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HS softball: Family spurs Thousand Islands win

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LOWVILLE — The field is filled with Bartons at every Thousand Islands softball game.

There’s the head coach, Paul, and his daughters Allie at shortstop and Lindsay at catcher. His niece, Kylie, is manning first base.

Even grandpa Barton is sending text messages to the dugout during games to receive scoring updates.

That makes every win during the Section 3 Class C-1 playoffs, like Tuesday’s 6-0 victory over ninth-seeded Mount Markham at Lowville Academy, that much more special to the Barton family and their Thousand Islands teammates.

It’s a chance to prolong the season and continue the family bond for seniors Allie and Kylie, and classmates Alesha Waterman and Erica Sullivan, who have both played travel ball with the Bartons since they were about 7 years old.

“I don’t want to see the season end,” Paul Barton said. “We’ve put a lot into softball (and) it’s been our life for several years.”

“So it’s important for us, as a family, we want to come out of this winning,” he added.

Sophomore Casey Webb hurled a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and one walk, and the eighth-seeded Vikings drew 11 walks en route to advancing to a quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded and undefeated Cooperstown (18-0) at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Waterman provided a run-scoring single to put Thousand Islands up 4-0 in the second inning. That proved to be the only hit the Vikings would get.

Both Webb and Waterman’s fathers are assistant coaches.

“We’ve all been playing together since we were in second grade, so we’re basically all family,” Allie Barton said. “All the coaches have been with us, they’re all dads on the team, and we’re basically all sisters.”

Mount Markham pitcher Kaleigh Bryce issued 14 free passes, walking 11 batters and hitting three.

She walked the game’s first three batters, leading to three first-inning runs for the Vikings (8-9).

Webb drew three walks while Allie Barton, Waterman and Alleigh Robbins each walked twice.

“We just couldn’t make any contact hitting the ball, and we walked batters and they didn’t. I think that was the main difference,” said Mount Markham coach Amy Coleman, whose team was making its first sectional appearance in more than a decade.

The site of the game was changed earlier in the day to Lowville Academy’s turf field due to a rainy forecast in the Clayton area.

There was a short delay between the second and third innings when dark clouds passed, along with an intense wind that lasted for about 10 minutes. But play quickly resumed and the game finished without another interruption.

The Vikings tacked on two runs after the delay as Lindsay Barton scored on a throwing error in the fifth and Sullivan drove in a run with a groundout in the sixth.

Thousand Islands can now look to its 148-mile drive to Cooperstown, hoping its family ties can overcome the unbeaten top seed in the Class C-1 bracket.

“I’ve been playing with Allie since our first T-ball practice and I don’t know if I could play without her. She’s my biggest fan and I’m her biggest fan out there,” Lindsay Barton said.

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