson Valley."

The Lady Vikings supported Scott with 12 hits and Kim Welcome (Cohoes H.S.) plated Narotski with a single (one of two she had in the game) in the bottom of the fifth to put Hudson Valley ahead, 8-0, giving the Troy college another mercy-rule victory.

Hamel had three hits, including a double, and three runs batted in against Rochester. Catcher Sarah Truax (Shenendehowa H.S.) contributed a pair of hits.

The Lady Vikings, who play next at 10 a.m. on Saturday, in a rematch against Dawson Community College, can finish no worse than fourth now, and they are still in contention to win the national title. The "Final Four" teams are: Hudson Valley; Dawson; College of DuPage(Illinois); and Brookdale Community College of New Jersey.

While one loss on Saturday would end Hudson Valley's season, four consecutive wins on Saturday would give the school its first national softball crown. Should Hudson Valley win its 10 a.m. game, the Lady Vikings would then play again at noon. Additional games, provided Hudson Valley continues to win, are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

"We've got a shot," Sosnowski said. "We're playing with a lot of momentum right now. My players are excited to see what they can do."