Kaitlyn Fudge was a bit nervous heading into Thursday night’s 9-10 softball all-star Section 4 championship game, but somewhere between striking out the first seven batters she faced and pitching a complete game no-hitter to earn the victory she managed to calm down.
“After the second inning I felt relaxed,” Fudge said. “I got used to it and knew I could do it.”
Fudge struck out 13 batters, while walking two in an 8-0 win Thursday night for the New City-Suffern-Congers 9-10 all-star team. Due to a small number of players in the 9-10 age division in the New City, Suffern and Congers Little Leagues this year, teams from the three leagues played during the regular season and players from all three leagues were allowed to tryout for the joint all-star team (NCSC).
With the win Thursday night at Lake Nanuet against Wappingers Falls, NCSC wins the Section 4 tournament and heads to Syracuse for the state tournament, which starts July 18.
Fudge didn’t give up a run in the three games she pitched for NCSC during the section tournament, but NCSC Head Coach Tom Keaveney thought Thursday night was Fudge's best start so far.
“The kid grew up tonight,” he said. “She became a different pitcher, a better pitcher. She put the team on her back and went right at them. It didn’t matter what kind of batter she was facing. She went right at them.”
The win also gives NCSC a perfect run through the section tournament. Earlier in the summer, NCSC went undefeated in the District 18 tournament as well.
“It’s fun,” Fudge said. “There are lots of girls, it’s really exciting to play in all these tournaments and we all cheer and sing a lot. We practice a lot to get to this point.”
Fudge reached base four times Thursday night against Wappingers Falls, scoring once. Seven different players scored for NCSC, and Kristen Tarantino scored twice in the win. NCSC scored one run in the first inning, three in the third and doubled their total with four additional runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to some timely hitting and shaky defense.
With Tarantino on second, Jenna Davida rocketed a ball to the left side that got by the shortstop, scoring Tarantino. The throw home from left field was late, and allowed Davida to get to third. The throw down to third went into left, and Davida ended up scoring.
Sasha Goldstein walked and came around to score on a single to left by Abbey Zaslav. Julianna Diaz scored on a passed ball.
While throughout the game, the girls sing different songs from the dugout to cheer on their teammates, they were focused on one particular song while they were celebrating on the field after the win. The lyrics were written by Diaz herself and went “We feel special, we feel great, we are going to... the states.”
But in order to win the states, it was Fudge who offered the clearest way to bring the title back to Rockland.
“We just have to practice,” she said. “A lot.”