By Eric Deemer
ONEONTA — There’s a first time for everything.
Aggressive baserunning and an eight-hit attack led Gilboa to its first Delaware League softball championship as the Wildcats topped Windham, 7-1, on Thursday at Ted Christman Field in Neahwa Park.
“In 14 years as a coach, this is my first league title,” Gilboa coach Dan McGlynn said. “I couldn’t be more happy.”
Upper Delaware Division champion Windham struck first, though, as Hannah Exum and Samantha Simpfenderfer opened the first inning with back-to-back doubles for a 1-0 lead.
Winning pitcher Allison McGuire settled in thereafter, allowing four singles the rest of the way.
“She’s just a great athlete,” McGlynn said of McGuire, who mixed a fastball with an effective changeup to keep the Warriors off-balance after the first inning.
Gilboa took the lead for keeps with three runs in the third inning.
Losing pitcher Susannah Simpfenderfer walked Cynthia Reese, who stole second with one out. Ashleigh Jaeger then sent a high, curving flyball over the first baseman to score Reese for a 1-all tie. Jaeger then stole second on a first-pitch strike to Jana Traver, who lined a shot to left field for an RBI single and a 2-1 Gilboa lead. The trend continued with Traver stealing second to set up Shelby Oliver, who made it 3-1 with a dipping liner to right field.
“I told them to be patient and that it was OK to be nervous,” said McGlynn, who produced a run with some small ball in the fifth.
Makayla Foster reached base on a dropped pop fly to shortstop before Jaeger beat a throw to first on a sacrifice-bunt attempt. Foster then stole third and scored on another bunt, although Windham threw out Traver at first on the play.
“Our bunt defense needs to improve,” Windham coach Joel Middleton said. “We need to anticipate change and not flinch when it happens.”
Gilboa remained aggressive on the basepaths in the sixth, leading to three more runs.
Brooke Koerner drew a leadoff walk and was singled to second by Skylie Roberts. Koerner then attempted to steal third and scored when the throw from catcher Maggie Charbonneau went into the outfield.
Roberts took second on the play and scored when McGuire raced to first after a dropped third strike. Windham got the out again, but Charbonneau left the plate unguarded, allowing Roberts to score standing up.
Reese then singled, stole second and scored on a throwing error to first for the final run.
McGuire struck out three in a six-hitter. She faced four batters in the seventh, ending it with a leaping catch on Exum’s liner up the middle with a runner on first.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the the holes today,” Middleton said.