MIDDLETOWN – The Marlboro Iron Dukes were not expected to be in this year’s NYS regional semifinals, but there they were. The Marlboro Iron Dukes were not expected to come back and beat Valhalla 5-4, but there they were. And, the Marlboro Iron Dukes probably didn’t expect 7th grader Kacey Conn to be the game changing catalyst she is when they pulled her to the varsity from the junior high, but there she was.
After losing so many seniors from last season’s state championship team, expectations were tempered with just two seniors and one starter left from last year’s amazing run at the state championship; but here they are, one game away from the Final Four tournament next weekend as the team, coaches, and #Marlboro_Mayhem pack and get ready to take on Section 8’s Babylon in the Class B division of the NYS softball tournament.
But, it almost didn’t happen. The Iron Dukes found themselves in a 3-0 hole after 3 innings. Valhalla used timely hitting and the dominating pitching of Jillian Caldaroa.
Credit Marlboro for not giving up. The Iron Dukes pieced together three runs between the 4th and fifth innings to tie the game at three.
Valhalla went back up by one in the sixth, and that’s when we got a glimpse of what the future holds for Marlboro. With two on, 7th grader Kacey Conn drilled a shot to right that skimmed off the glove of the Vikings senior right fielder, Breanna Ciardullo. Alysia Kelly scored from third and Ashley Vacca raced home from second for the go ahead run. Marlboro had a 5-4 lead at the end of 6 full innings. The 7th inning was up to Iron Dukes pitcher Mel Papuli. Marlboro held Valhalla in the final frame and win by that 5-4 score.