HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Amassing double digits runs for the 15th time this season and three times against Hudson Valley Community College, the Herkimer Generals softball team’s quest for a second consecutive national championship started Tuesday, defeating the Vikings 16-1 in an NJCAA DIII Region III Semifinal.
Herkimer 28-5 (10-1) came out swinging like they’ve all season, accumulating 14 hits in four innings of play. Sophomore Tina Karaqi (Thornwood, NY) got the Generals on the board in the first inning, lacing a double to left-center, scoring teammates Ashley Sterritt (Accord, NY) and Sammy Smaldone (Delmar, NY) who reached base via a double and a walk. Karaqi finished the game 2-for-2 at the plate, with two doubles and a game-high three RBIs. Two batters later, Herkimer native Kathryn Dolly plated two more runs to give the Generals a 4-0 lead. Dolly finished the game 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
The second inning saw ace Toni Secreti (Syracuse, NY) start to settle in, retiring six straight batters through the third inning. It build her confidence after a leadoff single to start the game, throwing her 16th complete game of the season, only allowing one run on three hits.
Herkimer scored five runs in the second and third innings on contributions from Sterritt, Smaldone, Karaqi, Rebekah Kitchern (Delmar, NY) and Alyssa Balfe (Oriskany, NY). Kitchen had the big blow, hitting her fourth home run of the season, giving the General at that time a 9-0 lead, helping the sophomore finish the game 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Sterritt finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs, Smaldone finished 2-for-3 with one RBI and Balfe finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Hudson Valley managed to score in the fourth, down 14-0 when Coyne singled to score Miller who began the inning with a double.
Helping the Generals score their final two runs in the fourth were Alyssa LaLonde (Johnstown, NY) and Kayla Bancroft (Fort Ann, NY). LaLonde singled to score Gina Grant (Niskayuna, NY) and Bancroft’s infield hit scored Alexis Capasso (Gloversville, NY) from third base, making it 16-1.
The Generals next game is Friday (5/9) at Tompkins-Cortland Community College, the host for this year’s Region III DIII Championship. Herkimer will face Onondaga Community College, who defeated Jefferson 8-2 in their semifinal matchup. Both teams just played each other one day ago, with Herkimer winning both games of a doubleheader 3-1 and 5-2.