A ground-breaking season for Indians
CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. >> It's been at least a decade and a half since the Cambridge softball team won a playoff game.
Dating back to the beginning of the century, the Indians have not won a playoff game or reach their respective sectional tournament.
That's changed this season when the Indians qualified for the Section II, Class C tournament as the No. 6 seed and then on Wednesday defeated Saratoga Catholic 12-4 to advance to the quarterfinals, which takes place today against No. 3 Maple Hill.
"It's awesome," said second-year Cambridge coach Gerald Clifton on his team's success this season. "We have come a long way from where we were at the beginning of last season. The girls have worked extremely hard to get better and it's great to see that hard work pay off this season."
Going into 2016, the goal for Cambridge was to qualify for the postseason. Even though their team is filled with mostly underclassmen, the Indians felt they had an experienced group that was ready to take the Cambridge softball program back to heights not seen since the Clinton administration.
True to predictions, the Indians have had a ground-breaking season, going 11-5 during the regular season.
Led by their ace, Miranda Seacord, the sophomore has become one of the best pitchers in the Wasaren League.
"It's nice to be able to help your team win and have a great season," Seacord said. "I try to help the team win as much as I can from pitching to hitting to running the bases. It's fun being able to do things in more then one area to help your team win."
The Indians are a balanced group, from the mound to the plate. Seen as a weakness coming into this season, it's become a major strength: In their opening round matchup with Spa Catholic, they scored 12 runs — 11 of them coming with two out.
"This year the girls are more confident at the plate and believe that they are going to put the ball in play in every at bat," Clifton said. "In the off-season and all through the season we have worked really hard in the batting cage on trying to become better hitters and it's great to see that it's paying off with how well all the girls on the team have been swinging the bats this season."
From Rhiannon Darling leading things off to Victoria Dupuis, Kayla Giglio, Mattie Clifton and Olivia Brownell in the middle of the lineup, the Cambridge offense top to bottom is a very tough group to stop.
Now with Cambridge back in the playoff mix, the Indians are focused on taking the next step in their journey by advancing to the semifinals.
To do that, Cambridge will have to defeat Maple Hill, who beat the Indians earlier this year, 6-5.
"We know we have a tough test in front of us in Maple Hill," Clifton said. "They came back to beat us early on in the season, so we know what things we have to do if we want to beat them and advance."
At the end of the day, no matter what happens, the 2016 season will be one to remember for Cambridge as they have put their program back on the map.
"This has been a great season and I'm happy to have been a part of it," Clifton said. "Like I told the team, this has been the best team I have ever coached in my career. These girls have worked so hard to turn this program around and see how close they have become has made it very special for me to watch. I'm really looking forward to see how far we can go."
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