It has only been four years since the Pawling/Dover youth softball program had such a successful season. It’s just that this current group of players were barely old enough to understand what softball is.
That’s why their Thursday night celebration was so exuberant, with the girl group cheering and jumping for joy after the final as they earned the right to continue a brilliant season.
Callie Tuthill’s two-run triple scored a rally in the fourth set that erased a deficit and saw Pawling/Dover earn an eventual 6-4 win over Wappingers Town to win the District 17 Underage Championship at Murrow Park in Pawling.
“The game itself was a battle, so we were very happy to come back and win,” said coach Mike Cole, “and the girls worked hard to get there. is a great accomplishment for them.”
The 10-and-under team advances to the sectional round, which is the farthest it has gone since 2018, when the team lost in the state championship game. They will host the District 15 champion this week, from the area just south of Albany.
Pawling/Dover is an all-star combo team of girls ages 8-10 from two small towns about 10 miles apart in eastern Dutchess County. The roster of 12, Cole said, was only made possible through the merger, as none of the communities had enough registered players to field a team on their own.
“There’s pride in that,” the coach said. “The girls get along well and have had no problem building chemistry, and the parents are working together and making it a tight-knit softball community. It’s great to see.”
So did the performance in the district title match, of course.
Ava Cole and Alisa Maselli combined to pitch six innings, allowing one earned run with four walks and 13 strikeouts. Ava Cole also tied three walks, stole four bases and scored two goals. Ally Cole had three stolen bases and a run.
Wappingers held a 4-3 lead late in the fourth inning when Ally Cole and Kelsey Harmelink reached base. Tuthill led them with a two-out triple that put Pawling/Dover in front. She then scored on a passed ball.
Daniella Drake scored a run and “great on the court”, helping turn a double play in the final set that secured the victory.
“They’ve got a great squad and they’re well trained,” Cole said of Wappingers. “We weren’t the underdogs in this game, but I like playing against teams from bigger regions. That’s how you improve.”
Stephen Haynes: [email protected]; 845-437-4826; Twitter: @StephenHaynes4