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Hamilton eyes return to states

By MIKE LEVIN

HAMILTON, N.Y. (WKTV) - For the second straight season, the Hamilton softball team won a section title and is setting their sights at another run at states.  The Lady Emerald Knights beat Alex Bay 6-2 Saturday in the Section III Class D title game, the eighth section title for Hamilton, sixth under head coach Bill Dowsland.

Hamilton spent most of the season as the top ranked Class D team in the state, dropping to second when NY Mills dealt the Lady Knights their only loss of the season.

"They've worked extremely hard and had a lot of fun doing it," says Dowsland.  "They're a really close group that really gets along, our chemistry's awesome.  And I think that's had a big difference in our success."

Last season the Lady Knights made it to the state final four, but fell short of their goal: winning a state title.  The team lost a core group of seniors from that team, but had a host of young talent who stepped right into leadership roles.  And they're hungry to get back to Queensbury.

"I definitely feel the unfinished business," says junior catcher Kelby Watkins.  "Last year to come that close and know that you are that close to winning a state championship, to know that you have such a good chance at it this year, it's definitely unfinished business and I'm really excited."

But the Emerald Knights aren't getting ahead of themselves.  To even get to states, they need to first defeat Section X champ Heuvelton, Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. from SUNY Potsdam.  But if they do win that game, the team would get back to Queensbury for Saturday's semifinals.

"I would absolutely love to win a state championship with these girls," says junior first baseman Kendall Rusch.  "I can't even stop smiling just saying a state championship.  I know we have the potential and if everyone just plays to their ability 100%, I would just love that feeling.  I don't know what it would feel like, but I would, I'm speechless right now."

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