FORT EDWARD, NY (WBNG) -- For the third consecutive year, Maine-Endwell is on top of the softball world, defeating Iroquois 8-0 in the New York State Class A Championship Saturday at Moreau Recreational Park.
No. 3 Averill Park 1 - No. 1 Maine-Endwell 4
No. 5 Iroquois 0 - No. 1 Maine-Endwell 8
"It was a lot of fun," said Maine-Endwell senior Emily Hess on her two-run home run. "I knew it right off the bat it was gone, so I was really excited to have it in my last game. We just busted our butts everyday in practice, and we did a lot of team bonding to come together, and it showed on the field when we needed it."
The Spartans are officially a dynasty, joining just four other Section IV teams to ever win three straight state titles.
Those other four teams include: Seton Catholic (1993-96), Susquehanna Valley (1996-98 and 2005-07) and Deposit (2015-17).
"It doesn't feel like anything else," added Maine-Endwell freshman Helena Layton when asked about her three-run home run. "I can't compare it to anything. It's the best feeling ever. It was outside, and I honestly didn't know it was going over because I didn't think it was, but apparently it did, and I'm happy it did."
First-year head coach Joe Mancinelli was nearly at a loss for words Saturday.
"As the season kind of unfolded, we kind of saw the potential that we had, and I can't say enough how hard these kids have worked," said Mancinelli. "Wow. I mean, what a hitting performance the last handful of games that we've had. It's been a lot of fun."
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What a ride it's been for Maine-Endwell softball. The Spartans have now won three state titles in the last three years.
The first coming in 2016 in a 6-5 win over Clarke.
"It feels awesome," said then sophomore pitcher Emily Hess. "We've worked so hard to get to this point. This has been our plan since the beginning, and we just fought until the end."
"This is an amazing feeling," added former head coach Matt Raleigh. "These girls, you know, we started off 0-5 to start the year, and the seniors stepped up and just refused to lose."
So from underdog in 2016 to favorite in 2017, Maine-Endwell continued to excel. The Spartans blanked Williamsville East 1-0 in the state title game.
"To have the year that we had, dominant, win STACs, having the record we had, being number one, being the team to beat all year just tells you a lot about these girls," said Raleigh. "How they're responding. How they came to play everyday."
"It was the best feeling ever," added then senior catcher Mikayla Garbarino. "So happy. Just my team was back behind me the whole time. It was just a great feeling."
"We don't make errors, and I hit my spots, and they do their job and it works out for us," Hess said as a junior.
2018 presented new challenges. Matt Raleigh left the program to become Maine-Endwell's varsity baseball head coach. So in came Joe Mancinelli to lead a young team with only one senior, Emily Hess.
"As the season kind of unfolded, we kind of saw the potential that we had, and I can't say enough how hard these kids have worked," Mancinelli said.
That potential eventually helped the Spartans to a third straight state championship, 8-0 over Iroqouis.
"It feels great," said senior Emily Hess. "It's a really good way to end my senior year. This is a great team. We worked so hard, and we really deserved it."
"I can't compare it to anything," added freshman Helena Layton. "It's like the best feeling ever."
And the one common denominator on all three state championship teams? Emily Hess.
The power pitcher will be playing Division I softball at Florida Gulf Coast University starting in the fall.
So no Hess next year, but a young, experienced squad will return, as the Spartans look to join Seton Catholic as the only other Section IV softball team to ever win four straight state titles. The Saints did it back in 1993-96.