Heartbreaking loss ends PB softball season

By Mike Zummo
Posted 6/5/24

Pine Bush’s Avery Ogden matched zeroes with North Rockland’s Tara Murphy for eight innings.

However, the Raiders broke through in the ninth inning, scoring the game’s lone run, …

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Heartbreaking loss ends PB softball season


Pine Bush’s Avery Ogden matched zeroes with North Rockland’s Tara Murphy for eight innings.

However, the Raiders broke through in the ninth inning, scoring the game’s lone run, and ending the Bushmen’s season with a 1-0 win in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association subregional on May 28 at Monroe-Woodbury High School in Central Valley.

“Our defense showed up and our pitching showed up,” Pine Bush coach Scott VanPelt said. “Our bats didn’t show up until late. North Rockland’s a good team. This isn’t the first time they’ve been in this situation. With Pine Bush, we’re looking to create a dynasty just like that.”

North Rockland has won all three Section 1 championships since the state tournament resumed in 2022 after the COVID-19 pandemic. They lost their subregional contest to the Monroe-Woodbury Crusaders in 2022, before advancing to the state Final Four last season before bowing out to state runner-up Shenendehowa of Section 2.

The Bushmen, meanwhile, last won a Section 9 championship in 2013.

After rebounding from three straight losses to Newburgh Free Academy to win their first championship in over a decade, the Bushmen were not intimidated by the Raiders who came into the tournament with a 17-1 record.

“We worked hard for the season,” VanPelt said. “Games didn’t go the way we wanted during the regular season, but we’re here. My pitcher threw a hell of a game.”

Ogden limited the Raiders to five hits and one run in six innings. She walked one and struck out six batters.
“Her changeup was phenomenal,” VanPelt said. “It was like she was pulling the string on that. They were dumbfounded. Her rise was working. Her offspeed was there and her junk balls were right where they needed to be. It kept their batters off balance. That’s a good hitting team.”

The Raiders broke through in the ninth inning when Murphy helped herself by leading off with a single off the glove off Pine Bush shortstop Autumn Gove’s glove. Then Emily Murphy reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt. Megan Burns did get the sacrifice bunt down and then put runners on second and third with one out.

Next, Ashley Begbie grounded to shortstop, and Gove threw her out at first base. Pine Bush first baseman Emma Boffalo threw out Emily Murphy trying to take third on the throw for the third out. However, Tara Murphy brought the run across the plate before the out, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead.

The Bushmen gave themselves an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth when Natalie Longobardo doubled with one out. After Silvana Zamonsky struck out for the second out, Longobardo stole third base and Kayla Gorman drew a walk.

However, Ogden grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

“Pine Bush showed a lot of heart,” VanPelt said.

The Bushmen also gained a lot of experience, going through the trials and tribulations of the regular season. The Bushmen posted a 5-7 record in the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division I but qualified for Section 9 play by virtue of a 10-9 regular season record as the fourth seed.

From there they beat the top-seeded Middletown Middies and the third-seeded Newburgh Free Academy Goldbacks to win the Section 9 Class AAA championship. Now that they got here, the Bushmen will look to improve on it next year.

“We didn’t come this far only to come this far,” VanPelt said.