By Debbie Schechter
Gutkin has posted 29 straight scoreless innings dating to the seventh inning of Tappan Zee’s 3-2 first-round sectional win over Albertus Magnus on May 29. In the past four games, she has allowed 10 hits and two walks while racking up 30 strikeouts.
“I’ve really found my groove,” Gutkin said. “My pitches are working great. I’m not counting the shutouts that I’m getting, I’m just looking at the win.”
Two more wins and the Dutchies will become the first Section 1 softball team to win a state title since Pearl River in 2010. John Jay-East Fishkill won the state championship in Class AA in 2011.
Tappan Zee (20-4) takes a nine-game winning streak into Saturday’s Class A state semifinals against Section 6 champion Hamburg at the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury. A win in the 9 a.m. game puts the Dutchies in the state final against either Section 2’s Troy or Section 11’s Sayville at 2 p.m.
“Everyone’s going to look to their circle for leadership,” Dutchies coach Gene Kousoulas said.
Tappan Zee scored three runs in the seventh inning to beat Maine-Endwell 3-0 in the regional final Wednesday.
A big reason for that confidence is Gutkin, who has a 19-4 record with 24 complete games and a 1.09 ERA. She’s struck out 231, walked 37 and allowed 86 hits in 167 innings.
She attributes the success to her work with catcher Kelly Connolly (right).
“The biggest thing was the last game of the season,” Gutkin said. “Kelly and I were really connecting. We connected before then, but in that game, we were really on point with what we wanted to call and when to call it. She’s calling most of the pitches nowadays.”
Tappan Zee is making its first appearance in the state softball final four since 2006. On the bus ride back from Binghamton Wednesday, athletic director Liam Frawley shared a bit of information with the team.
“There have only been three teams in TZ history to have gotten to this point (the state semifinals),” Kousoulas said. “No team has ever gone all the way. So something special is happening here. We don’t want to die here. Let’s finish the job.”