MOREAU -- The girls of the Ichabod Crane’s softball team are warriors. They fight till the end, hustle on every play and never quit. This was on display in Saturday's Class B state semifinal game against Ardsley at Moreau Rec.
It came down to the final out of the game, bottom of the seventh, bases loaded and Ichabod Crane was down, 6-3. A game which started with a strong, two-run lead for the Riders was now a battle to come back in order to clinch a spot in the Class B state championship game.
Brittany Futia stepped up to bat and ripped a fast ball into left field, driving in the runners on second and third. Gabbie Cox, who was on first base, sprinted toward third and aggressively slid into the bag. But, thanks to an accurate throw, the tag was made by Ardsley’s third baseman, Gianna Musca, for the final out of the game.
The 2018 state champs fell 6-5 in seven innings of quality softball. It was a tough loss, but the Riders left everything on the field. They fought, tooth and nail right up to the final out.
After Ichabod Crane jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run single by Jenna Downey, Ardsley was able to fight back with a run in the third on a Taylor Macri solo home run.
The Riders got the run back in the bottom of the third on a solo bomb off the bat of Laney Altomer and took a 3-1 lead into the sixth. That's when Ardsley took advantage of four walks, an error a two-run double by Sami Blackman and a run-scoring single by Lauren Rende to build a 6-3 lead.
The Riders displayed the heart of a champion with a furious comeback in the seventh, but fell just short.
“I can’t ask for more from them,” Ichabod Crane head coach, Tracy Nytransky said. “We came back, we had a chance to tie it. We did everything we needed to do. It just didn’t happen for us.”
Every ICC player left it on the field, especially the sophomore and star pitcher for the Riders, Isabella Milazzo. Milazzo had an absolute dominant season. Prior to Saturday, she had only allowed seven earned runs the entire season.
Milazzo pitched all seven innings, throwing 129 pitches. She had 12 strike outs, walked seven and gave up six hits and six runs including a home run.
“She did a great job and I couldn’t ask more from her [Milazzo],” Nytransky said, “She got squeezed a little bit today, making her throw a little more down the middle and that made it tough for her.”
Nytransky was proud of her young pitcher and the gumption she had. Nytranksy believes that Milazzo has a bright future ahead of with the Riders softball program.
“I told her this, be ready to come back next year," Nytransky said.
Gabby Krumper earned her 54th career victory for Ardsley , striking out two and allowing eight hits and five runs.
“We really battled back in that last inning, it was tough and it was close,” senior, second baseman, Brittany Futia said. “I’m really proud of us, we didn’t get down. As tough as the game was, as much as we wanted to win.”
Though it was a tough loss for the Riders, both coach and the players have positive expectations for the future.
“I’m thinking good things," Nytransky said. "I know we are losing five good seniors who are have been here a lot, but with the way we played this season and getting some new kids next year, I think we can keep this rolling.”
The Riders have been Section II champions four of the last five years and won two state championships in 2015 and 2018. They finish the season with a 23-2 record
There are five graduating seniors on the Riders team: Gabbie Cox, Jenna Downey, Kayla Walsh, Brittany Futia and Kylie Rivers.
“I’m so thankful to have played this last game with this whole group of girls,” Futia said. “Everyone on this team is amazing and I can’t really ask for anything more from my teammates. We left it all out there.”