DELMAR – The Bethlehem softball team picked up its ninth Suburban Council victory of the season in its home finale with a 3-2 win against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Friday, May 17.
The visiting Spartans took a two-run lead in the top of the second inning, but with runners on first and second base and one out, the Lady Eagles shut the door. Pitcher Anna Cleary induced a ground ball leading to 4-6 putout, and then she struck out the next batter to strand runners at first and third.
Bethlehem struck back in the bottom of the second inning. Clare Boegel led off with single to center, and Haley Nash was walked. With one out, Aurora Lagace sent a fly ball over the reach of the left fielder for a double, scoring Boegel. Cleary followed with a sacrifice fly that drove in Nash to tie the game at 2-2.
Both pitchers dominated the circle for the next three innings until the Lady Eagles broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Julia Rupinski led off and was hit by the first pitch, and proceeded to steal second. Sophia DeFrancesco executed a perfect sacrifice bunt, moving Rupinski to third. Ashley Gillies slapped an infield single, setting up Aria Losee to drive in what turned out to be the winning run with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Spartans threatened in the sixth and seventh, putting the first two runners on base each inning. But, Cleary buckled down in the circle with the help of her defense behind her to not yield the lead. With the tying run at third and two outs in the seventh, Cleary struck out the final batter to end the game.
Cleary scattered seven hits and struck out six to pick up the complete-game victory for Bethlehem, which is guaranteed a Section 2 Class AA playoff berth by posting a winning Suburban Council record. The Lady Eagles travel to Saratoga Springs Monday, May 20, and receive their Sectional seeding later in the week.