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Valhalla Softball Eying a State Softball Title

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. – It has been Valhalla’s goal the past three years – the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Softball final four. However, a major road block, in the form of Rhinebeck, obstructed the Vikings’ path.

Valhalla would not have to deal with Rhinebeck this season. Instead, the Vikings were forced to win two regional games at Rhinebeck High School in order to secure their first final-four berth.

Valhalla accomplished its goal, first with a 3-1 win over Highland (Section 9) and then an 8-6 victory over Babylon (Section 11). Valhalla will play Mynderse Academy (Section 5) in a semifinal at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Adirondack Sports Complex. The other semi has Windsor (Section 4) playing Chatham (Section 2), also at 9 a.m. The semi winners play for the state title at 2 p.m.

“It was kind of ironic that we had to go to Rhinebeck to get this done,” Valhalla coach John Hayes said. “Everyone on the team was focused and wanted to accomplish this together. Nobody wanted to go home.

“The seniors realized that this could have been their last chance and the underclassmen saw this for the seniors also.”

Even though Valhalla has at least one game and possibly a second to play, Hayes is proud of his team, especially his seniors – Maddy DeMilio, Jade Fumarelli and Danielle Maffei.

“Each group passes the torch to the next group and the next group looks to take that next step,” Hayes said. “This group has taken us past the regionals and into the final four.”

Valhalla’s opponent, Mynderse Academy, located in Seneca Falls, has also won four consecutive sectional titles and is making its first appearance in the state final four. The Section 5 champs advanced with a 13-5 win over Cleveland Hill (Section 6) in their regional final.

“This should be a very good game,” Hayes said.

After Valhalla stamped its ticket to the state final four, Hayes called Fumarelli to the front of the bus and recalled a story.

“In 2010 when the baseball team won the state title, Jade and I were at the game and we looked at each other and said, ‘Wouldn’t this be nice if we did this,’” Hayes recalled. “When we got on the bus the other day, I said to Jade, ‘Now we are in position.’”

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