Valhalla wins fourth straight Section 1 title
NANUET, N.Y. - Valhalla came into the Section 1 Class B finals in an unfamiliar position…the underdog.
Granted, the No. 2 seed and defending champion wasn’t exactly a long shot in the matchup against No. 1 seed Rye Neck, but with Jessica Calvini (seven innings, seven strikeouts) in the circle for the Panthers,
Valhalla had their work cut out for them.
The Vikings only managed to push two runs across against Calvini but it was enough to secure their fourth straight section title by the score of 2-1. Valhalla won consecutive titles in their final two years in Class C and has now kept the streak alive winning titles their first two years in Class B.
“It was an absolute battle, Rye Neck is an incredible program,” Valhalla coach John Hayes said. “Our two years in Class C we tried to play our schedule and compete with tough teams and we did the same thing this year. We played competition above our class and it worked out again.”
The story for the Vikings was the team’s youngsters coming through again and again in big moments. Freshman Sydni Holtz (four strikeouts) got the win for the Vikings with a complete game seven-hitter and pitched out of several tough situations along the way .
In the top of the fifth, third baseman Alyssa Lombardo led off with a walk and was lifted for freshman pinch runner and JV call-up Kristin Colabatistto. Colabatistto advanced to second base before 8th-grade right fielder Kaylie Dymek singled to right to bring home the eventual winning run.
“It felt really good, I was really happy I could step up in a big spot,” Dymek said. “I knew that they were going to come at me and the only way that I could get on is if I laid off up and that’s what I did.”
Calvini, after having tied the game in the fourth inning with a solo home run, came up again in the sixth down 2-1 and singled with one out. After a Rye Neck pop out for the second out, shortstop Nicole Pineda ripped a double down the left field line and Calvini was headed for home from the moment the bat hit the ball.
Valhalla left fielder Danielle Maffei fielded the ball at the wall and threw a strike to the cutoff in freshman shortstop Brandi Coon. Coon’s relay to home was a one-hop bullet to senior catcher Maddy DeMillo who was able to block the plate and tag out Calvini in an extremely close play at the plate to preserve the narrow 2-1 lead.
“I was watching Calvini go around the entire time and I saw Danielle Maffei get the ball,” said DeMillo, who has been a part of all four Valhalla championship teams.
“I saw her blazing in and I know Danielle has an amazing arm so I just told her to get me ball to me and let’s see what happens.”
Valhalla advances to the Class B regional semifinal where they will take on the Section 9 champion at Rhinebeck High School on Tuesday at 1:00pm.