Diana King throws a pitch during the sectional finals against Valhalla. King and the Panthers fell to Marlboro on June 4 in the regional semifinal round of the state playoffs.

Panthers fall to Marlboro

Rye Neck celebrates with its Class B title after defeating Valhalla last week. On June 4, the Panthers lost in the regional semifinals.

Rye Neck celebrates with its Class B title after defeating Valhalla last week. On June 4, the Panthers lost in the regional semifinals.

A disputed call proved to be a backbreaker for Rye Neck on June 4, when a called ball on an 0-2 pitch ended up resulting in a two-out, three-run rally for Marlboro High School. It was exactly what the Iron Dukes would need to pull out a 4-3 win over the Panthers in the Class B regional semifinals at Rhinebeck High School.

The Panthers were already walking towards the dugout in the top of the second inning when senior hurler Diana King’s offering was called a ball and Marlboro’s Cassie Lapointe stepped back into the batters box. Lapointe would respond by smacking a two run triple to break a 1-1 tie two pitches later. She would eventually come around to score Marlboro’s fourth—and final—run of the day.

The Panthers would climb back into the game, scoring twice in the sixth inning, but they couldn’t overcome the Iron Dukes’ outburst.

Briana Cefaloni lays down a bunt in the Panthers’ Class B title game against Valhalla. Photos/Mike Smith

Briana Cefaloni lays down a bunt in the Panthers’ Class B title game against Valhalla. Photos/Mike Smith

Freshman Olivia Dunne led Rye Neck at the plate, notching its first RBI in the first inning by singling in King and doubling in the third run of the game during the Panthers’ sixth inning rally.

Marlboro would go on to defeat Babylon in the Regional Finals on June 6 to earn a trip to the Class B state semifinals.

Despite the disappointing end to their season, the Panthers had plenty to be happy about this spring. They finished with a 22-3 record and captured their first section title since 2002 with a win over rival Valhalla on May 30.

Rye Neck’s play this year earned the team a haul of postseason awards as well. Joan Spedafino was named the League 3-C Coach of the Year, senior Nicole Miller was selected to the Diamond Nine Plus One team, and three Panther players, King, Samantha Yanuzzi and Shannon Liguori, took home All-Section Honors.

Spedafino could not be reached for comment as of press time.

-Reporting by Mike Smith

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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.