Valhalla went into its New York State Class B regional softball game riding a 14-game winning streak and fresh off of a thrilling Section 1 title-game triumph. The Vikings had every right to feel confident. However, Valhalla would be facing an opponent it knew all to well -- Rhinebeck. The Section 9 champions had halted Valhallas state-title run in the previous two seasons. It is now three consecutive years as Rhinebeck defeated Valhalla, 3-1 at Bellport Martha Avenue Field in Brookhaven, L.I.
The game was scoreless through four innings before Rhinebeck scored a run in the fifth and added two in the seventh. Valhalla scored its run in the bottom of the seventh. Valhalla coach John Hayes said that Rhinebecks first run came on a home run and it was placed perfectly, down the right-field line. He said that gave Rhinebeck the momentum.
We only had three hits, he said. Their pitcher had, by far, the best control. She was throwing strikes on the inside corner and throwing strikes on the outside corner. She threw a riseball that was at the letters and difficult for us to get on top of. She just kept us off balance all day.
Valhalla pitcher Alex Kinnally threw well in defeat, allowing five hits and striking out seven. Hayes said it was one of her finest outings this season. Alex had a lot of pop on the ball and she was hitting the corners, Hayes said.
Valhalla scored in the seventh on Christina Miteratondas single and Kiana Olivas double. I am more than proud of this team, Hayes said. We had 17 girls on the squad, which is a new high. They all worked hard together and they competed with the best.
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