MORICHES, NY — The only thing that could have stopped the Ichabod Crane Riders this season wasn’t really another team, but the Mercy Rule.
The Riders finished a perfect 25-0 season on Saturday, edging their way to the 2022 NYSPHSAA Class B Championship.
“I really didn’t expect it to go like this,” Ichabod Crane coach Tracy Nytransky said. “We’ve been here before, but [the scores were] 3-2, 2-0. I’m a little flabbergasted. I knew we could do it. I know we scored a lot of points all year, but to do that in the state tournament is unheard of.
The Riders defeated Section 4’s Chenango Valley in the Class B State Championship Game by a score of 12-0, in a shortened six inning game under Mercy Rule.
Ichabod knocked Depew out of Section 6 with another Mercy Rule victory in the state semifinals, 14-2.
The Riders actually reigned out of mercy throughout the state tournament, beating Section 7 Peru in a sub-region, 12-0, and Section 10 Canton in the regional championship, 13-1.
“None of us expected this,” said Ichabod second-year wide receiver Makayla Walsh. “We expected all of these games to be close, from the regionals. We expected really tough opponents, that if we made mistakes it would lead to points, which would cause us to lose. We are shocked to have been able to do this. It’s wild.
In their first game of the day, a semi-final against Depew, Ichabod took an early 2-0 lead, but the game would soon be tied for the third set. The Riders reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the third and broke it with a seventh-place finish in the fourth.
Kari Graziano had a mercy rule, a brace to end the game in the bottom of the fifth, as the Riders led 14-2.
Graziano and Walsh each had three hits in the game, with Graziano recording four RBIs and Walsh totaling three. Clare Knapp went 2 for 3 with a home run, a double and two RBIs. Ava Heffner went 2 for 4 with an RBI and Morgan Ormerod was 2 for 3, with two RBI.
“They were really confident,” Nytransky said. “If someone didn’t get a hit, he was confident that the person behind him would be able to. We have one through nine, which have been strong all season.
“We don’t have an easy exit in the lineup.”
In the state championship game against Chenango Valley, Ichabod Crane scored in every inning until he hit the magic number – twelve.
Emma Scheitinger had three hits and two RBIs. Carolina Williams was 2 for 3 with an RBI and Ava Heffner was 2 for 4, with two RBIs. Graziano added two more hits and two more RBIs.
With a 10-0 lead, Walsh helped the Riders reach that magic number of twelve, with a huge two-run homer to left center in the top of the sixth.
— Kyle Adams (@kasportsnews) June 11, 2022
“It was nice to have one, especially since it’s been a few weeks since I had my last and he was in a game like this. It was a really cool moment,” said said Walsh.
Graziano slammed the door on Chenango, as Ichabod was able to earn another Mercy Rule victory and his third NYSPHSAA Class B title since 2015.
“I’m very, very ecstatic right now,” Walsh added. “It’s my freshman season in college and we’ve come all the way to the States. We’ve won states. It’s crazy and I’m enjoying every minute of it.
Graziano combined to pitch eleven innings on the day. She allowed eight hits, four walks and two runs, while striking out ten.
At home in style pic.twitter.com/IQtg2rPKxX
— ICC Cavaliers Softball (@ICC_Softball) June 12, 2022
She allowed just three runs in the Rider’s four playoff games. This stretch goes one step further, having allowed just four points in the Rider’s last seven games – since they started play in the section.
“It’s quite a big move,” Walsh said of pitching and defense. “We all have to support each other and on our game, every game. We know we all support each other and work so well as a team.
As a team, Ichabod scored 407 runs this season, while their pitchers allowed just 13 runs to score against them. The Riders have won a total of 18 games by mercy rule in their perfect 25-0 campaign in 2022.
Some season numbers on Ichabod Crane, NYS Class B champions:
4⃣0⃣7⃣ points scored
1⃣3⃣ races allowed
1⃣8⃣ rule of mercy wins, including all 4⃣ state games
3⃣rd NYSPHSAA Class B title since 2015 pic.twitter.com/06OYr3Iasx
— Kyle Adams (@kasportsnews) June 12, 2022
ICHABOD CRANE 12, CHENANGO VALLEY 0
NYSPHSAA CLASS B CHAMPIONSHIP
Moriches sports complex
ICHABOD 3-3-1-1-1-3-X — 12-12-0
CHENANGO 0-0-0-0-0-0-X — 0-3-0
WP: Kari Graziano; LP: Mikayla Bucci
HR: Makayla Walsh (I)
ICHABOD CRANE 14, DEPEW 2
NYSPHSAA CLASS B SEMI-FINALS
Moriches sports complex
DEPEW 0-0-2-0-0-XX — 2-5-4
WP: Kari Graziano; Vinyl album: Jordan Kanick
HR: Clare Knapp (A)