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Valhalla Softball Ready for State Playoffs

When the Valhalla softball team takes the field at noon Tuesday for the New York State Class B regional semifinal, it won’t be surprised to see its opponent.

The Section 1 champions will face Rhinebeck of Section 9 in the game, which will be played at Bellport Martha Avenue Field in Brookhaven, L.I.

Valhalla is very familiar with Rhinebeck, having lost to the Section 9 champs the previous two years in a Class C regional. A win would send Valhalla to the regional final at 2:30 p.m. against the winner of the Carle Place (Section 8) and Babylon (Section 11) matchup

“We’re hoping the third time is the charm for us,” Valhalla coach John Hayes said. “The last two years I think we celebrated after winning the section and looked at anything after that as gravy. The girls are focused on moving forward. The seniors have made it a goal to go farther than we have in the past.”

Valhalla added its third consecutive sectional title, and first in Class B, with a 3-1 win over Rye Neck. Valhalla scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning on a Jennie Schwartz two-run single for the team’s 14 win in-a-row.

Valhalla’s last loss was a 4-3 verdict against Westlake.

“We had taken a trip to Disney World for spring training,” Hayes said. “We played some scrimmages and it was a great bonding experience. In the Westlake game we felt we were a little flat. After that game it lit a fire under them.”

Valhalla began reeling off wins, which Hayes also attributed to other factors.

“The leadership from the seniors was excellent, helping the younger players through this and our experience the last couple of years certainly paid off,” Hayes said. “This has been a collective effort.”

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